When this old world starts getting me down, I don’t have a roof to climb up to, but I do have the Frank Capra
box set and that always seems to do me a world of good! In case you don’t know, Frank Capra was a very prominent movie director in the 30’s and 40’s and directed such classic films as “It’s a Wonderful Life,” “It Happened One Night,” and “Mr. Smith goes to Washington.” Most of his films feature wide-eyed, friendly characters with big ideals getting put into situations that test their conviction and their optimistic beliefs, but usually they come out on top and the moral of the story comes through in beautiful, tear-jerking clarity:
No man is a failure who has friends.
The only thing you can take with you is the love of your family and friends.
The lost causes are the only ones worth fighting for.
Each man’s life touches so many other lives.
….and so on and so forth.
He got the reputation of being “Capra-Corny” because of his film’s feel-good nature and idealistic viewpoints. They may be a bit corny, especially in today’s filmscape, but I simply love each and every one of his movies. I really feel like they are lasting and timeless works of art that tap into the most basic and universal of human emotions.
Obviously, I’m a fan, but actually my appreciation of Capra is more than that. I love his films not only because they feature Jimmy Stewart, Gary Cooper and Clark Gable playing some of the most charming male roles of all time. And not only because they are chalk full with amazing and quirky classic characters actors. Not just because they all have female characters that are smart, sassy, capable and compelling, usually played fabulously by the likes of Jean Arthur and Barbara Stanwyck. And not simply because they are all composed of witty dialogue and interesting story lines.
The thing I love most about Frank Capra’s
films, is the feeling they leave me with– they inspire me! They make me aspire to be like the characters in the stories. I watch them and I want to stand up for the right things, I want to be the best version of myself and I feel a renewed sense of determination—An urgency to not give up on all my lost causes. It’s a great feeling to have, corny or not. And because of that, I find myself gravitating to the Capra box set anytime I’m feeling particularly discouraged or disillusioned with the world around me.
So in a way, Frank Capra’s kinda my life coach…. And I think that’s swell!