Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Either I'm dead right, or I'm crazy!

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
Chosen by Victoria Charvill who had this to say: 'I'm a big fan of both James Stewart and Frank Capra, and this partnership doesn't disappoint. Stewart is brilliant as the awestruck, naive yet stubborn Jefferson Smith and I love the filibuster scenes. Jean Arthur is also fab as the savvy assistant. A classic film in which, as the story itself is a rather stylised statement concerning US politics, the characters really make the difference.'

I find the myth of the wholesome simple everyman a little annoying. As if being a gee whizz by golly naif makes you better at being a politician (we see this played out in American politics all the time - where signs of intelligence are frowned upon) but that aside this is a fun film and as fantasy works (though it's ending is very abrupt).
The cast are terrific (if not for Stewart I'm not sure I could have found Mr. Smith palatable at all, he's just not very interesting), Claude Rains and Jean Arthur especially (it's no accident, I dare say, that we end the film with Rains' tortured, corrupted idealist rather than the bland Smith).

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