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Mr Smith Goes To Washington DVD


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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