Frank Capra Poster

Quotes (29)

  • Behind every successful man there stands an astonished woman.
  • Compassion is a two-way street.
  • My advice to young filmmakers is this: Don't follow trends. Start them!
  • I thought drama was when the actors cried. But drama is when the audience cries.
  • There are no rules in filmmaking. Only sins. And the cardinal sin is dullness.
  • [on Marilyn Monroe] Breasts she had. And a wiggly figure. But to me sex is class, something more than a wiggly behind. If it weren't, I know 200 whores who would be stars.
  • [James Stewart's] appeal lay in being so unusually usual.
  • [upon receiving his AFI Lifetime Achievment Award] I'd be the first to admit I'm a damn good director.
  • Film is a disease. When it infects your bloodstream, it takes over as the number one hormone; it bosses the enzymes; directs the pineal gland; plays Iago to your psyche. As with heroin, the antidote to film is more film.
  • [on his early dream to be an astronomer] I could study the stars and the planets forever. I always wanted to know why, why... Pictures changed my mind. I was too far along in the movie business. But when I go back to Caltech now and hear about things I'm not familiar with, like black holes, goddamn! I get mad. How the hell I ever refused that I don't know. But it seems like motion pictures have a terrible hold on me. I don't know what it is.
  • A hunch is creativity trying to tell you something.
  • Do not help the quick moneymakers who have delusions about taking possession of classics by smearing them with paint.
  • In our film profession you may have [Clark Gable's] looks, [Spencer Tracy's] art, [Marlene Dietrich's] legs or [Elizabeth Taylor's] violet eyes, but they don't mean a thing without that swinging thing called courage.
  • [on Preston Sturges] Jesus, he was a strange guy. Carried his own hill with him, I tell you.
  • [on Jean Arthur] Never have I seen a performer with such a chronic case of stage jitters. They weren't butterflies in her stomach. They were wasps.
  • There is one word that aptly describes Hollywood - "nervous".
  • [on directing Claudette Colbert in It Happened One Night (1934)] Colbert fretted, pouted, and argued about her part. Challenged my slaphappy way of shooting scenes. Fussed constantly. She was a tartar, but a cute one.
  • [on It's a Wonderful Life (1946)] It's the damnedest thing I've ever seen! The film has a life of its own now, and I can look at it like I had nothing to do with it. I'm like a parent whose kid grows up to be president. I'm proud...but it's the kid who did the work. I didn't even think of it as a Christmas story when I first ran across it. I just liked the idea.
  • [on Philip Van Doren Stern] The man whose Christmas tale was the spark that set me off into making my favorite film, It's a Wonderful Life (1946).
  • [on It's a Wonderful Life (1946)] I thought it was the greatest film I ever made. Better yet, I thought it was the greatest film anybody had ever made. It wasn't made for the oh-so-bored critics or the oh-so-jaded literati. It was my kind of film for my kind of people.
  • It's a Wonderful Life (1946) sums up my philosophy of filmmaking. First, to exalt the worth of the individual. Second, to champion man - plead his causes, protest any degradation of his dignity, spirit or divinity. And third, to dramatize the viability of the individual - as in the theme of the film itself...there is a radiance and glory in the darkness, could we but see, and to see we only have to look. I beseech you to look.
  • [when asked if there was still a way to make movies with the values and ideals in his films] Well if there isn't, we might as well give up.
  • [the theme of It's a Wonderful Life (1946)] The individual's belief in himself. I made it to combat a modern trend toward atheism.
  • [to James Stewart when he hadn't yet figured out the story for It's a Wonderful Life (1946)] I haven't got a story. This is the lousiest piece of cheese I ever heard of. Forget it, Jimmy... Forget it!
  • [after Philip Van Doren Stern sent him a Christmas card that formed the basis for It's a Wonderful Life (1946)] I thank you for sending it and I love you for creating it.
  • [returning to directing after World War II] I was scared to death.
  • [on "The Greatest Gift", the short story that inspired It's a Wonderful Life (1946)] My goodness, this thing hit me like a ton of bricks. It was the story I had been looking for all my life. The kind of an idea that when I get old and sick and scared and ready to die - they'd say "he made 'The Greatest Gift'".
  • [on the coming of sound] Everybody in Hollywood was scared to death of sound, but I knew all about sound waves from freshman physics.
  • It Happened One Night (1934) is the real [Clark Gable]. He was never able to play that kind of character except in that one film. They had him playing these big, huff-and-puff he-man lovers, but he was not that kind of guy. He was a down-to-earth guy, he loved everything, he got down with the common people. He didn't want to play those big lover parts; he just wanted to play Clark Gable, the way he was in 'It Happened One Night', and it's too bad they didn't let him keep up with that.