Picks and Pans Review: Frank Capra's American Dream
This 90-minute documentary was produced by the subject's sons, Frank Capra Jr. and Tom Capra. So we were hardly expecting it to expose or debunk the late, legendary director of It's a Wonderful Life. Still, Frank Capra's American Dream (narrated by Ron Howard) takes discretion to extremes by virtually ignoring the moviemaker's not-always-wonderful private life, except for a brief discussion of his plunge into depression after the 1934 success of It Happened One Night. A large celebrity chorus (Angela Lansbury, Richard Dreyfuss, Michael Keaton, et al) sings the praises of Capra classics like Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, but the documentary is more valuable for its detailed treatment of his early efforts and ambitious commercial failures (including The Bitter Tea of General Yen and Lost Horizon).
Bottom Line: Not a must-see