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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

Mr. Smith Goes To Washington (1939)



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One of Frank Capra's best and most loved films, Mr. Smith Goes To Washington is the definitive patriotic American classic. It solidified Stewart's status as a star and garnered him an Oscar nomination that many feel he should have won.

The story is a modern day fairy tale, where the innocent patriot is ushered into the political realm by corrupt, influential political giants who observe his naivety and underestimate his tenacity. Stewart, playing the part of Jefferson Smith, is fascinated by Washington with its sights and history, and it comes to his utmost dismay when he catches wind of corruption in the Senate. His efforts to expose it nearly destroy him.

The film is a triumph. In an age where patriotism is less valued than it was, Mr. Smith Goes To Washington still has incredible power and resonance. And it's got that Capra feeling to it, too, that's so rare today. Capra's comedies have a way of blending comedy and drama together in such a way that they seem a unified whole, and if either were taken away, the rest would fall apart. They inspire thought, and in the specific case of Mr. Smith Goes To Washington, it pulls no punches when it comes to the frank depiction of government corruption. But you'll come away from the movie with a smiling face and a high heart nonetheless.