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Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

From Academic Kids

Template:Infobox Movie Mr. Smith Goes to Washington is a 1939 film which tells the story of an idealistic young man, sent to Washington under the tutelage of the corrupt senator he naively admires, to fill the unexpired term of a dead Senator, where he is dismayed by the corruption he finds there.

The film stars Claude Rains as the senior senator, trusted by Smith (James Stewart) as his father's best and oldest friend.

Also appearing are Jean Arthur, Edward Arnold, Guy Kibbee, Charles Lane, and Thomas Mitchell.

In the spring of 2005, media attention over the "nuclear option" focused extra attention on what was already the melodramatic climax of the film, when Smith launches a lengthy and defiant filibuster.

The film was directed by Frank Capra, who also directed Jean Arthur in Meet John Doe, and written by Lewis R. Foster and Sidney Buchman.

It has been deemed "culturally significant" by the Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry.

The film premiered in Washington, D.C. on October 17, 1939. It was also made into a television series of the same name that ran during the 1962-63 season starring Fess Parker and Red Foley.

Contemporary reviewer Otis Ferguson wrote in The New Republic:

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington is the story of how a leader of Boy Rangers was sent to the Senate by the state political machine because he was popular, honest, and dumb. Washington is a shrine to him. So as he gawps around lost for a whole day, throw in thousands of feet of what can only be called a montagasm, buildings, monuments, statues, immortal catchphrases in stone. But before we go any farther, what's the payoff? It is that this priceless boy scout grew up as the son of a small-town editor so staunchly against the interests that they shot him for it under the boy's nose; after which he read American history so widely and fiercely that he knew the Constitution and the cherry tree by heart.
The story goes farther, of course, more than two hours' worth. The boy thinks he falls in love, and then falls in love without thinking so. From these personal relations he learns that he has been a chump. He starts a filibuster (the honest-man-in-court scene Capra has found so successful he won't be without it) in which he says some fine things for liberty and the better world. And it is so harrowing on all concerned that just after he passes out his colleague shoots himself, and the American way is straight again. [1] (http://xroads.virginia.edu/~MA97/halnon/capra/smithrev.html)

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