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Straight Talk review: "Frank Capra - The Name Above the Title"

Updated on October 17, 2009

Frank Capra The Name Above the Title autobiography

Straight Talk review

What was personally interesting for me regarding this book was my husband had a very brilliant lawyer working for him in his staff while he was in Iraq July 2008-July 2009. This young lawyer was a Naval officer and grandson of Frank Capra. This is a young – exceptionally talented, good-looking man from privilege who CHOSE to serve his country. When he finished his year in Iraq – leaving before my husband’s year was up, he gave him a copy of this book that he had written a very gracious forward to. What a class act! These are the kind of men and women we have in our military.

Another lawyer on my husband’s staff had a practice in Beverly Hills. He was losing – literally - thousands of dollars per month – leaving his wife and children in their 90210 zip code area, attending the same private schools, living in a super expensive area with the same bills to pay JUST because he wanted to be of service to his country. He could have maintained his cushy income and didn’t have to suffer the family separation – but he chose a higher calling even at a great personal cost.

Another lawyer was a Harvard grad. After probing a little, my husband found out this officer looked up on the wall of former graduates in the hollowed halls of Harvard and saw how many had served – some giving all – and thought, “How can I not serve when those before me served their country so honorably?”

These are the types of people we have serving us in our military, and I give you only three examples. Examples pertinent, however, to the review of this book.

John Capra came from good, moral stock. Even if the opening of the book doesn’t bring any familiar movies to mind (I had no idea who most of Frank Capra’s early stars and the movies they starred in were and I’m 52. Add to that I consider myself a bit of a movie buff), you get a true sense of the man. The sense of this man is that he came from poor beginnings but stepped up to the plate and worked his tail off to become one of the greatest directors of all-time.

Capra takes the reader back to an era where people didn’t expect a hand-out (like the recent Detroit debacle where tens of thousands – literally – lined up for “Obama money” to be handed out to them for doing NOTHING to earn it…). They worked for what they hoped to achieve. Not like the entitlement groups of people today who expect the “government” to take care of them.

Most people, even you “youngins’” will recognize movie classics such as Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, or It’s a Wonderful Life, or Arsenic and Old Lace. But I contend even the lesser known movies that young people probably never heard of still have their own very interesting back-stories.

This book was originally published in 1971. It was a hit then, and although this is a reprint years later, it is a timeless autobiography. If you are a film nut, or my generation or older, it’s a must read. For the youngsters, it’s an important read because of the history in it, the background of the great movie business in it’s infancy, and of a bygone era of morals, respect for God, love for country and when the Democratic party wasn’t evil.

Not to mention the fact, Capra has a unique, interesting writing style. He’ll keep you entertained from beginning to end. This is a book anyone who has ever seen a movie should pick up and read!

I will give one warning though - after reading this book, you're going to want to see every single movie this creative genius ever made!


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    • cjv123 profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Michigan

      Thanks Pop! LOL! And at the risk of sounding VERY smarmy - I am one of YOUR biggest fans! Looking forward to your next Hub!

    • breakfastpop profile image


      10 years ago

      What a fantastic, brilliant perfect article. My hat goes off to you. I will definitely read this book and be thrilled to get hooked on his movies. I love your hubs, I really do!


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