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Mr Smith Goes To Washington DVD

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In Frank Capra's bright, funny and beautifully paced satire Mr Smith Goes to Washington political heavyweights decide that Jefferson Smith (James Stewart), an obscure scoutmaster in a small town, would be the perfect dupe to fill a vacant US Senate chair. Surely this naïve bumpkin can be easily controlled by the senior senator (Claude Rains) from his state, a respectable yet corrupted career politician. Capra fills the film with Smith's wide-eyed wonder at the glories of Washington, all of which ring false for his cynical secretary (Jean Arthur) who doesn't believe for a minute this rube could be for real. But he is. Capra was repeating the formula of a previous film, Mr Deeds Goes to Town, but this one is even sharper. Stewart and Arthur are brilliant, and the former cowboy-star Harry Carey lends a warm presence to the role of the vice-president. Mr Smith Goes to Washington is Capra's ode to the power of innocence--an idea so potent that present-day audiences may find themselves wishing for a new Mr Smith in the halls of power. The 1939 US Congress was none too thrilled about the film's depiction of their august body, denouncing it as a caricature; but even today, Capra's jibes about vested interests and political machines look as accurate as ever. --Robert Horton, Amazon.com

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