I’ve actually only seen two of these five films, but I loved both of them. So. Much. Stanwyck. TCM is partnering with Sony (aka Columbia) and Martin Scorsese’s The Film Foundation to release these films in a box set called Frank Capra: The Early Collection, which will be released on Monday, Sept. 3. The releases will include introductions by Robert Osborne, Martin Scorsese, Ron Howard and Michel Gondry, as well as audio commentaries by film historians Jeanine Basinger and Jeremy Arnold. More information after the cut.
Grandpa Martin Vanderhoff: I used to be just like you. Then one morning I was going up in the elevator and it struck me that I wasn’t having any fun. So I came right down and I never went back. That was thirty-five years ago.
Anthony P. Kirby: [sarcastic] Admirable. And you haven’t done a thing since, huh?
Grandpa Martin Vanderhoff: Oh, yes, yes. Just the things I want to do. Collected stamps, went to the zoo when I got the notion, took up the harmonica and even found time to notice when Spring came around.
Anthony P. Kirby: [sarcastic] This would be a fine country if we all spent our time at the zoo and played the harmonica.
Grandpa Martin Vanderhoff: You used to play one yourself; Tony said so. Maybe you ought to take it up again. Maybe it’ll stop you trying to be so desperate about making more money than you can ever use. You can’t take it with you, Mr. Kirby. So what good is it? As near as I can see, the only thing you can take with you is the love of your friends.
Now available from the Warner Archive, William A. Wellman’s western drama Westward The Women is not only an impressive feat in cinematic storytelling, but also features one of the best ensembles of women in the classical Hollywood era. I’m really quite surprised this film isn’t more highly regarded than it is. It definitely packs the kind of shocking punch you come to expect from a Bill Wellman picture. In fact, it almost feels like some of his pre-code films and contains some elements that I found rather shocking in a film from 1951.
Ellie Andrews: That, I suppose, makes everything quite all right?
Peter Warne: Oh this? Well, I like privacy when I retire. Yes, I’m very delicate in that respect. Prying eyes annoy me. Behold the walls of Jericho! Uh, maybe not as thick as the ones that Joshua blew down with his trumpet, but a lot safer. You see, uh, I have no trumpet.
Jefferson Smith: I guess this is just another lost cause, Mr Paine. All you people don’t know about lost causes. Mr Paine does. He said once they were the only causes worth fighting for. And he fought for them for the only reason any man ever fights for them. Because of just one plain, simple rule: Love thy neighbour. In this world full of hatred a man who knows that one rule has a great trust. You know that rule, Mr Paine. I loved you for it, just as my father did. You know that you fight harder for the lost causes. You even die for them. Like a man we both knew, Mr Paine. You think I’m licked. You all think I’m licked. Well, I am not licked! I’ll stay and fight for this lost cause. Even if this room gets filled with lies like these – And the Taylors and all their armies come marching into this place. Somebody will listen to me.
I couldn’t possibly say everything I’d like to say about this film. In fact, when I started out setting up this post I found myself wanting to talk about so many aspects of this film I had to stop myself and pick my very favorite characters and scenes to focus on. It’s A Wonderful Life is one of my Top Ten Favorite Films of All-Time. I’ve watched it every year on Christmas Eve since I was a little girl. I’ve also watched it countless times throughout the years at other times as well. It’s a perfect film, that stands up to viewing after viewing after viewing. I just love it so much. It was nominated for five Academy Awards, winning none: Best Sound, Best Film Editing, Best Actor Jimmy Stewart, Best Director and Best Picture. It was up against The Chronicle History of King Henry the Fift with His Battell Fought at Agincourt in France, The Razor’s Edge, The Yearling and winner The Best Years of Our Lives.