- Anne of Green Gables

Kindred Spirits

Friday, January 27, 2012

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

 Mr. Smith Goes To Washington
Rating: 4 1/2 (out of 5)

Synopsis: A naive man is appointed to fill a vacancy in the US Senate - Mr. Jefferson Smith. "It should be easy to push him around, no?" the other Senators say. But when Mr. Smith's plans unwittingly collide with political corruption, he doesn't back down, even when faced with all kinds of threats to his reputation.

Starring: Jimmy Stewart, Jean Arthur, Claude Rains, Thomas Mitchell, Edward Arnold, and Beulah Bondi.

Ok, I'm just going to come out and state it and then explain myself. I LOVE this movie! It hits the nail on the head about the corruptness of most politicians. Yes, there are some parts that are a little over-dramatic, but I still like the film. :) And in the picture above, the lady sitting next him is his mother - Ma Smith. And yes, you may recognize her as Jimmy Stewart's mother in It's a Wonderful Life - Ma Bailey. Cool, huh? :D This movie had quite a few cast members from It's a Wonderful Life, which I thought was pretty neat. :)

Learning how to be a Senator from Miss. Saunders.
Jimmy Stewart plays Jefferson Smith. Jefferson Smith is a Boy Scouts leader. He's the one picked to fill a vacancy in the US Senate. And in the ways of politics he's naive - very much so. But he's got fight, and that in his favor.

Jimmy pulls this character off really well. Personally I think his performance in this is just as good as George Bailey in It's a Wonderful Life. You really feel sorry for him when the odds are stacked against him in this movie. Jimmy is probably one of my favorite actors of all time. :)

L-R: Jean Arthur/Miss Saunders, Jimmy Stewart/Jeff Smith, and Thomas Mitchell/Diz Moore.

Jean Arthur plays his secretary, Clarissa Saunders. Don't you just love that name? :) Miss Saunders is funny, blunt, knowledgeable, and pretty. She's also stubborn - and all of these help Jeff Smith in his fight in Senate.

Miss Arthur does an admirable job playing her part. I found myself rooting just as hard for Jeff as I was because of her performance. :)

Thomas Mitchell plays, well, another guy - by the name of Diz Moore. I'm not sure exactly what Diz is supposed to be... sometimes he's trying to get Miss Arthur to marry him, at other times he's helping fight for Jeff, and sometimes he's just sitting around. :D But he is a necessary character. Other wise there would be little pinholes of nothing in this story. :)

Thomas Mitchell, well, you make recognize either his name or face. He plays in many movies I've seen. Probably one character he portrayed that you'll recognize most easily is Uncle Billy from It's a Wonderful Life. He also played in Garry Cooper's High Noon (another great old movie). But anyway, Diz Moore, his character in MSGtW, slightly reminds me of Uncle Billy. He played Diz wonderfully. Another loveable character. :)

The poor mayor getting bossed around by a bunch of "well-meaning" people.

Claude Rains plays and old friend of Jeff's father (who has passed away). He is a fellow Senator from the same state as Jeff. His name is Joseph Paine. Friendly and outgoing. And that's all I'm going to say without being in danger of giving away major plot points. :D

Claude Rains did an excellent job with this character. I've seen him as Prince John in Errol Flynn's "The Adventures of Robin Hood", and - silly me - didn't even realize it was him at first. I like to see how he could play these different characters and give them their own... I guess you'd call it identity. Distinctive. They are separate characters. There are some actors that they are always playing similar characters that the characters they play can sometimes blend together. Claude Rains doesn't do that... he did a great job! :D

The man on the right was also from the "Adventures of Robin Hood". He played Friar Tuck. :D

Mr. Smith reminding Paine of what Mr. Smith Sr. once said about making a difference.

Mr. Smith at the end of his rope. I must say, Jimmy Stewart does a very good job doing the desperate "look".

I would recommend this film... it's a rare movie that points out political corruption like this. It makes you think. It inspires. And it's just plain interesting. :D

This film was also packed with great quotes. Here are a few favorites:

 "I wouldn't give you two cents for all your fancy rules if, behind them, they didn't have a little bit of plain, ordinary, everyday kindness and a little looking out for the other fella, too." - Jefferson Smith

"I guess this is just another lost cause Mr. Paine. All you people don't know about lost causes. Mr. Paine does. He said once they were the only causes worth fighting for and he fought for them once. For the only reason any man ever fights for them. Because of just one plain simple rule. Love thy neighbor. And in this world today of great hatred a man who knows that rule has a great trust. You know that rule Mr. Paine and I loved you for it just as my father did. And you know that you fight harder for the lost causes than for any others. Yes you'd even die for them. Like a man we both knew Mr. Paine. You think I'm licked. You all think I'm licked. Well I'm not licked. And I'm gonna stay right here and fight for this lost cause. Even if this room gets filled with lies like these. And the Taylors and all their armies come marching into this place. Somebody will listen to me." - Jeff Smith


Maria said...

My family and I also really like this movie.
There is another movie that Jimmy Stewart and Jean Arthur made together. We all really like also. It is called Mr. Deeds Goes to Town. I suggest that you watch it.
Thank you for the post.

Mikailah said...

Oh, my! I love this movie!!! :) There is also another one that Jean Arthur and Jimmy Stuart play in. It is called "You Can't Take It With You". Have you ever seen it? It is really good. :)

Thanks for the review!


Maria said...

We saw that one as well. It was really good.

Miss Sophia said...

Oh, I adore this movie! I love the climax!