Welcome to Classic Movie Week, 7 days jam-packed with 7 reviews from 7 different writers! This will hopefully be the start of many features on The Bishop Review, and I’ve love to have more and more guest bloggers for future “movie weeks”. To start off the week, I reviewed Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, I hope you enjoy!
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington is an IMDB Top 250 movie, an Oscar-winning film for its writing and yet no one in my government class had heard of it. At the time of first watching it, in that government class, not even I had heard of it. And for all I know, many of my readers haven’t watched it. If that’s the case, than I’m more than happy to introduce you to this film and to kick off Classic Movie Week.
The movie stars James Stewart and Jean Arthur, who I felt had great chemistry, though they apparently did not get along off-screen. Why did Jean Arthur not like Mr. Stewart you might ask? Well, she felt that James was being too “cute” for his own good and she would have rather had a more masculine lead. Despite that, the two give great performances and so does the rest of the cast. It shows politicians in a negative light, which did garner a lot of anger by US Senators, to the point where one Montana senator walked out because he felt disgusted. These days, politicians are typically shown as evil, evil human beings, but this really opened the door for those writers.
The film’s premise is simple enough. James Stewart plays Jefferson Smith a kind, “everyday” man who is appointed to fill a Senate seat in the United States Government. Mr. Smith soon finds that being a Senator isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. When he finds that his colleagues are corrupt he tries his hardest to expose them, no matter the consequences. He stands up for America. While the story and film has aged, to the point where many parts can’t happen due to changes in the government process, it still is a relevant tale. At the very least, this is a good look at how the government used to work and still works, in many ways. To say this film is a classic would be a gross understatement.
Some might not like James Stewart’s acting or his voice. I find it a staple to most classic movies, including this and It’s a Wonderful Life. This movie was made in a more silly time, an example would be that Jean Arthur was really only filmed from one side as they considered it her “more beautiful” side. Man, those old people sure are wacky. The ending isn’t too great, I don’t want to spoil it, but I will just say that it will leave you wanting more resolution.
My favorite scene, the one that gives me chills is the filibuster scene at the end. It’s one of the best scenes from any classic movie and it is a scene that should be watched even if you don’t watch the film. Though, if you don’t watch the whole film, you might not really care for the scene that much.
The film isn’t perfect and it can be boring, but I think it’s one of those films that you need to watch once in your life. I find it sad that my generation, the people in college, and even the people younger than me might never hear of it.
Overall, I think this is a classic film and the perfect way to start Classic Film Week. If you haven’t seen it, watch it, you will not regret it. Even if you don’t live in the US, this could be an interesting watch if only for the great performances by Jean Arthur and James Stewart. I give this film 4 out of 5.
Fun Fact: Frank Capra, the director, received many letters from people saying that this movie was the reason they went into politics.
Classic movie week is currently filled with writers, but if you would like to take part in a future film week, email me at Bishopthereviewer@gmail.com.