A simple, small town man inherits a massive fortune, making him the target for scammers and publicity-seekers. Overwhelmed by the turn his life has taken, and awoken to another use for his new-found fortune, he makes a momentous decision.
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 <email@example.com>
The screenplay was originally purchased by Columbia as a vehicle for Ralph Bellamy, with Harold Wilson slated to produce. Once Frank Capra became the director, the project, planned as a sequel to Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936), was entitled "Mr. Deeds Goes to Washington", and was to star Gary Cooper, reprising his role as Longfellow Deeds. Cooper was unavailable for the role, however, and James Stewart was borrowed from MGM. "I knew he would make a hell of a Mr. Smith," Capra said. "He looked like the country kid, the idealist. It was very close to him." See more »
(at around 30 mins) Twice, Saunders says that Jefferson Smith is going to go "up" to Mt. Vernon, the home of George Washington. Mt. Vernon is approximately 15 miles south of the Capitol in Washington [you can check that using Google maps], and is right on the Potomac River downstream from Washington, so it is not "up" in a north-south sense nor in the sense of elevation. The script should have had Saunders saying that Smith was going "down" to Mt. Vernon, which is how anyone living or working in Washington would have put it. See more »
Besides a brilliantly written story, and brilliant acting by James Stewart, there is one element of this movie that can't be overlooked: Jean Arthur's acting.
With her voice and facial expressions, she pulls you through the storyline. The movie may be about Mr. Smith (Stewart), but much of it is seen through Saunder's (Arthur's) eyes. When she falls in love with Smith, we can't help but do it too.
This is Capra's opus, and contains not one, but two of the best acting performances I've ever seen.
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