A United Senator has just passed away, and a state governor scrambles to find an immediate replacement. Several candidates come into mind, but the governor cannot decide. He eventually selects Mr. Jefferson Smith (played by James Stewart), a popular man known for his charitable works, but who definitely is not a politician. He is taken under the wing of his fellow state senator Mr. Paine and is shipped off to Washington DC. Mr. Smith, due to his lack of political experience, is immediately labeled as a naïve simpleton and is frequently referred to as a Daniel Boone. Eventually, Mr. Smith discovers the true nature of his appointment and uncovers considerable corruption, and this leads to his political and personal crucifixion.
“Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” can easily be labeled as being corny by today’s movie audiences, but once you go along with the flow of the film, it is very hard to resist its charm. This film is a David versus Goliath struggle, with Mr. Smith representing everything America stands for (equality, liberty, justice for all, etc) in its purity, and upon which he goes against the giant that is corruption within the system.
James Stewart is once again your Mr. Good Guy, and he is as charming as ever. The same thing can be said of his co-star Jean Arthur, who plays his secretary. Stewart received a Best Actor nomination, and the film won for Best Writing for an Original Story. By the way, Mr. Smith’s Senate filibuster in the latter part of the film has got to be one of the most memorable movie moments of all time.
“Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” is an excellent film that shouldn’t be missed.
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