Friday, February 17, 2012
Classic Hollywood Review: Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
This was one of the first Classic Hollywood Reviews that I wrote. And as we ponder the election from a week and a half ago, I thought it was appropriate to run it again. There will be many new people in Washington starting in January. Here's praying they come with the convictions and willingness to stand up for what's right that is portrayed in this movie. Whichever side of the aisle you vote, I think we can all agree that's what we need.
Do you have a wee bit of the crusader in you? Wonder if corrupt politics only arrived in the 1990s? Then you need to watch Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. A 1939 offering from one of my favorite classic directors, Frank Capra, with one of my favorite classic stars, Jimmy Stewart, it's the ultimate feel good tale. And what's not to like when Jean Arthur joins the fun.
Jimmy Stewart's character Jefferson Smith is basically a grown-up Eagle Scout who is sent to Wasghington because his handlers think he'll be easy to control. Boy, did they mess up on that assumption! One of my favorite scenes is when he gets to Washington, D.C. and hops on the trolley to take a tour giving his handlers ulcers with his disappearing act. (For a summary of the film, pop over here.)
This was the fifth film that Stewart made in 1939 and garnered a total of eleven Academy Award nominations but only won in one category. This was also the second film in which Stewart and Arthur are paired as romantic leads. Don't worry, I'll talk about the 1938 film in coming weeks, because it's another family favorite.
There's a lot to love about this film. It highlights the corruption of the media. The corruption in politics. The hero worship that can lead to disillusionment. Hmm, what's there to love, you ask?
How about a man who won't be railroaded? Who stands up for what he knows is right even when his is the only voice speaking? A man who will offer himself on the altar in sacrifice for what is right for the country? If you wonder about the power of one man, pop in this video and then pray for God to give us people in office like this!
This movie one best Oscar for story and was nominated for a string more. I highly recommend this movie.