Mr. Smith Goes to Washington by Frank Capra |Frank Capra, James Stewart, Jean Arthur, Claude Rains | 43396279780 | DVD | Barnes & Noble
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

4.9 11
Director: Frank Capra

Cast: Frank Capra, James Stewart, Jean Arthur, Claude Rains

     
 

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Frank Capra's classic comedy-drama established James Stewart as a lead actor in one of his finest (and most archetypal) roles. The film opens as a succession of reporters shout into telephones announcing the death of Senator Samuel Foley. Senator Joseph Paine (Claude Rains), the state's senior senator, puts in a call to Governor Hubert "Happy" Hopper (Guy Kibbee)

Overview

Frank Capra's classic comedy-drama established James Stewart as a lead actor in one of his finest (and most archetypal) roles. The film opens as a succession of reporters shout into telephones announcing the death of Senator Samuel Foley. Senator Joseph Paine (Claude Rains), the state's senior senator, puts in a call to Governor Hubert "Happy" Hopper (Guy Kibbee) reporting the news. Hopper then calls powerful media magnate Jim Taylor (Edward Arnold), who controls the state -- along with the lawmakers. Taylor orders Hopper to appoint an interim senator to fill out Foley's term; Taylor has proposed a pork barrel bill to finance an unneeded dam at Willet Creek, so he warns Hopper he wants a senator who "can't ask any questions or talk out of turn." After having a number of his appointees rejected, at the suggestion of his children Hopper nominates local hero Jefferson Smith (James Stewart), leader of the state's Boy Rangers group. Smith is an innocent, wide-eyed idealist who quotes Jefferson and Lincoln and idolizes Paine, who had known his crusading editor father. In Washington, after a humiliating introduction to the press corps, Smith threatens to resign, but Paine encourages him to stay and work on a bill for a national boy's camp. With the help of his cynical secretary Clarissa Sanders (Jean Arthur), Smith prepares to introduce his boy's camp bill to the Senate. But when he proposes to build the camp on the Willets Creek site, Taylor and Paine force him to drop the measure. Smith discovers Taylor and Paine want the Willets Creek site for graft and he attempts to expose them, but Paine deflects Smith's charges by accusing Smith of stealing money from the boy rangers. Defeated, Smith is ready to depart Washington, but Saunders, whose patriotic zeal has been renewed by Smith, exhorts him to stay and fight. Smith returns to the Senate chamber and, while Taylor musters the media forces in his state to destroy him, Smith engages in a climactic filibuster to speak his piece: "I've got a few things I want to say to this body. I tried to say them once before and I got stopped colder than a mackerel. Well, I'd like to get them said this time, sir. And as a matter of fact, I'm not gonna leave this body until I do get them said."

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Bruce Eder
Frank Capra's Mr. Smith Goes to Washington was the director's final film for Columbia Pictures, the studio where he'd made his name in the 1930s with an enviable array of comedies and topical dramas. It also marked a turning point in Capra's vision of the world, from nervous optimism to a darker, more pessimistic tone. Beginning with American Madness in 1932, such Capra films as Lady for a Day, It Happened One Night, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, and You Can't Take It With You had trumpeted their belief in the decency of the common man. In Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, however, the decent common man is surrounded by the most venal, petty, and thuggish group of yahoos ever to pass as decent society in a Capra movie. Everyone in the film -- except for Jefferson Smith and his tiny cadre of believers -- is either in the pay of the political machine run by Edward Arnold's James Taylor or complicit in Taylor's corruption through their silence, and they all sit by as innocent people, including children, are brutalized and intimidated, rights are violated, and the government is brought to a halt. The film's story of innocence and righteousness triumphant over corruption frames a chilling picture of an ineffectual and venal government fronting for gangsters. Coming at a time when the American public was growing weary (and wary) of the New Deal, then in its seventh year, it may have caught the public's mood just right. The world was indeed becoming a darker place -- as the movie acknowledges by the presence of representatives of various European dictatorships in the Senate gallery as Smith's struggle on the Senate floor continues. The movie was so potent in its time that it cemented the image of James Stewart, then a good working dramatic actor who'd portrayed a range of roles, into the quintessential good-natured hero, the archetypal common man. That image made him a star, but also straightjacketed him to some degree. Stewart did some of his most interesting work in later years when he escaped from that image, as in Winchester '73, The Far Country, Rope, and Vertigo.

Product Details

Release Date:
12/09/2008
UPC:
0043396279780
Original Release:
1939
Rating:
NR
Source:
Sony Pictures
Region Code:
1
Time:
2:10:00

Special Features

Closed Caption; Commentary by Frank Capra, Jr.; Frank Capra, Jr. Remembers... Mr. Smith Goes to Washington; Vintage advertising gallery; Original theatrical trailer

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
James Stewart Jefferson Smith
Jean Arthur Clarissa Saunders
Claude Rains Sen. Joseph Paine
Edward Arnold Jim Taylor
Thomas Mitchell Diz Moore
Guy Kibbee Gov. Hubert Hopper
Eugene Pallette Chick McGann
Beulah Bondi Ma Smith
Harry Carey President of the Senate
Astrid Allwyn Susan Paine
Ruth Donnelly Emma Hopper
H.B. Warner Senator Fuller
Grant Mitchell Sen. MacPherson
Porter Hall Sen. Monroe
Charles Lane Nosey
Pierre Watkin Sen. Barnes, minority leader
Dick Elliott Carl Cook
Billy Watson One of the Hopper Boys
William Demarest Bill Griffith
Johnny Russell Larry Simms
Harry Watson Hopper Boy
Allan Cavan Ragner
Baby Dumpling Hopper Boy
Harry A. Bailey Senator Hammett
Dora Clement Mrs. McGann
Dorothy Comingore Girl
Laura Treadwell Mrs. Taylor
June Gittelson Woman
Fred "Snowflake" Toones Porter
Fred Hoose Senator
Joseph King Summers
Margaret Mann Nun
Charles Moore Porters
Carl Stockdale Sen. Burdette
John Russell Hopper Boy
H.V. Kaltenborn Broadcaster
Erville Alderson Handwriting expert
Stanley Andrews Sen. Hodges
William Arnold Reporter
Eddie Fetherstone Senate reporter
Sam Ash Senator Lancaster
Frank Austin Inventor
Wade Boteler Family man
Al Bridge Sen. Dwight
Frederick Burton Sen. Dearhorn
Ken Carpenter Announcer
Jack Carson Sweeney
Maurice Cass Handwriting expert
George Chandler Reporter
Edmund Cobb Sen. Gower
John Ince Senator Fernwick
George Cooper Waiter
Jack Cooper Photographer
Nick Copeland Senate reporter
Anne Cornwall Senate reporter
Gino Corrado Barber
Maurice Costello Diggs
Alec Craig Speaker
Beatrice Curtis Paine's secretary
Robert Walker Senator Holland
Vernon Dent Senate reporter
Victor Travers Senator Grainger
Neal Dodd Senate chaplain
Ann Doran Paine's Secretary
Helen Jerome Eddy Paine's secretary
Walter Soderling Sen. Pickett
Douglas Evans Francis Scott Key
Mabel Forrest Senate reporter
Byron Foulger Hopper's Secretary
Ferris Taylor Sen. Carlisle
Harry Hayden Speaker
Louis Jean Heydt Soapbox speaker
Olaf Hytten Butler
Lloyd Ingraham Committeeman
Frank Jaquet Sen. Byron
Dick Jones Page boy
Eddie Kane Reporter
Robert Emmett Keane Editor
Russell Simpson Allen
Milt Kibbee Senate reporter
Wyndham Standing Senator Ashman
Wright Kramer Senator Carlton
Vera Lewis Mrs. Edwards
Arthur Loft Chief clerk
Hank Mann Photographer
Philo McCullough Senator Albert
Paul Stanton Flood
Lloyd Whitlock Schultz
Lafe [Lafayette] McKee Civil War veteran
James McNamara Reporter
Robert Middlemass Speaker
James Millican Senate reporter
Gene Morgan Reporter
William Newell Reporter
Alex Novinsky Foreign diplomat
Frank O'Connor Senator Alfred
Frank Puglia Handwriting expert
Ed Randolph Senate reporter
Jack Richardson Senator Manchester
Delmar Watson Jimmie Hopper

Technical Credits
Frank Capra Director,Producer
Lionel Banks Art Director
Edward Bernds Sound/Sound Designer
Arthur S. Black Asst. Director
Sidney Buchman Screenwriter
Al Clark Editor
Lewis R. Foster Original Story
Gene Havlick Editor
Robert Kalloch Costumes/Costume Designer
Morris W. Stoloff Musical Direction/Supervision
Dimitri Tiomkin Score Composer
Joseph Walker Cinematographer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
1. Start [2:22]
2. Having Kittens [4:15]
3. The Hopper Family [4:45]
4. Star-Spangled Banquet [5:47]
5. At the Station [2:48]
6. Saunders [5:56]
7. Daniel Boone Arrives [5:31]
8. Press Conference [2:02]
9. Paine & Saunders [1:10]
10. The U.S. Senate [7:05]
11. Washington Press Corps [2:35]
12. Paine's Recommendation [2:43]
13. National Boys Camp [10:21]
14. New Bills & Resolutions [8:48]
15. "Let's Get Married." [3:33]
16. Whistle-Blower [2:47]
17. Taylor Meets Smith [2:08]
18. "I Compromised." [4:38]
19. Yielding to Paine [2:45]
20. Committee Hearing [3:19]
21. The Lincoln Memorial [2:24]
22. Smith Is Recognized [1:21]
23. Paine Walks Out [7:30]
24. Filibuster! [3:42]
25. Democracy In Action [2:41]
26. "Tell Jeff To Stop." [7:40]
27. 23 Hours, 16 Minutes [8:24]
28. Paine Breaks [1:52]

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