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Great Film Directors John Ford & Frank Capra Get Stamps, Featuring Searchers, It Happened One Night

by Anne Thompson
August 11, 2011 8:35 AM
2 Comments
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Thompson on Hollywood

In its ongoing series of tributes to Hollywood figures (including James Dean, Katharine Hepburn and Gregory Peck), the U.S. Post Office is adding iconic directors John Ford and Frank Capra to the list.

Both will be honored with Great Film Directors postage stamps in 2012. John Ford dukes it out in my personal pantheon of best directors of all time with Akira Kurosawa. The stamp features John Wayne in The Searchers, which Peter Bogdanovich considers one of the four Westerns that "must be seen by any civilized person". While Ford's Best Director Oscar-winners---The Informer, The Grapes of Wrath, How Green Was My Valley and The Quiet Man--are all must-sees, I prefer the great westerns Rio Grande, My Darling Clementine, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon and the movie that launched John Wayne's career and set the model for many westerns to come, Stagecoach. No one had used a moving camera on location in such a visceral way before.

Frank Capra is also up there, and only improves with time. He won Best Directing Oscars for It Happened One Night (also a Best Picture winner), Mr. Deeds Goes to Town and You Can't Take It With You, but his fave classic is his 1946 classic It's A Wonderful Life. The stamp features Capra and his It Happened One Night stars, Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert, her famous leg extended. It was shocking at the time.

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More: Directors, Genres, Hollywood, Media, Classics

2 Comments

  • Anne Thompson | December 16, 2011 6:12 PMReply

    Frank Capra is one of the great directors of all time and continues to rise in stature for me, in the pantheon with Akira Kurosawa, Jean Renoir, Francois Truffaut, Alfred Hitchcock, Buster Keaton, David Lean, Stanley Kubrick, John Ford, Billy Wilder, Preston Sturges et al. The old Capracorn thing attached to It's A Wonderful Life is a misnomer. His films are usually pretty tough, even if they do have heart, which is often a good thing.

  • Donna Dyer | December 16, 2011 1:56 PMReply

    I loved Frank Capra's work, saw It Happened One Night at the Harvard Theater in Harvard Square years ago. It was in the 60s and I thought it was wonderful. I wrote him a letter sometime later as I found each movie he made. He wrote a wonderful letter back and I have treasured it since. He expressed hope that all the nudity and swearing would end and people would go back to making good movies, not sensational ones. He died and never saw a return to '"clean" movies, but his work will stand out when the other directors from the era of garbage will be forgotten. Sincerely, Donna Dyer

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