SAT Subject US History Practice Question 876: Answer and Explanation
47. Frank Capra was a Depression-era film director whose artistic response to the Great Depression could best be described as
A. elaborate musicals, such as Gold Diggers of 1933, with lavish dance numbers and opulent sets, which suggested that better times were just around the corner.
B. earnest films, such as Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, which suggested that the problems of the era could be solved by old-fashioned values rather than sweeping political or economic change.
C. bright, animated films, such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, which offered Americans an escape from the drudgery of daily life.
D. zany comedies, such as Duck Soup, which created an anarchic world that mocked authority at a time when traditional authorities seemed to be unable to provide answers to the day's problems.
E. gritty gangster movies, such as The Public Enemy, which presented a lonely, often cruel world of urban decay and violence.
Correct Answer: B
Frank Capra's movies are seen as optimistic and perhaps somewhat sentimental. His depictions of decent, hardworking people triumphing over special interests and greed seem to parallel the goals and worldview of the New Deal. Gold Diggers (1933) (A) was choreographed by Busby Berkeley. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (C) was produced by Walt Disney. Duck Soup (D) was a Marx Brothers movie. Public Enemy (E) was directed by William Wellman.