Monday, September 25, 2006

The Premiere Frank Capra Collection

Sony finally gives celebrated director Frank Capra his due with "The Premiere Frank Capra Collection," a six-disc box set featuring five of his classic films. Of interest to pre-code fans is the inclusion of "American Madness," an early collaboration with writer Robert Riskin about a run on a bank in the Depression era. Of course, his most famous pre-code, 1934's "It Happened One Night," is also represented, as well as "Mr. Deeds Goes to Town," "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington," and "You Can't Take It With You." Each film includes a commentary as well as a brief featurette from his son, Frank Capra, Jr.

And if that wasn't enough to make your life wonderful, the set includes a 96-page scrapbook and a bonus disc with interviews with Frank Capra Jr., Frank Capra documentarian Ken Bowser, and Capra archive curator Jeanine Bassinger, as well as archival footage and the 1997 documentary "Frank Capra’s American Dream."

The Capra collection hits the shelves December 5th, with a suggested retail of $59.95.

Fox Before the Code at New York's Film Forum

Pre-code movie fans in New York City have some early Christmas presents in store with Film Forum's three-week "Fox Before the Code" series, running from December 1st through the 21st. Many of the titles in the series are rarely screened - sadly, Fox Movie Channel (unlike Time Warner's Turner Classic Movies) generally shies away from pre-1940 fare. Though many of Fox's silents and early talkies are lost, it is nice to see such a treasure trove offered.

On the bill:

Several early Spencer Tracy films, including the delightful "Me and My Gal" with a saucy pre-"Dark Shadows" Joan Bennett, paired with Jean Harlow in "Goldie," and "Quick Millions," a 1931 gangster flick with George Raft.

"Advice to the Lovelorn," a 1933 comedy with pre-code favorite Lee Tracy.

"Blood Money," with an outrageous, censor-provoking turn from Frances Dee.

and for the titles alone: "3 on a Honeymoon," "Girls Demand Excitement," "Coming Out Party," and "She Learned About Sailors."

Who could resist? Many of the films will have new 35mm prints. Hopefully, some of these films will make their way out west after their runs at the Film Forum.