Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) was a Drama - Black-and-white Film directed by Frank Capra and produced by Frank Capra.
Capra's enduring favorite has Stewart as the idealistic, yet naive, politician sent to Washington as junior senator who runs afoul of the political corruption in his state. Capra favorite Arthur plays his cynical secretary and Rains the powerful senior senator who expects Smith to be nothing more than a rubber stamp. As with the best of Capra's films, the sentiment and moralizing are kept in check by wonderful acting and genuine emotion. Based on Lewis R. Foster's novel The Gentleman from Montana.
(Source: available at Amazon AMC Classic Movie Companion)..
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington was inducted into the National Film Registry in 1989.
Academy Awards 1939 --- Ceremony Number 12 (source: AMPAS)
|Best Actor||James Stewart||Nominated|
|Best Supporting Actor||Harry Carey||Nominated|
|Best Supporting Actor||Claude Rains||Nominated|
|Best Art Direction||Lionel Banks||Nominated|
|Best Director||Frank Capra||Nominated|
|Best Film Editing||Gene Havlick, Al Clark||Nominated|
|Best Music - Scoring||Dimitri Tiomkin||Nominated|
|Best Writing||Lewis R. Foster||Won|
|Best Writing||Sidney Buchman||Nominated|
Jefferson Smith: I guess this is just another lost cause Mr. Paine. All you people don't know about lost causes. Mr. Paine does. He said once they were the only causes worth fighting for and he fought for them once. For the only reason any man ever fights for them. Because of just one plain simple rule. Love thy neighbor. And in this world today of great hatred a man who knows that rule has a great trust. You know that rule Mr. Paine and I loved you for it just as my father did. And you know that you fight harder for the lost causes than for any others. Yes you'd even die for them. Like a man we both knew Mr. Paine. You think I'm licked. You all think I'm licked. Well I'm not licked. And I'm gonna stay right here and fight for this lost cause. Even if this room gets filled with lies like these. And the Taylors and all their armies come marching into this place. Somebody will listen to me.
Senator Joseph Paine: I wish to ask my distinguished colleague, has he one scrap of evidence to add now to the defense he did not give and could not give at that same hearing?
Jefferson Smith: I have no defense against forged papers!
Senator Joseph Paine: The Committee ruled otherwise! The gentleman stands guilty, as charged. And I believe I speak for every member when I say that no one cares to hear what a man of his condemned character has to say about any section of any legislation before this House.
President of Senate: Order, order, gentlemen.
Jefferson Smith: Mr. President, I stand guilty as FRAMED! Because section 40 is graft! And I was ready to say so, I was ready to tell you that a certain man in my state, a Mr. James Taylor, wanted to put through this dam for his own profit. A man who controls a political machine! And controls everything else worth controlling in my state. Yes, and a man even powerful enough to control Congressmen - and I saw three of them in his room the day I went up to see him!
Senator Joseph Paine: Will the Senator yield?
Jefferson Smith: No, sir, I will not yield! And this same man, Mr. James Taylor, came down here and offered me a seat in this Senate for the next 20 years if I voted for a dam that he knew, and I knew, was a fraud. But if I dared to open my mouth against that dam, he promised to break me in two.
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The Washington press corps were highly indignant at the way they were portrayed in the film. Consequently a great deal of the initial reviews from the capitol were very negative. One of their chief objections was that the film made them all out to be drinking too much.
The set for the Senate chamber was constructed on two newly built adjoining stages at Columbia, stage 8 and 9. The set was built almost to scale, and was at that time, the largest set built on a Columbia sound stage.
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