A frustrated former big-city journalist now stuck working for an Albuquerque newspaper exploits a story about a man trapped in a cave to rekindle his career, but the situation quickly escalates into an out-of-control circus.
Naive and idealistic Jefferson Smith, leader of the Boy Rangers, is appointed on a lark by the spineless governor of his state. He is reunited with the state's senior senator--presidential hopeful and childhood hero, Senator Joseph Paine. In Washington, however, Smith discovers many of the shortcomings of the political process as his earnest goal of a national boys' camp leads to a conflict with the state political boss, Jim Taylor. Taylor first tries to corrupt Smith and then later attempts to destroy Smith through a scandal.Written by
James Yu <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To make his voice hoarse for the filibuster scene, James Stewart dried out his throat with bicarbonate of soda. However, both Frank Capra and Stewart revealed in interviews that his throat was periodically swabbed with mercuric chloride. See more »
(at around 9 mins) When the governor enters the Smiths' home (with the band playing) we see, from the inside, Ma closing the door almost shut. When the scene shifts to outside the house, Ma is again closing the same door. See more »
H.V. Kaltenborn, Himself:
[Speaking into a CBS Radio microphone]
Senator Smith, has now talked for 23 hours and 16 minutes. It is the most unusual and spectacular thing in the Senate annals. One alone and simple American, holding the greatest floor in the land. What he lacked in experience, he's made up in fight. But those tired Boy Ranger legs are buckling, bleary eyed, voice gone, he cannot go on much longer. And all official Washington is here to be in on the kill.
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(ca. 1755) (uncredited)
Traditional music of English origin
Played during the opening credits and often in the score See more »
Capra & Stewart Make It Work Very Well
Frank Capra and James Stewart were nearly unsurpassed at the task of taking the kind of story that is optimistic but that borders on being trite, and making it into a satisfying, worthwhile movie. In "Mr. Smith Goes To Washington", they accomplish this with a little help from Jean Arthur, Claude Rains, and Edward Arnold. It's not quite on the level of "It's a Wonderful Life", but it is as good as almost anything else of its kind.
Stewart's performance is important right from the beginning - hardly anyone else could have been believable as the earnest unknown who suddenly becomes an important political figure. Even his wide-eyed appreciation for what he sees in Washington comes across believably. As the story gets more complicated and his character is developed further, Stewart is even better.
The secondary characters are also important, because the story itself is a rather stylized, though still worthwhile, statement about politics. The characters are more believable than are many of the plot developments. Rains contributes a lot as Stewart's troubled colleague, and Jean Arthur is a natural for this kind of role. Arnold plays his devious character well. Capra holds it all together with his craftsmanship, keeping the story on track and getting the most out of the situation.
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