Frank Capra is one of the best American directors, though perhaps temporarily out of fashion at the moment as only a few of his films are available on DVD. Capra worked for one of Hollywood’s smallest studios – Columbia Pictures – which was only a few years away from its Poverty Row origins.
Capra’s ability was recognized at the time, and this editorial by Hollywood Reporter editor Billy Wilkerson gives equal credit to screenwriter Robert Riskin and production executive Sam Briskin. Notably there is no mention of head of production Harry Cohn.
Despite the recognition of Capra’s talents by the executives of other studios, the major studios micromanaged the work of many of their contract directors. Capra’s success gave him some measure of independence on how he directed his pictures and his desire to work with stars (such as Gary Cooper and James Stewart) who had to be borrowed from other studios.
Read the original issue of The Hollywood Reporter for February 16, 1934, posted online by the Media History Digital Library.