Capra felt the weight of his success keenly, burdened by what he perceived as heightened social responsibilities. As a result, he began writing a series of essays that revealed his thoughtfulness as a filmmaker, and his growing need to express more than frivolous entertainment in his work. He called on other creatives in the industry to buck the system, and “have the artistic guts to make only the pictures they want to make, or go into the business of making pictures for themselves.”
Capra, locked in business dealings with Columbia, struggled to take his own advice. However, he still managed to express his vision through movies like, You Can’t Take It with You. The 1938 film focuses on Alice Sycamore (Jean Arthur), a stenographer with an eccentric family who values family over money, and her fiancé Tony Kirby (Jimmy Stewart), the vice-president of a powerful company owned by his wealthy, industrialist father (Edward Arnold). The elder Kirby, dealing in the trade of weapons, needs to buy one last house in a twelve block area—which happens to be owned by Alice's grandfather.
On its face, a story about two families from very different worlds coming together through an unlikely marriage, Capra admitted he “also saw something deeper, something greater.” He believed the story “could prove, in theatrical conflict, that Christ’s spiritual law [love] can be the most powerful force in anyone’s life.” This is illustrated in a scene where the whole neighborhood comes together to pay court fines for Alice’s grandfather when a whacky family fireworks project turns out to be illegal.