The Strong Man
Harry Langdon’s war against the Hun, near Ostend, ends in his capture, subsequently he’s the rest of Zandow & Co., “The Strongest Man in the World”, when the pair arrive at Ellis Island.
Langdon, a father to Jerry Lewis and Gene Wilder, is very precise and very droll, the acting is of the best (Carl Reiner and Steve Franken are also his descendants).
He can’t find Mary Brown, his American pen pal, but gets tangled up with a crook’s dame and, very briefly, a certain Madame Browne, sculptress of the nude.
“Cloverdale had once been a peaceful little border town,” rumrunners run it now at a considerable profit. “Justice and decency had fled before the new law—Money,” to his face Parson Brown is asked what his price is.
“If that Psalm-singing idiot bothers me much more, I’ll have his daughter in here as the main attraction!”
Mary is quite blind.
Aesop’s fish horn blows all day, “a red-letter day for music” (Ambrose Bierce), accompanied by a catarrh (camphor rub and Limburger cheese are applied inattentively in a crowded public conveyance to instant effect).
Zandow passes out, the Belgian soldat does the weightlifting stage act and the cannon trick.
One of the great silent comedies, directed at all times serenely by Capra, and to perfection.
The walls of Jericho and “Onward Christian Soldiers” and “the money changers” are the essence of the thing, “protected by the majesty of the law.”
Mordaunt Hall saw “precious little bearing on a coherent narrative,” he could not follow it at all (New York Times).
“A whale of a comedy production”, in Variety’s just estimation.
The first third reduces The Strong Man to a mere masterpiece, then it breaks into a far-reaching parody of Murnau’s Sunrise that sets off Quine’s How to Murder Your Wife and Elaine May’s The Heartbreak Kid and is all the more remarkable for antedating Murnau by half a year.
Bebe’s supreme contempt for “boob” Harry in his first pair of trousers is so utterly complete as to belong to the animal kingdom, and later in a Capra transformation she is surrealistically made clear as an alligator, by which point the film is in its own realm, and not only that, it bites Harry’s behind repeatedly, until he gets the picture.
In the last reel, this is still more abundantly clarified, beyond any doubt whatsoever.
“Langdon’s latest screen oddity,” Mordaunt Hall called it in the New York Times.
“Funny in flashes,” says Halliwell’s Film Guide, preferring the previous film.
The Matinee Idol
Only forty-five minutes from Broadway, The Bolivar Players take unto their bosom the title character, on hiatus from slaving in blackface to amuse the women.
It might have inspired Welles’ The Hearts of Age, even O’Neill. “Forty years ago, old Bolivar played a one night stand with Booth... He never stopped talking about it...”
A major study of theatrical art. “Put some feeling into it,” says Ginger Bolivar to the unknown.
They play to a packed tent where the car bearing the actor’s party breaks down. “They’re so terrible, they’re great.”
In the very same spirit, similarly halted, Winsor McCay on a bet came up with Gertie the Dinosaur.
The whole shootin’ match goes to Broadway, keeping the fired unknown in place.
Thus, precisely thus, Sherwood Schwartz has his two astronauts among the cavemen on It’s About Time, then they all return to New York (Albert Brooks adapted this idea as Lost in America).
The matinee idol throws them a costume party. “Oh, you’re just acting,” Ginger replies to his wooing, “you don’t mean what you say.”
The inimitable conclusion nevertheless is a cousin to Singin’ in the Rain and The Producers as The Bolivar Players are greeted to their astonishment with uproarious laughter (old Bolivar, who wrote the play, alone weeps in the audience) and, outside the stage door in a steady rain, with the pantaloons of her Civil War costume in some disarray, Ginger also reduced to tears finds that the blackface comedian filling in on opening night is the unknown she fired in the sticks, but that is not the end of Capra’s mighty comedy.
Antonioni has this (La Signora senza camilie), Ginger sopping wet pauses outside the door of the Players’ boarding-house lodgings, she reaches into her bosom and wrings out a handkerchief for her eyes and nose so that she may present a smiling face to Bolivar, a broken man, and tell him lies, a trouper.
And that is still not the ending, Bolivar’s daughter is a Northern girl in the play, the matinee idol leaves Broadway to join the Players (he sweeps her off her feet).
It can sway an election by telling what it knows, and sway it back by uncovering the truth.
This is what the fashion of the day styled “melodrama”, Hitchcock considered that his forte, Variety called it a melodrama in its review.
Capra takes the newsroom pretty much as in Meet John Doe, down in the pressroom he shows how to “stop the press” at the push of a button, how to set type and cast a new front page, like that.
A crook running for mayor has a henchman kill the district attorney, the rival candidate’s daughter is implicated.
The Times’ cub reporter wants a byline, she’s it, and then the naïve prose poet of the weather and obits page finds out what’s really going on, from the crook’s talkative moll (“I love reporters!”).
It might be Hawks, Wellman, or Ford. The opening sequence describes itself, BONEHEAD PLAY MAKES FOOTBALL HISTORY on New Year’s Day, nothing for it but to join the Marines. “Fly High. Shoot Straight.”
On the ground at Pensacola, the candidate for wings is only moments away from barrel rolls and loops and a tailspin courtesy of the sergeant-instructor, a fact convincingly demonstrated by Capra. First solo flight ends upside-down in flames before takeoff.
To Nicaragua as a flight mechanic for the sergeant on emergency duty. A certain nurse has them both at her heels.
“So this is Nigarauga, hm?” says the nurse, stranded in a river. General Lobo hates U.S. Marines to pieces. The flying lesson taught at great length is put to good use by Wellman in Thunder Birds (also with Jack Holt).
Mordaunt Hall of the New York Times objected to “melodramatic flubdub, tedious romantic passages and slapstick comedy” but enjoyed “scenes of airplanes in formation and flying stunts” as “well worth watching.” Leonard Maltin, “dated”. Halliwell’s Film Guide, “ambitious action movie”.
It takes a certain kind of man to reach the Pole, and another to return.
The wreck of the U.S. Navy’s Pensacola made Variety think of Hell’s Angels (dir. Howard Hughes), the rest was “unconvincing” even though, for example, Capra puts a camera on a biplane to record a hookup in flight, with a reverse angle from aboard the dirigible.
He knows his business, the Caribbean hurricane and Antarctic spectacle are a mighty impression looking forward to Lost Horizon.
This “economical epic” (Halliwell’s Film Guide) “creaks a little in a strangled, peculiarly British way” (Tom Milne, Time Out Film Guide, noting the inclusion of material also found in Frend’s Scott of the Antarctic).
Analyses by Lubitsch (The Shop Around the Corner), Wyler (The Best Years of Our Lives), and Capra again (It’s a Wonderful Life) are exhaustive and sufficient, except to point out that the title refers not to the mass hysteria of a bank run and other such matters, but to investing in a bank so beleaguered.
This was lost on Mordaunt Hall (New York Times), Leslie Halliwell (Halliwell’s Film Guide), Pauline Kael (The New Yorker), Dave Kehr (Chicago Reader), and other notable experts.
The Bitter Tea of General Yen
A week in the life of an American missionary girl sent to China, the last seven days of a warlord’s happy existence, a masterwork and a brilliant film by any standard.
Upon her arrival, the General runs over her rickshaw driver. “You’re standing in the rain,” the General tells her, as she remonstrates with his pitilessness.
At the Mission, starting in low gear, Capra moves his cast into a rapidity of dialogue that is deliberately noticeable. The complete mastery of technique is only a warm-up.
Again and again, once the scene has shifted to the General’s palace, Capra tunes up to a remarkable discovery founded on Hollywood lighting. It isn’t exactly photographic, it’s a mysterious essence of pictorial rhythm in his compositions that can be compared with Huston’s essentially different discovery of visual rhythm in the “rocking-chair” scene of The Maltese Falcon, which led to Across the Pacific and Beat the Devil. In Capra’s case, the burgeoning power of his images is finally resolved in It’s a Wonderful Life, a complex work in which the pictures are individually more photographic in themselves.
The ponderous Bishop tells the Mission ladies a tale of Mongolian bandits hearing the Gospel and crucifying merchants for their goods, a tale that Borges repeats somewhere.
Stroheim figures tremendously in the main event. The girl is neither crafty nor clever, wise nor pious, but she does have a little New York spunk and fire, and only admits her love for the General after her simple decency and his noble gallantry have ruined him. Thereupon, he drinks his tea.
Walter Connolly plays the American financial advisor who screws a fortune “like no-one else” out of the General’s famine-stricken province.
Lady For A Day
It’s said that after a screening Shirley Booth, who can make stones laugh or cry or think, turned down the role in Pocketful of Miracles as impossible. That was only a fair estimation, Capra (whose name is nearly Kafka) never did anything like this, it’s certainly his central work, the later version is something else again. “Mrs. E. Worthington Manville... Apple Annie, from Shubert Alley.”
The original of The Hustler (dir. Robert Rossen), “my old friend the Bard of Avon!”
By Riskin out of Runyon.
“If I had choice of weapons with you, sir, I’d choose grammar.”
The Boccherini is cited to effect in Mackendrick’s The Ladykillers.
It Happened One Night
The writer of “free Greek verse” dismissed by his editor is opposed by the heiress impulsively wedded to the “front-page aviator” described in the song on the bus from Miami to New York (“The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze”) and personified in the “road thief” (also the earlier bagsnatcher).
This “mug” is bought off with “a pot of gold”, an annulment brings down the walls of Jericho.
It looks uncommonly like a precursor of Nabokov’s Lolita with its motel stops and the heiress’s admiration of a charlatan.
“A nice, juicy piece of steak,” her father tries to explain, “it’s a poem.”
It leads with inexorable nightmare logic to Meet John Doe and Christ crucified, that is the way of it, though it’s only a matter of a particular “family of companies”, Higgins of Higginsville, and welcome to it (Pottersville is the further realization, it gets worse), consequently Andre Sennwald’s New York Times review is on the money in a serene bit of enlightenment very rare among film critics, “if you are not aware of the portentous matters he is spoofing, you are still under the impression that the screen is providing an uncommonly pleasant experience. For Mr. Capra owns a rare gift for cinema.”
Variety, “it has a story, a tiptop cast—and Frank Capra’s direction.”
Jonathan Rosenbaum (Chicago Reader), “pretty good... before the ‘little man’ bromides”.
Tom Milne (Time Out), “Capracorn.”
The Catholic News Service Media Review Office, “slight but bright”.
Leonard Maltin, “unremitting good cheer”.
Halliwell’s Film Guide, “easygoing romantic comedy”.
Mr. Deeds Goes to Town
This is the story of a poetaster endowed with genius, its linchpin is the Nelson’s Column gag in Joyce’s Ulysses (cf. Arsenic and Old Lace).
The poet is born, not made, he bears witness at his own insanity trial, the muse summons up his facts.
They are a hoot in a holler.
The immemorial romance of the one-legged lama in the valley is a work of incalculable dimensions in its influence (cf. Pichel & Holden’s She), Kubrick has the process shot in Dr. Strangelove, Verhoeven has the consummation in Total Recall, Sherman’s Mr. Skeffington explains the miracle, endless variations people The Twilight Zone, Capra himself has the departing heir in It’s a Wonderful Life, as well as the metamorphosis of girl into flowers (and uses the theme of It Happened One Night in the exit from Shangri-La), finally the relationship between Lost Horizon by James Hilton and You Can’t Take It with You by Kaufman & Hart is an equation of Capra’s.
You Can’t Take It with You
To gain the whole world and lose your own soul, that is Capra’s preachment.
The sumptuous gags of Kaufman & Hart are treated to an ideal rendering, greatly illustrative of such later works as It’s a Wonderful Life (the cigar lighter and the raven), Meet John Doe (the harmonica duet), and Mary Poppins.
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
“He that endureth to the end shall be saved.” The lesson of Geo. Washington is Harry at Agincourt, President Lincoln sees a rout.
The immense refinement is the ornamentation of a simple, direct line expressed in the title. Precisely nobody, or rather the rangiest of all Boy Rangers, has an appointment to the Senate. He sits at Daniel Webster’s desk, takes a drubbing but defends a bill to establish 200 acres of prairie as a place for boys to learn about nature and America, the property is earmarked already for graft, he knows nothing.
Born Yesterday is the variant. Variety distinguished itself by a perceptive review.
Meet John Doe
Sarris got this incredibly wrong. “John Doe embodied in Gary Cooper a barefoot fascist,” he says in The American Cinema. Meet John Doe is in fact rather more than an exposé and annihilation of “a new order of things, the iron hand of discipline,” it is The Gospel According to Frank Capra. This is the life of Christ from his birth at the time of Cæsar Augustus’ decree to his resurrection, set in modern-day America. It all rests on the script, having worked out his with its myriad of problems to a perfection of comic possibilities, Capra is more or less at his ease to set up shots and savor them. The intensity and vigor of the vision is in the script, and the amount of English on the ball is at least sufficient for what is termed escape velocity in astrophysics. Capra removes what Berg called “the last trace of the workshop,” or Joyce “of the artist,” because not to do so would make the thing ponderous a bit.
So you get the carolers in D.B. Norton’s window, the “helots” censured by Col. John the Baptist, Mary a pious and ambiguous vessel, her mother a paragon of charity, the reading of Isaiah in the synagogue (which is a radio studio), and the jokes go on and on in cascading ripples or, like the reversed Pietà of the ending, an endless barber shop reflection.
The real beauty of this is the Gogolian profusion of the sidework, as in John Doe’s first radio address (which must be counted as the inspiration of Wellman’s The Next Voice You Hear), where typically Capra’s realism intersects and conjoins with the fantastic plan of the work to produce a three-ring circus of thematic elements and vistas (the announcer’s outstretched hand pulling Doe over to the microphone in a left-right pan becomes an archetypal vaudeville prop). He is able to work with astonishing speed. When Beanie trips over the ash tray a second time (off camera) on his way out of the office, Capra just catches the look on Cannell’s face telling a whole story not only in passing, but without breaking the frame.
George Stevens quotes from it in The Greatest Story Ever Told when Donald Pleasance as Satan in the crowd demands crucifixion precisely as one of D.B. Norton’s Troopers proclaims John Doe a fake. The final scenes have echoes in Herostratus and Three Days of the Condor.
Why We Fight
There was a simple, idiotic plan in Tokyo, Berlin, and Rome.
And that’s all there is to it, as amply demonstrated six ways from Sunday.
A marvelously analytical review of Operation Acrobat and events leading from the seaborne attacks centered on Casablanca to the surrender of the Afrika Korps.
The credits are not clarified, Capra is bolstered by the work of Roy Boulting that preceded him in Desert Victory and was concurrent here, according to report.
Arsenic and Old Lace
The main comedy centers around Cary Grant’s reactions to the scene as the main arena, with captivating bits all around the edges. In contrast to the long, meditative things Capra had been cultivating, this is a straight shot past insuperable obstacles, victoriously (the role is identical with Roger Thornhill in North by Northwest, another slow convert).
Its sharp perceptions reward Capra instantaneously in some of the finest precision work he (or anyone else) ever achieved. There is a long study of Arsenic and Old Lace in countless comedy films, but the serene response of Hitchcock’s Rope shows an immediate awareness of the implications and the utility of the construction, and also a keen emulation of Capra’s achievement on a two-week shooting schedule.
There is perhaps a concurrence with Citizen Kane in certain effects of camera style and lighting, and certainly with Woman of the Year the spectacular centerpiece of the lights-out sequence against a minimally backlit set, remembered by Terence Young in Wait Until Dark.
The joke is about a critic who disapproves of marriage, and critics still don’t get it.
By the same token, English departments have literary magazines that occasionally deploy works from the glorious past and regularly advertise for submissions that “blur the boundaries”, subconsciously.
Charles M. Jones founded Witch Hazel on the Brewster sisters for Broom-Stick Bunny.
Here Is Germany
What modern Germany was until the Allied victory in 1945.
A startling history of the old tribes following the Prussian model into catastrophe, time after time (cp. Don Siegel’s Hitler Lives).
It’s a Wonderful Life
Ten years earlier The Emperor Jones (dir. Dudley Murphy) had expanded O’Neill’s one-act by daring to write the adventures of its hero in America. Capra, Goodrich & Hackett take the Book of Job and expand its description of the hero’s good fortune before his fall, in order to create the tragic effect Milton achieved in Paradise Lost with precisely the same technique. Our Town (dir. Sam Wood) is the main precedent. Browning has a famous bit in Pippa Passes.
Even my lily’s asleep, I vow:
Wake up—here’s a friend I’ve plucked you!
The filming is of great variety. It might be observed that Capra generally constructs an acting space with foreground and background and some mobility, the editing is a study in itself and remarkable for its spectacular bursts of jump-cutting, seen in earlier films (Meet John Doe, for example) and here brought to a paroxysm. One shot among many shows the local inspiration of this style, George at the depot has just learned that Harry has been offered a job by his new father-in-law, which means George will have to remain at the Building & Loan. He stands there for a moment alone against the sharp angle of a railroad car before the camera pans on him as he passes close before it and tracks on him as he walks along the crowded platform where he finds his new sister-in-law who exchanges a few words with him and beams, in one continuous take. Now, that’s pure cinema art.
Long takes alternate with sharp cutting. The deep focus is matched by foregrounds allowed to leave focus (as briefly in Meet John Doe and Griffith’s Abraham Lincoln). Most important is the functional surrealism of the imagery, which is in a large way responsible for the richness of the film. Mary’s transformation into a hydrangea bush at the moment when George asserts his masculinity, the Victrola-powered honeymoon rotisserie, etc., are images that spring from the liveliness of the treatment and instantaneously extend it into further reaches. At its simplest, as when George is seen watching Potter’s seductive monologue like a Dalian memory, it’s beyond description (this is the same shot, a subtle and flexible invention, in which John Doe announces his dream to Miss Mitchell, and in which Cannell tells Doe about the schemes of D. B. Norton).
The hundreds of nuances are often created by the velocity of execution, which thrusts into almost unnoticeable background detail material for many other setups. How many have noticed that when Bert takes a potshot at George, far in the distance one of the letters in an electric POTTERSVILLE sign is shot out?
In comparison with Meet John Doe, whose sterling verve and vivacity of technique is constantly rooted in the lambent allegory, the fictionalization of It’s a Wonderful Life permits a larger freedom of dramatic representation. In the earlier film, the Colonel as John the Baptist preaches repentance and is comically figured as bored with the rest of it, whereas Mary as Job’s wife is subtly imagined as striking several unexpected attitudes stemming from the Biblical narrative in a dramatic way.
State of the Union
A crooked politician’s career ends even before it begins, as he sells himself out to secure the nomination.
The extremely complicated form is rapidly written, highly intricate and allusive. The candidate’s weakness is that he imagines a “world government” before he fights an American Revolution (Mr. Smith Goes to Washington).
The campaign huckster is the daughter of a late publisher, the old man dies embittered at his long ouster from Republican politics, bidding her to “make those heads roll!” She engages a Harding crony, similarly ostracized, to work the mills of strategy and patronage. The candidate’s political naïveté makes him a throwback despite his astute analysis of the nation’s problems (he is a self-made aircraft manufacturer).
The daughter takes him as her lover at the start, that’s the idea, he has no interest in the Presidency. It motivates his views, their affair, the White House contains all virtues “but I still say it needs painting,” the hotel barber at the Book-Cadillac in Detroit helps form the transition to a safe world order, in the candidate’s mind, of egg-laying “hens” rather than brainlessly combative “roosters”. Politics take him up, “untrammeled business”, farming and labor running the show in Washington. The strategy is a dirty campaign in the publisher’s newspapers to divide and conquer the party (her editors walk out, she hires new ones).
The Great Dictator (also Clair’s I Married a Witch) is at the root of the typically profound and agile Capra screenplay, the barber sees to that with his appropriation of Chaplin’s curtain speech, but the candidate is his own double, a private citizen of integrity and loyalty versus an ogre of political weakness bolstered by mutual self-interest at the government’s expense, and at the end there is the candidate’s wife, prostrated like Hannah by the corruption that has devoured him, or worse, “lifting up her head” to read the bullshit prepared for her on a live national broadcast from her own home (she agrees to this as a last resort to help him win the safety of the White House), that is too much for the candidate, he denounces his backers, his campaign and himself on coast-to-coast television.
Capra’s technique, already more formidable than practically anything else going, is made more so as he looks ahead to the Fifties after the postwar examination of It’s a Wonderful Life. There are a million things in State of the Union for every hundred in his earlier films, he picks apart every nuance of political construction as mounted by experts and received by the press, not to say the public, and the more complete analysis he provides will benefit from the closest scrutiny. He wastes nothing that has gone before, often whole scenes and registers and dialogue seem thematically considered from Meet John Doe or You Can’t Take It with You. Within the film, the structure is made up of seemingly offhand material, jokes and so forth, delivered very rapidly or with great nonchalance. This makes for a certain difficulty, not to follow the affair so intricately fabricated is somehow to miss “the big picture”.
The slight, incidental retooling of Broadway Bill finds horse and man on the Higgins lawn in a long shot for an intense study, and elsewhere incorporates some of the original footage in an effect not too far from Preston Sturges’ The Sin of Harold Diddlebock.
A lot of new material quietly enters the picture without disturbing its lines, as Baudelaire would say, until the uproar at the club luncheon adopts a new punchline in keeping with the musical form. The blood bank is an innovation. The great Doughboy symphony is again conducted by Raymond Walburn but the soloist this time is Oliver Hardy, “I was a victim of mass hypnosis,” avows the Professor. The beer garden celebrations now have the great ode to playing the horses, an echo as filmed of the bus ride in It Happened One Night, “The Horse Told Me”. The crooked parlay is up to two jockeys, one of them a ringer, and Broadway Bill, the thoroughbred with a rooster up.
Bosley Crowther of the New York Times never gave it a thought, “light and familiar, sentimental and even absurd,” but pronounced Capra full of “inspiration” or “genius” and the film “a genial and jovial entertainment... a stakes winner.”
The Catholic News Service Media Review Office, “oversentimentalizes the slim plot... some amusement.”
Leonard Maltin, “pleasing if unmemorable entertainment.”
Halliwell’s Film Guide, “only moderately entertaining.”
Here Comes the Groom
The war orphan racket is all washed up, newspaperwise (the disaster of the war, the inner life for recompense), no longer news.
“The girl you left behind you. Way behind you.”
Time for a vis-à-vis, courtesy of the Étoile de Paris.
“He cometh not,” an echo of The Front Page. In good time, “Misto Cristofo Columbo”.
The director of You Can’t Take It With You certainly understands Surrealism, the USO lends a helping hand here.
Buster Keaton (Le Roi des Champs-Élysées) has his Seven Chances, our hero has five days or “back to France.”
Cinderella Jones is engaged to the boss, a Boston broker.
Academy Award, Carmichael & Mercer.
“There isn’t a great deal of substance” (Bosley Crowther, New York Times).
“He’s not even a man, he’s a tradition” (cf. Wyler’s Counsellor at Law).
If the dinner is free,
and the dinner ain’t me,
you can tell ‘em we’ll be there.
The “South Boston monsoon” naturally recalls the bank run of It’s a Wonderful Life, Capra understands the blarney as well.
Variety, “merry yarn”.
Robert Keith and Bing Crosby, Alexis Smith and Jane Wyman, the Capra echelon of comedy, long and true (Franchot Tone in the adverse camp, perfectly sage and good-humored).
“You used to be such a good reporter, now you sound like a journalist.”
Tom Milne (Time Out), “typically whimsical”, seconded by the Catholic News Service Media Review Office.
“Pardon, but I’m covering this wedding for the Express, do you have anything to say to your waiting panting public, Cinderella?”
Leonard Maltin, “lightweight musical outing.”
From State of the Union, “please, do you realize you’re being watched? On television?”
Halliwell’s Film Guide has no use for it, citing Penelope Houston of the same mind.
A Hole in the Head
It’s a Wonderful Life pops up visibly as signposts in a complicated rearrangement, to let you know where you are. The formal innovations involved are among the most thrilling aspects of the film.
One is a beautiful trick, George and Mary dead to each other during the nightmare interregnum.
Potter is his brother, a much-delayed recognition.
The London millionaire has no truck with George’s famous plans, that reconciliation comes after the film.
The production vicissitudes are overlooked in the perfectly-achieved result.
It’s one of Capra’s funniest movies, he rechristened the characters to make them Italian Jews from the Bronx, met in Miami, just the note of exoticism to set off the picture. He’s always ahead, Jewison among other admirers catches up fast with 40 Pounds of Trouble.
Pocketful of Miracles
Capra’s masterpiece on a reluctant and selfish good deed that brings about the moral regeneration of New York society in the Depression was inadequately recognized by critics and ignored by audiences. He blamed himself and excoriated the production with few exceptions, that is the usual practice, and more so because Capra was unused to this type of failure, which happens to practically everybody.
The mechanics of the picture work to bring the whole gamut of high and low and crooked and straight into play at the end. The jokes are pure Capra and so is the drama. Fifty years seem not too much for the long perception of his characters as functions of the unitary screenplay that doubles back on itself in visiting royalty from Chicago and Spain to Dave the Dude and Apple Annie.
The motto is from Pascal, “the heart hath reasons that reason itself knows nothing about.”