critics and reviewers have said about Ray Carney's American Vision:
The Films of Frank Capra
here for best printing of text
ambitious and eloquent book [that] reads extraordinarily well. Carney
speaks with freshness, clarity, and an absence of theoretical claptrap.
He produces thoughtful and sometimes exuberant analyses of such
Capra perennials as Meet John Doe and Mr. Smith Goes to
Washington, as well as It's a Wonderful Life. . . [American
Vision is] a book that should advance the reputations of both
Frank Capra and Raymond Carney."
Poague, author of Frank Capra in Film Quarterly
extraordinary achievement and undertaking.... A true fruition and
a powerful defense of the auteurist impulse in film studies."
fresh insights into Capra's career and the characters he created
for the screen. Particularly impressive is the author's ability
to tie the filmmaker's work to elements in the traditional arts
and to Capra's peers in the film industry . . . The skill with which
the author develops his thesis provides a model for future studies
of this type."
makes a convincing case for his view of Capra as an 'American dreamer.'...
His subtle analyses of individual films consistently reveal new
slants even on movies already well covered in film criticism....
Carney opens new widows onto the important achievement of this major
American director, and provides a framework for appreciating the
depth and artistry of Capra's 'American Vision.'"
examples he cites of the strategies the films share with specific
paintings by Homer, Eakins, and Sargent support Carney's fresh insights
into the stylistics Capra developed and make the reevaluation he
urges of the films all the more compelling. Recommended."
exciting art criticism book . . . so different from the many film
criticism texts published in America and Europe."
Journal of American Studies
constantly makes revealing and instructive comparisons with novelists
and painters to link Capra to the themes and forms of American Romanticism.
He advances his thesis further in a closely argued and densely detailed
discussion of the individual films, assessing design, lighting,
music, cutting, staging and acting styles.... All this is immensely
valuable and Carney assembles a persuasive case."
Vision] is a challenging, invigorating, and masterful work....
Carney's book allows us not only a greater appreciation of Capra's
genius, but a greater understanding of film and what film can accomplish
in its efforts to entertain us, challenge us, and, perhaps, inspire
Basinger, Curator, Wesleyan University Frank Capra Archives and
author of the It's a Wonderful Life Book
most detailed, intelligent, original, and accurate interpretations
of [Capra's] work."
* * *
Cassavetes on Ray Carney's American Vision
is such a pleasure to see energy flow in a positive direction. I
share [Ray Carney's] love for Capra...in my estimation the greatest
of all American directors, a man who was so beautiful, so forgiving,
so democratic, so damned talented, so full of life and energy that
his films patrol the imagination of America today. He represents
a country that perhaps never was. We see his heavies and they are
the mighty, the unbeatable, no longer caring until they are made
to care by the innocent persistence of the heroes. The villains
continue to be greedy until Capra's people make them realize that
there's joy to living.... He is the American dream."
Ray Carney, American
Vision: The Films of Frank Capra (Hanover, N.H. University Press of
New England, 1996), 88 illustrations, paperback, 510 pages. This book
is available directly from the author for $20.
first interdisciplinary study of America's best-known filmmaker. In this
daring and unorthodox study, Ray Carney places the work of Frank Capra
in the great tradition of American transcendentalism–along with paintings
by Homer, Eakins, Sargent, Hopper and the writings of Emerson, Poe, Hawthorne,
and William and Henry James, among others.
Interweaving wide-ranging discussions
of American literature, drama, and painting and the work of other filmmakers
with detailed analyses of such films as Itís a Wonderful Life,
Meet John Doe, and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Carney
finds in Capraís life and work a classic American struggle for self-expression
within the repressive structures of ordinary life. In this larger cultural
context, Capra emerges as something far more radical than the social realist
he is often taken to be–as a visionary determined to unleash "mysterious,
distinctive, personal energies that defy social understandings or control."
American Vision was
reprinted in 1996 with a new Preface, outlining recent developments in
Capra criticism, and detailing the shortcomings of current Cultural Studies
approaches to his work.
* * *
This book is available through
and Noble , your local bookseller, or, for a limited time, directly
from the author (in discounted and specially autographed editions). See
below for information how to order this book directly from the author
by money order, check, or credit card.
To obtain a copy directly from
the author (please stipulate if you would like an inscription or autograph
on the inside front cover), please send $20 (US Postal Money Order
only) with your name and address, and the title of the book you are ordering,
to the following address. (Domestic US orders only.)
Special Book Offer
College of Communication
640 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
you can buy Ray Carney's works online using Visa or MasterCard.
If you pay by credit card using the PayPal button, please note in
the item description or comments section of the order form the exact
title of the item or items you are ordering (be specific, since
many items have similar titles), as well as any preferences you
may have about an autograph or inscription and the name or nickname
you would like to have on the inscription.
If you are confused by the PayPal form, or unsure where to enter
this information, you may simply make your credit card payment that
way, and separately email me (at the address below) any and all
information about what item you are ordering, and what inscription
or name you would like me to write on it, or any other details about
your purchase. I will respond promptly.
The PayPal form has a place for you to indicate the number of items
you want (if you want more than one of any item), as well as your
If you place your order and send your payment by mail, please include
a sheet of paper with the same information on it. I am glad to do
custom inscriptions to friends or relatives, as long as you provide
all necessary information, either on the PayPal form, in a separate
email to me, or by regular mail. (Though I cannot take credit card
information by mail; PayPal is the only way I can do that.)
If you want to order other items from other pages, and are using
the PayPal button, you may combine several items in one order and
have your total payment reflect the total amount, or you may order
other items separately when you visit other pages. Since there is
no added shipping or handling charge (shipping in the US is free),
you will not be penalized for ordering individual items separately
in separate orders. It will cost exactly the same either way.
These instructions apply to American shipments only. Individuals
from outside the United States should email me and inquire about
pricing and shipping costs for international shipments.
Clicking on PayPal opens
a separate window in your browser so that this window and the information
in it will always be available for you to consult before, during,
and after clicking on the PayPal button. After you have completed
your PayPal purchase and your order has been placed, you will automatically
be returned to this page. If, on the other hand, you go to the PayPal
page and decide not to complete your order, you may simply close
the PayPal window at any point and this page should still be visible
in a window underneath it.
If you have questions,
comments, or problems, or if you would like to send me additional
information about your order, please feel free to email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org