Jump to content
The Education Forum
Joseph McBride

Roadblocks to an author getting the truth out

Recommended Posts

https://www.masslive.com/entertainment/2019/04/film-historian-explains-difficult-journey-in-unmasking-famed-filmmaker-frank-capra.html?fbclid=IwAR3t-d-yQurybz_l0RGLAwjC74YdamwrwZUABGZvUdXuQdVriz2d8b14xyg

 

https://www.localnewsmatters.org/2019/04/12/qa-with-author-joseph-mcbride-on-the-contradictions-of-frank-capra/

 

In the early phases of my work on INTO THE NIGHTMARE: MY SEARCH FOR THE KILLERS OF PRESIDENT JOHN F. KENNEDY

AND OFFICER J. D. TIPPIT, I was working on a seven-year project, a biography of a celebrated film director, FRANK CAPRA: THE

CATASTROPHE OF SUCCESS (1984-92). I encountered great difficulties in trying to get the book published in the face of the corrupt

machinations of Capra's archivist and my original publisher (Alfred A. Knopf/Random House) and some of Capra's family. The legal

battle that ensued consumed most of four years of that period; I did not go public about this until now. I've now written a book chronicling this harrowing, sometimes darkly comical, Kafkaesque

ordeal  -- FRANKLY: UNMASKING FRANK CAPRA -- which taught me a lot about how hard it is in this country to reveal the hidden truth about a major cultural figure and historical events. My 1992

biography of Capra eventually was published by an honest publisher, Simon & Schuster. FRANKLY is self-published through my Hightower Press imprint and is available exclusively through Amazon.

Two interviews about the new book appeared today (see links above).

 

https://www.amazon.com/FRANKLY-UNMASKING-FRANK-Joseph-McBride/dp/1949950476

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you, Stephanie. I am glad you will be reading the new book. Here is from the

interview I did with Chris De Benedetti of the San Francisco Bay Area online news service localnewsmatters.org:

Are there parallels between the difficulties you encountered with the Capra book and the JFK assassination, which you’ve also written about?

It’s a very destructive thing for a country to live a lie. With the JFK assassination: most of the country doesn’t believe the Warren Report. The official lie is really damaging to the people’s trust in government and the media. The public — give them credit because they’re smarter than some people think.

President Trump misuses the term “fake news” just to describe news about himself he doesn’t like. But, in fact, we do get a lot of fake news — such the coverage of Vietnam and the history of Watergate. The job of historians is to expose the things that have been covered up. That’s why I’ve tried to do. So, I think people will be interested in my books for a lot of reasons, not just film historians.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Joseph McBride said:

Thank you, Stephanie. I am glad you will be reading the new book. Here is from the

interview I did with Chris De Benedetti of the San Francisco Bay Area online news service localnewsmatters.org:

Are there parallels between the difficulties you encountered with the Capra book and the JFK assassination, which you’ve also written about?

It’s a very destructive thing for a country to live a lie. With the JFK assassination: most of the country doesn’t believe the Warren Report. The official lie is really damaging to the people’s trust in government and the media. The public — give them credit because they’re smarter than some people think.

President Trump misuses the term “fake news” just to describe news about himself he doesn’t like. But, in fact, we do get a lot of fake news — such the coverage of Vietnam and the history of Watergate. The job of historians is to expose the things that have been covered up. That’s why I’ve tried to do. So, I think people will be interested in my books for a lot of reasons, not just film historians.

I certainly am.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great interviews, Joe. Really interesting stuff. Did you find there was competing sides on Capra, with you caught in the middle? Or was the push all from one side? 

I ask because my own experience with the Kennedy assassination has shown me that anyone trying to truly understand a complex and controversial issue is gonna get nailed from both sides. We've seen it on this forum, with people coming out of the cracks to attack Josiah Thompson and David Lifton for being too trusting of the government, etc. And I've received some of this abuse myself, with people claiming I'm a CIA apologist, etc. 

I'm wondering if there was anyone pushing you to write a de facto hatchet job on Capra, due to his cooperating with McCarthyites. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Joe, only because of authors like you can we the public find a little bit of truth from time to time.  I know little about it but realize publishing has changed over time and always challenging.  Keep up the good work sir.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Thanks for your kind words, Pat and Ron. There were many contradictions

in Capra, who was a truly tragic figure, a man of great talents brought

down by flaws in his nature. That complexity is what made his life story so fascinating to write and sustained

me all those years throughout the Sturm und Drang of the legal battle; he was a Dostoevskian figure.  The 1992 biography

was attacked by one of Capra's sons as "a hatchet job," but even he said, "His research

was really good." I hope you don't think that first volume of my two-part Capra biography is a hatchet job; I don't,

'and the strongly positive critical reception it received did not view it as such but as a fully three-dimensional, lifelike portrait. And

the decision to write it was all my own.

Edited by Joseph McBride

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Like many on this site, I have read, enjoyed and learned much from Mr. McBride on the events of Nov 22 '63. I hope to read the Capra books and his memoir in the near future. I think his biography of John Ford is informative, detailed, rich in anecdotes and surely the definitive one.

That he also managed to be a college teacher in this mix has always impressed me. For those who might encounter his Ford book , I'd recommend a book John Wayne's America by Garry Wills.  Reading one of these books lead me to the other and mutually enriching. I have read and own about 20 of Wills' books. He covers a wide range of topics and this is his only film book (I think). The only book of his varied oeuvre that disappointed me was his book on Jack Ruby which he co-authored in the late 60's.

Edited by Robert Harper

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for your kind words, Robert. I also like that Gary Wills book on John Wayne.


I did an enjoyable and informative radio interview today with Doug Holm and Matthew Clark of KBOO-FM (Portand, Oregon), dealing with my new book, FRANKLY: UNMASKING FRANK CAPRA, on my legal and other problems getting my 1992 Frank Capra biography, FRANK CAPRA: THE CATASTROPHE OF SUCCESS, published. We also discuss how I dealt with the enigmatic personality of John Ford in two books, a critical study (written with Michael Wilmington) and a biography. My part of this show begins 45 minutes from the end and concludes seven minutes before the end.

https://www.kboo.fm/media/71697-interview-film-historian-joseph-mcbride-frank-capra?fbclid=IwAR39Ea0RfEwUxQU8GOovo9w5CevEPYajtpZROHSfHkz7B0pYcJwwjJJpOxw

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
On 4/13/2019 at 4:36 AM, Joseph McBride said:

President Trump misuses the term “fake news” just to describe news about himself he doesn’t like. But, in fact, we do get a lot of fake news — such the coverage of Vietnam and the history of Watergate.

Well said. Trump has co-opted this term, and we need to take it back again. Enjoyed your "Into the Nightmare" and now looking forward to this one!

Edited by Rob Couteau

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Thanks, Rob. Yes, we need to take back that term "fake news." As Orwell helped teach us, political language can be perilous. It was Poppy

 Bush who popularized the term "political correctness" -- he used it

as his broad-bush slur on liberals, and then liberals unthinkingly took it up

as their credo, and it spiraled out of control into what can

at its worst be a narrow-minded and often puritanical censoriousness. We all know how the CIA spread

the term "conspiracy theory" as a slur, and how eagerly the media

took that up. This has caused endless problems, including the recent

obsession over Trump and his cronies engaging in "collusion" -- forgetting or not knowing

that collusion is not a crime, what people should have been focused instead

on is criminal conspiracy.  Collusion can be offensive and damaging

to the body politic and a cause for impeachment and other political decisions. But the MSM and many people are terrified

of the word "conspiracy," so they fixated on collusion rather than conspiracy,  and even when Mueller clarified the difference in his report, it caused consternation

among some people who still don't understand what the laws are or how we should deal with evidence of political conspiracy and obstruction of justice.

Edited by Joseph McBride

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, political language can indeed be perilous and work upon the body politic like a virus. Thanks for this thoughtful reply, Joe.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One of the critics I most admire, David Walsh of the World Socialist Web Site,

did massive preparation for his thoughtful and gratifying April 24 review of

my 2018 book HOW DID LUBITSCH DO IT? and his accompanying interview

with me about that book and my new book, FRANKLY: UNMASKING FRANK CAPRA.

 

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/04/24/lubi-a24.html

 

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/04/24/inte-a24.html

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Joe, I attended USC before spending two years as a Mormon Missionary. My roommate was older than me and attending Pharmacy School. He knew all sorts of people from the film industry-cameraman and stunt men. One who had worked with several of the big name directors was extremely critical of all of them as human beings except for Cecil B. DeMille.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...