Frank Capra

I didn’t give a film-clip whether critics hailed or hooted Wonderful Life. I thought it was the greatest film I ever made. It wasn’t made for the oh-so-bored critics or the oh-so-jaded literati. It was my kind of film for my kind of people; the motion picture I had wanted to make since I first peered into a movie camera’s eyepiece in that San Francisco Jewish gymnasium.

A film to tell the weary, the disheartened, and the disillusioned, the wino, the junkie, the prostitute; those behind prison walls and those behind Iron Curtains that no man is a failure!

To show those born slow of foot or slow of mind, those oldest sisters condemned to spinsterhood and those oldest sons condemned to unschooled toil that each man’s life touches so many other lives. And that he if isn’t around it would leave an awful hole. A film that said to the downtrodden, the pushed around, the pauper: “Head’s Up, fella. No man is poor who has one friend. Three friends and you’re filthy rich.”

A film that expressed its love for the homeless and the loveless; for her whose cross is heavy and him whose touch is ashes; for the Magdelenes stoned by hypocrites and the afflicted Lazaruses with only dogs to lick their sores.

I wanted to shout to the abandoned grandfathers staring vacantly in nursing homes, to the always-interviewed but seldom-adopted orphans, to the paupers who refuse to die while medical vultures wait to snatch their hearts and livers, and to those who take cobalt treatments and whistle — I wanted to shout, “You are the salt of the earth. And It’s a Wonderful Life is my memorial to you.”


Rene Daumal

Here is how I have summarized for myself what I would like those who work here with me to understand:

I am dead because I have no desire,
I have no desire because I think I possess,
I think I possess because I do not try to give;
Trying to give, we see that we have nothing,
Seeing that we have nothing, we try to give ourselves.
Trying to give ourselves, we see that we are nothing,
Seeing that we are nothing, we desire to become,
Desiring to become, we live.


I like the rapid punch of solid-state for the bottom, and the rodent-gnawing distortion of the tubes on top.

Pome 19

September 16, 2011

Keith Richards Joshua Tree

This land is your land, this land is my land
From California, to the New York Island
From the redwood forest, to the gulf stream waters
This land was made for you and me

As I was walking a ribbon of highway
I saw above me an endless skyway
I saw below me a golden valley
This land was made for you and me

I’ve roamed and rambled and I’ve followed my footsteps
To the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts
And all around me a voice was sounding
This land was made for you and me

The sun comes shining as I was strolling
The wheat fields waving and the dust clouds rolling
The fog was lifting a voice come chanting
This land was made for you and me

As I was walkin’ – I saw a sign there
And that sign said – no tress passin’
But on the other side …. it didn’t say nothin!
Now that side was made for you and me!

In the squares of the city – In the shadow of the steeple
Near the relief office – I see my people
And some are grumblin’ and some are wonderin’
If this land’s still made for you and me.

Lillian Gish Broken Blossoms

Lillian Gish in Broken Blossoms

(1919, US, D.W. Griffith)

the minutemen

900 LB of quivering sirloin strapped to a guitar

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Charlie Chaplin Modern Times

Charlie Chaplin in Modern Times

(1936, US, Charlie Chaplin)

Edward Hopper New York Movie

Edward Hopper, New York Movie 1939. Oil on canvas 32 1/ 4 x 40 1/8 in.

Tokyo Twilight

As I argue in my chapter on It’s A Wonderful Life, Capra’s work is so opposed to the creation of symbolic truths that even an event or a word that a well-intentioned character wants to treat as a symbol is shown to resist being stabilized this way. With the noblest intentions in the world, Mary Hatch attempts to create enduring symbols of her faith in George’s vision with her “George lassos the moon” needlepoint. The only problem (which is, in Capra’s view, of course no problem at all, but a cause for celebration) is that her symbols won’t stand still the way she wants them to. Like the Granville Place, and like most of the other important events and objects in the film, “lasso” and “moon” continually shift and change their meaning. At George’s darkest hour, they completely reverse their original meanings: the lasso of his youth becomes a noose around his neck, and the moon transforms itself from an object of romance into the name of an unromantic dive in Pottersville, the Blue Moon Bar. Capra wants us to see that life moves out from under the symbols we would nail it down with–even our most idealistic and spiritually exalted symbols. Not even meanings made with love can stop life’s motion.
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We’re all Frankies