Mr Smith Goes to Washington


D: Frank Capra

Columbia (Frank Capra)

US 1939

130 mins


W: Sidney Buchman [based on the unpublished story "The Gentleman From Montana" by Lewis R. Foster]

DP: Joseph Walker

Ed: Gene Havlick & Al Clark

Mus: Dimitri Tiomkin

James Stewart (Jefferson Smith), Jean Arthur (Clarissa Saunders), Claude Rains (Sen. Joseph Paine), Edward Arnold (Jim Taylor), Guy Kibbee (Gov. Hubert Hopper), Thomas Mitchell (Diz Moore), Harry Carey (President Of The Senate)

One of Frank Capra's & James Stewart's finest collaborations is a classic political satire set in Capitol Hill's corridors of power.

Stewart plays Jefferson Smith, an idealistic but naïve young politician who is appointed to the senate following the death of an older senator. He attempts to form an alliance with Joseph Paine, an older politician and presidential hopeful who was his childhood hero and close friend of his father's, but it soon emerges that Smith's plans obstruct corruption amongst his peers who attempt to discredit him and have him removed from office.

Though the mannerisms, dialogue and some of the execution is quite old-fashioned, the main thread of the story is still incredibly relevant and the ending does provide a heartwarming feeling in Capra's best style.

When the film was released, it was met with controversy on both sides of the ocean, ironically for different reasons; In the United States for portraying politicians as corrupt and in Communist countries for showing how democracy works. For me, any film that demonstrates what the word 'filibuster' means has to be worth watching.


Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington