TCM To Release Five Early Frank Capra Classics


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.


From the press release: Frank Capra: The Early Collection will be available exclusively through TCM’s online store as part of the TCM Vault Collection. The set includes re-mastered editions of Rain or Shine (1930), and four early collaborations with his legendary leading lady Barbara Stanwyck: Ladies of Leisure (1930), The Miracle Woman (1931), Forbidden (1932) and The Bitter Tea of General Yen (1933). The collection also includes extensive on-screen digital bonus materials including production stills, behind-the-scenes photos, lobby cards, movie posters and more.

“Frank Capra is one of the most popular and influential filmmakers in Hollywood history, making this set an invaluable addition to any lover of great cinema,” said Nancy Rewis, vice president of Commerce Enterprise for TCM, TBS and TNT. “We’re proud to be working with some of today’s greatest filmmakers in ensuring that these great films are not only preserved but also made available to fans everywhere.”

“TCM has done a great job carrying on the legacy with this seminal Frank Capra release,” said Marc Rashba, vice president, Catalog, TV & Shopper Marketing Group at Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. “Our partnership continues to deliver high quality DVD packages that fans will appreciate.”

“The Film Foundation is proud to partner with Sony and TCM in making these early films of Frank Capra available to audiences for the first time on DVD,” said Margaret Bodde, executive director of The Film Foundation. “Martin Scorsese, Ron Howard and Michel Gondry each have fascinating things to say about these films, making this a must-have collection for all those who treasure Capra’s films.”

Frank Capra immigrated from Bisacquino, Sicily, as a child and went on to become one of the great American success stories. After growing up in Los Angeles and serving in World War I, he found his calling in the burgeoning film industry of the early ’20s. Working at a variety of jobs, from lab assistant to film cutter to gag writer, Capra was promoted to director by silent comedian Harry Langdon, who scored several box-office hits with Capra at the helm.

The Frank Capra: The Early Collection features five key movies made after Capra struck out on his own in the early sound era and became Columbia Pictures’ most important and financially successful director, transforming the company from a poverty row studio to a major player in Hollywood. The films in the collection demonstrate the first evidence of Capra’s emerging directorial style, his keen interest in subject matter that dealt with social issues and his ease at mastering any genre he tackled.

The following are the five films included in Frank Capra: The Early Collection:

Ladies of Leisure (1930) – This drama marked Frank Capra’s first collaboration with Barbara Stanwyck. The film tells of a Depression-era romance between a working-class model and a high-society artist, played by Ralph Graves. The film is based on the 1924 play Ladies of the Evening, written by Milton Herbert Gropper.

Rain or Shine (1930) – This rollicking comedy-drama follows the ups and downs of a struggling traveling circus. Joe Cook, Louise Fazenda, Joan Peers and William Collier Jr. star in this film, a non-musical version of a Broadway musical of the same name.

The Miracle Woman (1931) – In this dramatic exposé of religious charlatans, Barbara Stanwyck stars as a female preacher modeled on Aimee Semple McPherson. David Manners co-stars as the blind man who falls in love with her.

Forbidden (1932) – This charming, romantic drama depicts the intense relationship between librarian Barbara Stanwyck and a wealthy married man, played by Adolphe Menjou. Ralph Bellamy and Dorothy Peterson co-star.

The Bitter Tea of General Yen (1933) – This once-controversial drama depicts an affair between the fiancée of an American missionary, played by Barbara Stanwyck, and a Chinese warlord, played by Nils Asther. Toshia Mori shines as General Yen’s concubine, Mah-Li. The film, which was the first ever to play Radio City Music Hall, also features a memorable dream sequence in which Yen seduces the young missionary. The interracial aspect of the story led the film to be banned in many areas where miscegenation laws were in place.


About Marya E. Gates

Cinephile to the max.

Posted on July 25, 2012, in Classic Film and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. This should make me happy, but I was so hoping “The Younger Generation” would be on the list. I haven’t seen it in ages!

  2. Love the article on Stanwyck. Since it appears you have an interest in classic movies I thought you might be interested in my movie site and our collection of rare Barbara Stanwyck films. Enjoy!

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