ISSUE DATE: Aug. 8, 1938
Unlike most of Hollywood’s major cinemanufacturers, Columbia controls neither a huge chain of theatres nor a long roster of famed stars.
For both of these, Capra, as the company’s strongest financial asset, has been a more than acceptable substitute. A genial, stocky, 41-year-old son of Sicilian immigrants, he has twice won the top honors of his profession, the Motion Picture Academy’s Award for It Happened One Night in 1935, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town in 1936. Last year, after a prolonged dispute in which he charged Columbia with breach of contract, their differences were composed on a basis that pays Capra roughly $350,000 a year. He has personally created or vastly improved half-a-dozen stars, including Barbara Stanwyck, Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert, and Jean Arthur. More important than all these is the simple fact that in his 17 years in the cinema industry, Frank Capra has an almost unparalleled record of having turned out only one real flop. On the strength of this record he is regarded not only as the mainstay of his company but as the top director of his industry.
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