Monday, April 4, 2011
Movie Review Monday: Mr Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
While I absolutely adore rambling on and on about my favorite movies, it seems that with the advent of the new baby I can no longer find the time to do that. Therefore, these coming reviews will be the 'mini' variety...and I know you are all just torn up about it. heh heh
Anyhoo...this here review is about my 3rd favorite film of all time, Mr Smith Goes to Washington. Another Frank Capra classic, this one came out during the same year that many other brilliant films made their debut, including Gone With the Wind, The Wizard of Oz, The Women, and Goodbye Mr Chips. While all of these movies have their place on my 'Top 100' Countdown, this one deserves the highest slot for a variety of reasons. The main reason is of course, James Stewart.
As cinematic hero, Jefferson Smith-the honorary 'stooge' elected to congress for the sheer purpose of filling a seat while crooked politicians carry on illegal activities- Jimmy Stewart proved himself to be a strong acting force in Hollywood. The performance is absolutely brilliant, legendary, full of heart...unforgettable. We laugh and cry in turn as we see Smith go from bumbling, naive citizen to pathetically determined patriot. Even for those who have no political affiliations, like myself, there is no denying the impact his perseverance can create. Though Robert Donat won a well deserved oscar that year for his role in Goodbye Mr Chips, this performance of Stewart's remains my all time favorite male performance on film. For the female audience, there is also a moving love story that develops between Jean Arthur's feminine lead and our title character. Again, Capra's direction exceeds expectation and is topped off by a brilliant script and flawless supporting cast.
There are a number of stunning yet practical designs worn by Arthur and the few other female characters in the film. The main draw for me, style-wise, is the male attire which is categorically dapper and well suited (pun intended) to the respective wearer. Dressed in a tux or dropping his hat, Stewart never looked so charming.