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Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
Mr Smith Goes to Washington
Actors: James Stewart, Jean Arthur, Claude Rains, Edward Arnold, Astrid Allwyn
Genres: Drama
NR     2008     2hr 9min

A NAIVE YOUNG SENATOR FINDS NOTHING BUT CORRUPTION IN WASHINGTON.

     

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Movie Details

Actors: James Stewart, Jean Arthur, Claude Rains, Edward Arnold, Astrid Allwyn
Genres: Drama
Sub-Genres: Classics
Studio: Sony Pictures
Format: DVD - Black and White,Full Screen - Closed-captioned,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 12/09/2008
Original Release Date: 01/01/1939
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/1939
Release Year: 2008
Run Time: 2hr 9min
Screens: Black and White,Full Screen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 15
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, Japanese, Korean
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Movie Reviews

Jimmy Stewart's Finest Performance in Capra Gem!
Benjamin J Burgraff | Las Vegas | 03/22/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Mr. Smith Goes to Washington is a timeless, brilliant parable of Good Vs. Evil, played out in the U.S. Senate. Good is represented by Jimmy Stewart, in the film he SHOULD have won an Oscar for (MGM, trying to bolster 'Goodbye, Mr. Chips' at the box office, influenced it's Academy members to award Robert Donat with the statue; the following year, Stewart appeared in 'The Philadelphia Story', for MGM, and won Best Actor!). He is magnificent as Jefferson Smith, an idealistic youth leader, who is offered up as an innocent and gullible replacement for a Senate vacancy. Evil is personified by Claude Rains, as the suave and corrupt senior Senator, and Edward Arnold, brilliant as a ruthless party boss.In many ways, 'Smith' is cut from the same cloth as Capra's earlier masterpiece, 'Mr. Deeds Goes to Town', and both films costar the radiant Jean Arthur, here cast as Smith's secretary. She is an old hand at understanding political wheelings and dealings, and at first, she considers her new boss a total idiot! But Smith's integrity wins her over, and with the help of reporter Thomas Mitchell (1939's busiest actor!), the three manage to outlast the forces of Evil, in the most rousing filabuster Hollywood has ever filmed!Two supporting characters deserve special attention; Harry Carey, one of Hollywood's most beloved Western stars, plays a warm, sympathetic Vice President, in a small but very crucial role; and Beulah Bondi is terrific as Stewart's mother (she would play his mother again in the Capra/Stewart classic 'It's A Wonderful Life').The new DVD edition offers the insights of Frank Capra, Jr., son of the legendary filmmaker, as well as trailers, vintage material, and a whole lot more!If you've seen 'Mr. Smith Goes to Washington' before, treat yourself with this lavish new edition! If you haven't seen it, you are in for one of the most wonderful cinema experiences you'll ever have, from the best year Hollywood ever had! Simply put, this film is a masterpiece!"
This movie taught me the ideals of America
Gadgester | Mother Earth | 07/23/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I first watched this wonderful movie about six months after I arrived in America from a country where there was little personal freedom. I had just taken an ESL American history class in high school, and had understood little. This movie was simply a great eye-opener for me, a foreigner with little notion of the American freedom.Capra's masterpiece depicted an America rife with with corruption, with lies and ruthless men to whom America was a money and power machine. Against this backdrops stands Jefferson Smith, the hero, who is picked as a stooge senator for his home state by the political machine. (The original screen play identifies the state as Montana; Capra said it was Illinois; but isn't Jackson City the capital of Mississippi?) His innocence and ideals -- and incorrutibility -- immediately warm the heart of every audience member. He's indeed the light in the dark tunnel, the hope for every American who feels that what this great country stands for is shamelessly disregarded and discarded by our politicians.The classic filibuster scene is such a joy to watch, esp. for people who don't quite get what a filibuster is. (Of course, how Mr. Smith could go on talking for 23 hours 16 minutes without going to the toilet puzzles me.) The movie also lucidly explains how a bill is written, submitted for consideration, debated, compromised, and finally sent for vote, in the House and the Senate. It's both an entertaining and educational movie.The filibuster scene may strike some us lecturing. Indeed, the senators in the movie turn a deaf ear to the earnest speeches of Mr. Smith. Democracy, freedom, accountability, "government of the people by the people for the people", all mean nothing to these people. Equally amazing, when the film was screened by Congress in 1939, they damned the film as un-American for depicting them as thieves and stooges. Alas, in film and in real life, politicians are simply people without a conscience. As a naturalized American, I feel all these people should be executed, for betraying the very basic foundation of this country.I re-watched the movie recently in the aftermath of Sept. 11. My eyes became wet as I listened to Mr. Smith begging his colleagues to wake up their conscience. It's a shame that our politicians, ranging from George W. Bush to the donkeys in Congress to some judges, are still thieves, clowns, and traitors to the American ideal of universal liberty. Every day they chip away at the foundation of America by allowing corrupt business leaders to rob the nation of its wealth, by letting terrorists come in at ease and killing us at will, and by turning blind eyes and deaf ears at the plight of the middle class. Like Senator Paine in the movie, every politician of today pretends they represent the people, while in fact they represent nothing but their selfish needs.Mr. Smith Goes to Washington is IMHO the best movie of all time. It's not because it has great acting or fancy special effects. It's because it addresses an endangered concept, first brought forth by America's founding fathers, the concept that this country was to be better than any other country, past or present. And I'm not talking about just being richer or having more Playstation games."
Classic Capra Masterwork Resonates Still as Both Tribute to
Ed Uyeshima | San Francisco, CA USA | 12/26/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"There are films that are purely formulaic and consequently redundant, and then there are select classics that seem to be inspired by the same formula but in a way that make them feel fresh every time you see them. Such is the case with legendary director Frank Capra's political 1939 masterwork, as he and veteran screenwriter Sidney Buchman tell the story of the underdog who must face seemingly impenetrable obstacles to achieve a greater good. Capra made his reputation on films which conveyed such unbridled idealism like his most famous work, 1946's It's A Wonderful Life, but I would argue that this one has a broader sense of resonance since it deals unflinchingly with the corrupted American political structure, a situation that has unfortunately changed little in the nearly seventy years since the film's original release.

A young James Stewart is perfectly cast as Jefferson Smith, the naïve leader of a local Boy Scouts-type organization, who is swept into office as his state's junior senator by the all-powerful political machine headed by a Boss Tweed-like figure, media mogul Jim Taylor. In awe of the senior senator, Joseph Paine, Smith follows Paine's advice to push a bill for a national boys' camp back in the home state. A problem arises in the fact that the camp is to be built on the Willets Dam site which Taylor and Paine plan to use for graft. Along the way, Smith wins the support of his initially cynical secretary, Clarissa Saunders, who becomes inspired by Smith's integrity and encourages him to push the bill. This leads to his tenacious efforts to pass the bill, going as far as staging a 23-hour filibuster on the U.S. Senate floor. It's a monumental climax that Stewart turns into one of the most classic scenes in film history.

Supporting performances by familiar actors are uniformly strong with the wonderfully acerbic Jean Arthur as Saunders, Edward Arnold in full-bluster mode as Taylor, Harry Carey as the silently supportive Senate president and Claude Rains as the conflicted Paine, with Thomas Mitchell, Guy Kibbee, Eugene Pallette, H.B. Warner and Beulah Bondi in smaller roles. The one flaw is the abrupt ending in which one character experiences an instant transformation with little pay-off shown for Smith's efforts. Apparently, Capra unwisely cut these scenes out after preview audiences seemed fidgety at the two-hour mark. Regardless it remains an inspiring piece of American cinema. The remastered 2008 DVD from Columbia fortunately contains a pristine print from the Library of Congress vaults, as well as the original theatrical trailer and a featurette and commentary track from the director's son, Frank Capra, Jr."
Mr. Smith Goes To Washington
William Linsley | Shelton CT USA | 02/10/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Almost anyone who watches movies very much has heard of this classic film about political corruption. People who have not watched it in a long time or have never seen it will be surprised at how topical it is, and how sharp in its critique of Washington insider politics. The claim that this re-issue has been improved by a new digital remastering process is not false. The older version wasn't really bad, but this one is noticeably better, if not by a lot. People who really love this movie a lot will appreciate it."