Author Topic: Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)  (Read 1602 times)

Offline Antares

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Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
« on: December 09, 2009, 04:10:26 AM »
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

Year: 1939
Film Studio: Columbia Pictures
Genre: Drama, Comedy, Classic
Length: 130 Min.

Frank Capra (1897)

Sidney Buchman (1902)...Screenwriter
Lewis R. Foster (1898)...Story By

Frank Capra (1897)

Joseph Walker (1892)

Dimitri Tiomkin (1894)...Composer

Jean Arthur (1900) as Clarissa Saunders
James Stewart (1908) as Jefferson Smith
Claude Rains (1889) as Senator Joseph Harrison Paine
Edward Arnold (1890) as Jim Taylor
Guy Kibbee (1882) as Governor Huber Hopper
Thomas Mitchell (1892) as Diz Moore
Eugene Pallette (1889) as Chick McGann
Beulah Bondi (1888) as Ma Smith

       ‘A man of the people’; a term used to describe an idealistic, honest person whose life’s vocation is promoting the public good. Today, a person of this caliber is rare and is vanishing faster than an animal on the endangered species list. Any individual with unimpeachable integrity can be made to appear corrupt and untrustworthy to our vast population by the propaganda power of television and the internet. In a scenario that can best be described as a defeated David versus Goliath, one man fighting against the massive strength of corporate collusion is easily crushed under the broad heel of mass media manipulation by the boardroom brokers of power. Sadly, our politicians have evolved to embrace this new wave that has crashed upon our political shores and the future is appearing rather bleak.

       Turning back the pages to a simpler and quieter time, Frank Capra had dominated the silver screen in the Depression ravaged thirties. Starting in 1934 with It Happened One Night and following with Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, Lost Horizon and You Can’t Take it with You, Capra managed to offer quality film choices to audiences that were hard pressed to scrape together the necessary amount of money to buy a box office ticket. In 1939 he would create his most famous film Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, starring an up and coming Jimmy Stewart. Stewart stars as Jefferson Smith, an idealistic young man who is selected to serve the remaining term of the recently deceased junior Senator from his home state. He is chosen for this position by the governor of his home state and sanctioned by senior Senator Joseph Paine (Claude Rains), a multi-term member of the Senate and who is Smith’s hero and role model.

       Unbeknownst to Smith is that he was selected because of his inexperience and the ability of Senator Paine to keep him in line with the wishes of Paine’s main supporter Jim Taylor (Edward Arnold). Taylor is an industrial tycoon who uses the power of his position and his extensive wealth to push through projects that will increase his wealth and power. When Smith proposes a Bill to establish a boy’s summer retreat camp on land illegally obtained by Taylor for a dam to be built by one of his companies, Taylor unleashes a torrent of scandalous accusations against the junior Senator, hoping to disgrace him and deflect attention away from the dam project. Smith’s only chance for survival is to use the Senate’s most powerful weapon, the filibuster. By taking the floor and not relinquishing it to the other members, he hopes that news of the corruptive influences of Taylor will sway the general public to rally behind him.

       By the end of the 1930’s Frank Capra had become a populist promoter of the American ideology, that through hard work, honesty and determination our country could transcend above all others. His films reflected his beliefs and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington is his Citizen Kane, only not as visceral or venomous.

Ratings Criterion
5 Stars - The pinnacle of film perfection and excellence.
4 ½ Stars - Not quite an immortal film, yet a masterpiece in its own right.
4 Stars - Historically important film, considered a classic.
3 ½ Stars - An entertaining film that’s fun or engaging to watch.
3 Stars – A good film that’s worth a Netflix venture.
2 ½ Stars - Borderline viewable.
2 Stars – A bad film that may have a moment of interest.
1 ½ Stars – Insipid, trite and sophomoric, and that's its good points.
1 Star – A film so vacuous, it will suck 2 hours from the remainder of your life.
½ Star - A gangrenous and festering pustule in the chronicles of celluloid.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2010, 06:13:57 PM by Antares »


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Re: Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2009, 02:01:21 PM »
James Stewart holding the floor is one of my favourite scenes of any film. :thumbup: