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 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Tuesday July 28, 2020 


Frank Capra often made films that depict ordinary people caught up in the insensitive workings of ‘the system’ – whatever that system may have been. But he managed to make us laugh and feel good, without being cheesy. 
Here are some of his best works, out on video as a special library.

Stars Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert
Arguably Frank Capra's best film.

Awards: This was the first movie to be honoured with all four major Oscars. Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director, Best Picture; also won Best Writing (adaptation).

A delightful screwball comedy about two mismatched lovers: Spoiled Ellie Andrews (Claudette Colbert) escapes from her millionaire father (Walter Connolly) who wants to stop her from marrying a worthless playboy. But on the way to New York, Ellie meets an out-of-work reporter Peter Warne (Clark Gable).

Memorable Quotes:
Alexander Andrews: Oh, er, do you mind if I ask you a question, frankly? Do you love my daughter?
Peter Warne: Any guy that'd fall in love with your daughter ought to have his head examined.
Alexander Andrews: Now that's an evasion!
Peter Warne: She picked herself a perfect running mate -- King Westley -- the pill of the century! What she needs is a guy that'd take a sock at her once a day, whether it's coming to her or not. If you had half the brains you're supposed to have, you'd done it yourself, long ago.
Alexander Andrews: Do you love her?
Peter Warne: A normal human being couldn't live under the same roof with her without going nutty! She's my idea of nothing!
Alexander Andrews: I asked you a simple question! Do you love her?
Peter Warne: YES!! But don't hold that against me, I'm a little screwy myself!

Stars Ronald Coleman, Jane Wyatt

Awards: Won Two Oscars (Art Direction, Best Film Editing); Nominations: Five Oscars including Best Music, Best Picture

From James Hilton's novel, this marvellous classic tale of a civilisation in a lost world which has found the secret of eternal youth is beautifully captured on film. British diplomat Robert Conway (Ronald Coleman) and a small group of civilians crash land in the Himalayas, and are rescued by the people from the idyllic Utopian community of Shangri-la, presided over by a 200 year old High Lama. Protected by the mountains from the world outside, where the clouds of World War II are gathering, Shangri-la provides a seductive escape for the world-weary Conway. Especially when entranced by one of the beautiful young women. . .

Stars: Jean Arthur, James Stewart, Claude Rains

Awards: Won - Oscar for Best Writing, Original; Nominations – nine Oscars including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Music, Best Supporting Actor

Naive and idealistic Jefferson Smith (James Stewart), leader of the Boy Rangers, is appointed on a lark by the spineless governor of his state. He is reunited with the state's senior senator—presidential hopeful and childhood hero, Senator Thomas Paine (Claude Rains). In Washington, however, Smith discovers many of the shortcomings of the political process as his earnest goal of a national boys' camp leads to a conflict with the state political boss, Jim Taylor (Edward Arnold). Taylor first tries to corrupt Smith and then later attempts to destroy Smith through a scandal.

Stars Gary Cooper, Jean Arthur

Awards: Won Best Director; Nominated: Four Oscars including Best Picture, Best Actor

Longfellow Deeds (Gary Cooper) lives in a small town, leading a small town kind of life - including playing the tuba in the town band. When a relative dies and leaves Deeds a fortune, Longfellow picks up his tuba and moves to the big city where he becomes an instant target for everyone from the greedy opera committee to the sensationalist daily newspaper. Deeds outwits them all until Babe Bennett (Jean Arthur) comes along. Babe is a hot-shot reporter who figures the best way to get close to Deeds is to pose as a damsel in distress.

Stars: Loretta Young, Robert Williams, Jean Harlow

Reporter 'Stew' Smith (Robert Williams) meets beautiful Ann Schuyler (Jean Harlow), a rich socialite, while covering the story of a scandal involving Ann's family. Ann takes a liking to the wisecracking Smith and the couple eventually elope. Stew's roots as a street smart reporter don't prepare him well for mixing with Ann's high society friends and he starts spending more time with his 'pal', female reporter Gallagher (Loretta Young). Everything comes to a head when Ann and her family return home to their mansion one evening and find that Stew has invited all his 'pals' over for an impromptu drinking party.

Stars: Jean Arthur, Lionel Barrymore, James Stewart
Awards: Two Oscars - Best Director, Best Picture; Nominations: Five Oscars

Alice Sycamore (Jean Arthur), the only normal person from a zany family falls in love with her boss, Tony Kirby (James Stewart), but the relationship breaks up, when during a dinner at her home, the house is raided by the police and everyone is arrested on suspicion of anarchism.

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