‘Mr Smith Goes to Washington’

A delightful political comedy drama, Mr Smith Goes to Washington, made in 1939, surprisingly passes the test of time as a naive new senator takes up his position at the Senate.

As the second representative of his (unnamed) State, Jefferson Smith (James Stewart – The Philadelphia Story, It’s a Wonderful Life) is appointed by the Governor based on his lack of experience. A bill in the House needs to be passed, no questions asked: long-time local Senator, Joseph Paine (Claude Rains – Casablanca, Mr Skeffington) and a group of businessmen are looking to make millions. But they hadn’t made allowances for Smith’s idealism – and cynical staffer, Saunders (Jean Arthur – You Can’t Take It With You, The Devil & Miss Jones).

Unashamedly black and white with its stance on right and wrong along with a passing comment on political interests, director Frank Capra ( It’s a Wonderful Life, It Happened One Night) paces his narrative perfectly with the weaving of comedy, romance and drama whilst barely deviating from the central narrative.

Nominated for 11 Oscars in 1940 including best film, actor, director, screenplay, won 1 for best original story.

Rating: 77%

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