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MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON

Director: FRANK CAPRA

129 minutes| U.S.A.| 1939| Black and White| D-Cinema


‘This is no place for you, you’re halfway decent!’ So says a cynical secretary (Jean Arthur) to a new Senator (James Stewart) whose endeavour to introduce a bill for a boys’ camp upsets his political masters who have their own underhand agenda for the acquisition of that land. Similar to Mr. Deeds in its opposition of goodness against graft, Mr. Smith is bolder in scope, since the forces amassed against Smith appear overwhelming, mobilised by a ruthless tycoon who has the press and the whole political machinery in his pocket. Idealism has to shout itself hoarse to become heard; a compromised Senator (Claude Rains) requires a change of heart that will reduce him to suicidal despair; the individualistic hero finds he cannot go it alone. Washington politicians didn’t care for the film, but audiences did. Amidst a range of extraordinary performances, James Stewart creates an unforgettable archetype of all-American integrity, defiant even when the cause seems lost.

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