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Mr. Smith Goes to Washington...

~Tuesday~  Tonight, I watched the classic 1939 film, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, the movie that made Jimmy Stewart a major movie star.

I really didn't know anything about this movie, but it appealed to me on a few levels: 1) It's a classic, 2) I like Jimmy Stewart, and 3) Bob hadn't seen it either, although he certainly knew what it was about.


Synopsis: A naive man is appointed to fill a vacancy in the US Senate. His plans promptly collide with political corruption, but he doesn't back down.

It would appear that this entire movie is online on Vimeo. It's just over two hours long.



My thoughts and observations about this movie included:

  • Things in politics sure haven't changed. Or better stated, perhaps, it was already bad in 1939, if this movie was any comment at all on those times, as opposed to being pure fiction.

  • In terms of showing the naïveté of the Mr. Smith character, I thought it was well done in one way, and not so well done in another way. I totally bought his fascination with Washington, DC upon his arrival there, marveling at seeing all the sites and statues only dreamed about in the past—as I did the first time I went there, and even more pronouncedly so, the first time I went to New York City and saw all the famous streets and landmarks there. What I didn't buy was that he didn't let anybody know that he'd be doing that all day long. To me, that wasn't consistent with his "do the right thing" character.

  • "They" say that conflict is what makes a good story, and this film had lots of it. Some that come to mind are:

    • Between doing the right thing and doing what you need to do to get ahead

    • Between Mr. Smith's feelings for his secretary and his feelings for the Sr. Senator's daughter

    • Between self-survival and honoring the memory of the friendship with a best friend

    • Between continuing to fight and succumbing to defeat

    • Between the corrupt and those suffering at the hands of the corrupt

Overall, I very much enjoyed this movie, and it was certainly clear to see how it has become a classic.

Thanks, Bob (and Frances and Vincent), for sharing it with me!

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