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An Archaeology of SympathyThe Sentimental Mode in Literature and Cinema$
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James Chandler

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780226034959

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226035000.001.0001

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Capra Remakes Capra

Capra Remakes Capra

(p.62) Two Capra Remakes Capra
An Archaeology of Sympathy

James Chandler

University of Chicago Press

Capra's sentimentality, and even that what makes Capra Capra, is attributed to a so-called “recursivity” in his work, his singular preoccupation with self-revision. This chapter examines pairings of films that suggest ways in which the self-revisiting and self-revising practices unfold (and enfold) themselves in Capra's career as a filmmaker. Specifically, it looks how the interpolated celestial screening of George Bailey's life, when it reaches 1932, draws on Capra's bank-run sequence in American Madness, keying a larger set of transformations that mark the intervening fifteen-year journey of self-discovery. It then turns to It Happened One Night to show how it revisits the trope of the “Walls of Jericho” in Capra's best silent film, Strong Man, to establish principles of probability for the screwball comedy.

Keywords:   Frank Capra, sentimentality, recursivity, self-revision, films, George Bailey, American Madness, It Happened One Night, Strong Man, Wall of Jericho

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