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The Premiere Frank Capra Collection (Mr. Smith Goes to Washington / It Happened One Night / You Can't Take It with You / Mr. Deeds Goes to Town / American Madness / Frank Capra's American Dream)

4.8 out of 5 stars 80 customer reviews

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Product Description

Designated the "Number One Director in Hollywood" by Time Magazine in 1938 and voted by Entertainment Weekly (April 19th issue, 1996) as one of the greatest directors of all time, Capra has received numerous industry awards and accolades over the course of his successful career including three Best Director Oscars®.

The Premiere Frank Capra Collection is a 6-disc collectible box set featuring five of Frank Capra’s best films. The digitally re-mastered set includes Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, You Can’t Take it With You, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, It Happened One Night and American Madness. The DVD box set includes a bonus disc packed with all-new interviews, archival footage, plus Frank Capra’s American Dream documentary hosted by Ron Howard and produced by Capra’s eldest son, Frank Capra, Jr. (An Eye for an Eye, Marooned). This Premiere Collection also features commentaries for each film, along with a 96- page collectible Movie Scrapbook.


Mr. Smith Goes to Washington Political heavyweights decide that Jefferson Smith (James Stewart), an obscure scoutmaster in a small town, would be the perfect dupe to fill a vacant U.S. Senate chair. Surely this naive bumpkin can be easily controlled by the senior senator (Claude Rains) from his state, a respectable and corrupted career politician. Director Frank Capra fills the movie with Smith's wide-eyed wonder at the glories of Washington, all of which ring false for his cynical secretary (Jean Arthur), who doesn't believe for a minute this rube could be for real. But he is. Capra was repeating the formula of a previous film, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, but this one is even sharper; Stewart and Arthur are brilliant, and the former cowboy star Harry Carey lends a warm presence to the role of the vice president. Bright, funny, and beautifully paced, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington is Capra's ode to the power of innocence--an idea so potent that present-day audiences may find themselves wishing for a new Mr. Smith in Congress. The 1939 Congress was none too thrilled about the film's depiction of their august body, denouncing it as a caricature; but even today, Capra's jibes about vested interests and political machines look as accurate as ever. --Robert Horton

It Happened One Night Director Frank Capra (Mr. Smith Goes to Washington) took home every Oscar in the book (well, okay, all the major ones) for this seminal 1934 comedy starring Clark Gable as a hard-bitten reporter who stays close to a runaway heiress (Claudette Colbert) rather than lose a good story. Funny and sexy, the film is full of memorable scenes often referred to in other films, such as the "walls of Jericho" (a mere bedcover hung on a line down the middle of a room so opposite-sex roommates can get undressed), and Colbert's famous flash of thigh to stop a speeding car in its tracks. Capra's brisk, urbane brand of wit was a perfect complement to his populist faith in the common man (in this case, Gable's character), and that inspired combination makes this film both a spirited entertainment and an uplifting experience. --Tom Keogh

You Can't Take It With You
Frank Capra's 1938 populist spin on the George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart play about a family of happy eccentrics is a great deal of fun, though it significantly rewrites the original work and doesn't represent Capra (Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington) at his best. Jean Arthur plays a member of the blissful Vanderhof household who falls in love with a rich man's son (James Stewart) and brings him into her nutty home. Lionel Barrymore, who played such a bad guy eight years later in Capra's It's a Wonderful Life, is the wonderful Grandpa Vanderhof, who addresses God during the dinner prayer as "sir" and speaks plainly and beautifully of why it's good to be alive. Capra took this opportunity to rail against big business and champion the common man, but the overall tone of the film--typical for the director's comedies--is buoyant and snappy. --Tom Keogh

Mr. Deeds Goes to Town
Mr. Deeds Goes to Town is Frank Capra's classic screwball comedy about a village innocent who inherits $20 million, only to discover it's more trouble than it's worth. The screwball in question is Longfellow Deeds (Gary Cooper), a small-town greeting-card poet and tuba player transplanted to the big city to administer his newly inherited wealth, where fast-pattering, wised-up cynics, sneering society denizens, and corrupt lawyers lord it over the ingenuous and straightforward. Deeds's idiosyncrasies are amply magnified in the tabloids by journalist "Babe" Bennett (Jean Arthur), dating Deeds as a cover, only to discover she's the sap when she falls irresistibly for him. But the damage has been done, when Babe's column is used by a pack of corrupt lawyers, Cedar, Cedar, Cedar & Budington, to prove Deeds mentally unfit. The miracle of this unforgettable comedy is how it embraces dark material, calling into question some common assumptions about capitalism while maintaining an approachable atmosphere of light comedy, and deceptively so. You'll be so pixilated by its charm, you won't rest until you've doodled your way to a rhyme for "Budington." --Jim Gay

More Stills from The Premiere Frank Capra Collection (click for larger image)

Special Features

  • Completely digitally remastered picture and sound
  • "Frank Capra Jr. Remembers..." featurette for each film
  • Commentary on each film
  • Interviews include: Frank Capra Jr., Ken Bowser: Frank Capra Documentarian, Richard Pena: Director, Film Society of Lincoln Center, Jeanine Bassinger: Curartor: Frank Capra Archives, Wesleyan Cinema Archives
  • "Frank Capra's American Dream" A documentary hosted by Ron Howard
  • 96-page Collectible Movie Scrapbook

Product Details

  • Actors: Jean Arthur, James Stewart, Claude Rains, Edward Arnold, Guy Kibbee
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Color, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Dubbed: French
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 4
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: December 5, 2006
  • Run Time: 477 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (80 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000ION7A8
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #19,923 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Premiere Frank Capra Collection (Mr. Smith Goes to Washington / It Happened One Night / You Can't Take It with You / Mr. Deeds Goes to Town / American Madness / Frank Capra's American Dream)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Let's be honest--what movie-loving individual would dare to rank this collection of Capra classics at less than 5 stars? It's inconceivable, especially with the noteworthy titles included in this handsome set. As an early Christmas present to myself, I had to pick up this collection--I've been good this year. I have, thus, been revisiting some of these all time greats. Capra was an idealist, to be sure, and such wide-eyed optimism as a world view might be foreign to modern day audiences--but there is no denying the universal appeal inherent in the films of Frank Capra. Long considered one our finest directors, Capra won three directing Oscars and all of those films are included here!

"It Happened One Night" is the quintessential screwball romantic comedy. In 1934, it captured all 4 major Oscars--Film, Actor, Actress, and Director--and in history, that has only been done by two other films ("One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" and "The Silence of the Lambs"). Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert shine in this great road-trip picture that seems remarkably progressive for its day. This formula is often copied, but rarely equaled--this is probably the least dated film in the set. "Mr. Smith Goes To Washington," of course, is the classic tale of political endurance and ethics triumphing over corruption. Still a powerful indictment and rousing drama, this is Jimmy Stewart in his most iconic performance. "You Can't Take It With You" is another Best Picture and Director winner. Starring Stewart, again, and Jean Arthur--this is a funny, but slight tale of a family of eccentrics teaching valuable life lessons to an uptight financier. A great film for lovers of screwball wackiness, it might have lesser appeal to younger audiences as "quirky" is such an overdone modern movie device. "Mr.
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Format: DVD
It was a happy day for me when I learned that this collection was being isssued and when it arrived from Amazon my first act was to cancel all my appointments, take the phone off the hook and settle down with a bowl ofpopcorn and discover just what made Frank Capra one of the leading directors of his day and indeed for all time. I was not disappointed. Along with favorites like "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" and "You Can't Take it with You" were "It Happened One Night" (which I had not seen in years and did not recall how good it was) and "Mr. Deeds Goes to Town." Also included in this set is a fabulous collection of films documenting just how Frank Capra was able to produce his fabulous collection of films. It is rare that great classics of American cinema get the attention and treatment that they deserve, but this is one of those rare instances of the material being treated in the appropriate manner.

It really would be silly for me to try to capture the magic and craftsmanship that went into making these fabulous films. Capra had a particular talent for being to tap into the fundamental aspects of what it meant to be an American in the 1930s and 1940s and this talent is on full display in this collection. They contain some marvelous performances, particularly by Jimmy Stewart, Clark Gable, Gary Cooper, Claudette Caulbert and in particular Jean Arthur. While Capra's autobiography does contain it share of myths, the chapters that detail the efforts it took to get these performances down on film is probably worth consulting for the insights it provides.

If I were to fault it for one or two things it would be the omission of two classics in the Capra canon.
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Format: DVD
Frank Capra's films were always a joy to watch.

They had those characters whose goodness, honesty and will were enough to take America away from the Great Depression era. Something that could only inspire and make you look at the world with brighter eyes.

This box contains FIVE trully memorable films from his best period. FIVE films that really are among his BEST.

MR.SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON is one of his best films. In it, James Stewart gives one of his best performances as the young idealist who fights corruption in the Senate. A major American film.

IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT is a legendary romantic comedy with Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert - the first film to win all five major Oscars (go figure why... :P). Delightful!

MR.DEEDS GOES TO TOWN stars the great Gary Cooper who just inherits 20 million Dollars and feels he must give it to those who really need it.

YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU packs another stellar cast with James Stewart, Jean Arthur and Lionel Barrymore. The best corn you'll ever see!! (-laughs)

AMERICAN MADNESS is a lesser gem with Walter Huston as a bank president in the depths of the Great Depression.

PLUS: a great documentary about Capra's life, style and work filled with great insight by many top names like ROBERT ALTMAN.

This box contains 5 films not to be missed at a great price... full of extras... commentaries, remastered picture and sound... everything to give you a great in-depth look into one of the greatest director who ever lived.

...Someone who really had something to say.

Get this box and treasure it.
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Topic From this Discussion
Are these re-releases?
The transfers are new ones, and in the case of You Can't Take it with You, the difference will be night and day since the current individual release is quite awful. The extras of the previous releases are ported over, however, there are new ones. The main adition is the 100+ minutes 1997 TV doc... Read More
Nov 27, 2006 by Ricardo Zaldivar |  See all 3 posts
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