T. it.: La follia della metropoli; Scen.: Robert Riskin; F.: Joseph Walker; Op.: Andre Barlatier; M.: Maurice Wright; Scgf.: Stephen Goosson; Su.: Edward Bernds; Ass. R.: C. C. Coleman; F. di scena: William Fraker; Int.: Walter Huston (Thomas Dickson), Pat O’Brien (Matt Brown), Kay Johnson (Mrs. Phyllis Dickson), Gavin Gordon (Cyril Cluett), Costance Cummings (Helen), Robert Ellis (Dude Finlay) Berton Churchill (O’Brien), Arthur Hoyt (Ives), Edwin Maxwell (Clarck), Robert Emmett O’Connor (l’ispettore), Jeanne Sorel (la segretaria di Cluett), Walter Walker (Schultz), Anderson Lawler (Charlie), Edward Martindel (Ames); Prod.: Harry Cohn per Columbia 35mm. L.: 2055 m. D.: 77’.
It was in the making of American Madness that I made a rather startling discovery about pace. A scene that, to me, was normal in pace during its photography, or when viewed by a few people in a small studio projection, seemed to slow down when I saw the same scene projected on a large screen before a theaterful of people. And since American Madness dealt with crowd reaction to rumors, panic, and faith, I decided to counteract the apparent “slowing down” of a film’s pace in theaters by artificially quickening the pace during photography. First, I cut out the long walks, such as prolonged entrances and exits of actors. I jumped the performers in and out of the heart of the scenes. Second, I cut out “dissolves”. Third, I overlapped speeches. Fourth, and this was a radical change, I speeded up the pace of the scenes to about one-third above normal. During photography the speed of the scenes seemed exaggerated – in fact, it was exaggerated – but when American Madness hit the theater screens, the pace seemed normal! Moreover, there was a sense of urgency, a new interest, that kept audience attention riveted on the screen.
Frank Capra, The Name above the Title, MacMillan, 1971