Crazy Knitter Reviews

The place where this crazy knitter reviews books, TV, movies and recipes

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Mr Smith Goes to Washington (1939)

One of the finest films ever made. Jimmy Stewart stars as Jefferson Smith, a young man picked to replace the deceased Senator from his state. When he arrives in Washington he takes a tour of the city and is drawn to the Lincoln memorial. He uses these landmarks as his inspiration for his new job. He also quickly learns that he must be careful. He is talking with several reporters who twist his pictures and words to make him look like a fool. He meets his cynical secretary, Saunders, who feels burned out by the political system. Jefferson is overwhelmed by his new duties but it determined to do a good job. He soon decides to write a bill for a national boys camp in his home state even though he is told to keep quiet and agree with everything the senior Senator, Joseph Paine, does. The problem is that the boys camp is to be placed on the property that has been picked for a damn by the political fat cats. The powers to be decide to disgrace Jefferson and make up tremendous lies about him. However, he will not go down without a fight. He filibusters, with Saunders' help, to get the truth out and save his reputation.

Without a doubt this is one of Jimmy Stewart's best performances. I can not think of another actor, even today, who could portray the naive Jefferson Smith without making him seem stupid. Jean Arthur is wonderful as the fed up Saunders and Claude Rains shines as the dirty Senator Paine. It lost Best Picture to Gone With the Wind but I think it may have been cheated (and GWTW is one of my favorite movies). A top notch film that is a national treasure. There was a TV series based upon this film that ran from 1962-3 and it was also remade as Billy Jack goes to Washington in 1977.

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