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  • Frank Russell Capra was an Italian-born American film director, producer and writer who worked his way from Los Angeles's Italian ghetto to become the creative force behind some of the major award-winning films of the 1930s and 1940s. His rags-to-riches story has led film historians such as Ian Freer to consider him the "American dream personified." Capra became one of America's most influential directors during the 1930s, winning three Oscars as Best Director. Among his leading films was It Happened One Night, which became the first film to win all five top Oscars, including Best Picture. Other leading films in his prime included You Can't Take It With You and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. During World War II, Capra served in the US Army Signal Corps and produced propaganda films, such as the Why We Fight series. After World War II, however, Capra's career declined as his later films like It's a Wonderful Life were critically derided as being "simplistic" or "overly idealistic". However, his films have since been favorably reassessed in succeeding decades. Outside directing, Capra was active within the film industry, engaging in various political and social issues.

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