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on July 4, 2004
This movie is perfect for July fact, I watched this movie for the first time on this day! If you want to see how a bill is passed, what the Senate consist of in the government, how people in politics are after, great monuments like the Capitol and Lincoln, and a great storyline, this is the movie for you.
Jimmy Stewart played Jeff Smith, a Boy Scout ranger who loves America, was picked as a Senator. His honesty and rookie nature made him a ruse for the experienced Senators who are out to get him and throw him out of office with their lies. Meanwhile, he did find a friend who went with him all the way...his secretary, Clarissa (who falls in love with him). You will have to find out the rest of the movie what happens when people found out that Smith was telling the truth all along, and the bad guys.
This is a great movie!! Go watch it!
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on January 7, 2010
I recently decided to view this version on one TV and the earlier release on the other. I really didn't think that there would be much a difference, but the Columbia classics release had a sharper picture than the Sony release. I switched teh DVDs and tried again to see if maybe the TV or the DVD player was a factor. I got the same result! My advice.. if you REALLY love this movie, pay extra and get the Columbia classics release!
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon August 24, 2015
I saw this movie on sale and always heard good things about it. It's sited has one of the most important films from the 1939, a year of major classics, such as Gone with the Wind, Wizard of OZ, Son of Frankenstein, Dodge City etc.
James Steward gives an outstanding performance as an idealistic young man who's just been elected to the senate.
He gets to Washington and soon realizes that corruption is abound and the other elected senators are in the pockets and owned by the very rich.
To make matters worst he discovers that an area back in his home that he had hope would be set aside for children has a kinda scouts retreat is in danger of being destroyed because one of the very rich businessman who owns several senators of the U.S. Senate, as decided he wants it. Mr Smith refusing to be bribed, threatened, slandered or bullied all alone takes on this businessman, the corrupt senate and slanderous lies they use to try to discredit him with.
But nothing can break his spirit.
This movie was such a treat to finally get a chance to watch.
Awesome movie.
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MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON [1939] [75th Anniversary Special] [Deluxe Limited Edition DigiBook] [Blu-ray + UltraViolet] [US Import] Fully Restored and Mastered in 4K!

An idealistic newly-appointed senator Jefferson Smith [James Stewart] heads to Washington, where he single-handedly battles ruthless politicians out to destroy him. Celebrate the 75th Anniversary Special of this beloved and influence classic and now fully restored in 4K, plus with this collectable Deluxe Limited Edition DigiBook, complete with rare behind-the-scenes photos and an all-new essay about the making of the film. Winner of the 1939 Academy Award® for Best Writing [Original Story]. 'Mr. Smith Goes To Washington' is a timeless and stirring ode to the power of democracy.

FILM FACT: Awards and Nominations: 'Mr. Smith Goes to Washington' was nominated for 11 Academy Awards® but only won one and they are as follows: Won: Best Writing, Original Story for Lewis R. Foster. Nominated: Outstanding Production Columbia Pictures for Frank Capra. Nominated: Best Director for Frank Capra. Nominated: Best Actor for James Stewart. Nominated: Best Writing, Screenplay for Sidney Buchman. Nominated: Best Supporting Actor for Harry Carey. Nominated: Best Supporting Actor for Claude Rains. Nominated: Best Art Direction for Lionel Banks. Nominated: Best Film Editing for Gene Havlick and Al Clark. Nominated: Best Music, Scoring for Dimitri Tiomkin. Nominated: Best Sound Recording for John P. Livadary. Jimmy Stewart won the 1939 New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor. Among unbilled veteran character actors seen in the film are Guy Kibbee's brother, Milton Kibbee, who has a bit as a reporter, Lafe McKee and Matt McHugh of the McHugh acting family. In 1989, the Library of Congress added the movie to the United States National Film Registry, for being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."

Cast: James Stewart, Jean Arthur, Claude Rains, Edward Arnold, Guy Kibbee, Thomas Mitchell, Eugene Pallette, Beulah Bondi, H.B. Warner, Harry Carey, Astrid Allwyn, Ruth Donnelly, Grant Mitchell, Porter Hall, Pierre Watkin, Charles Lane, William Demarest, Dick Elliott, H.V. Kaltenborn, Dub Taylor and The Hopper Boys: Billy Watson, Delmar Watson, John Russell, Harry Watson, Gary Watson, Baby Dumpling (Larry Simms)

Director: Frank Capra

Producer: Frank Capra

Screenplay: Sidney Buchman

Composer: Dimitri Tiomkin

Cinematography: Joseph Walker, A.S.C.

Video Resolution: 1080p [Black-and-White]

Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1

Audio: English: 1.0 DTS-HD Master Audio Mono, French [European] 1.0 Dolby Digital Mono, German: 1.0 Dolby Digital Mono, Italian: 1.0 Dolby Digital Mono, Portuguese [Brazil]: 1.0 Dolby Digital Mono, Spanish [Castilian]: 1.0 Dolby Digital Mono and Spanish [Latin American]: 1.0 Dolby Digital Mono

Subtitles: English, English SDH, Chinese Traditional, Greek, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese [Brazil], Portuguese [Portugal], Spanish and Thai

Running Time: 129 minutes

Region: All Regions

Number of discs: 1

Studio: SONY Pictures Home Entertainment

Andrew's Blu-ray Review: 'Mr. Smith Goes to Washington' [1939] is producer/director Frank Capra's classic comedy-drama, and considered by many to be his greatest achievement in film (and reminiscent of his earlier film, 'Mr. Deeds Goes To Town' [1936]. In fact, the film project by Columbia Pictures was first announced as Mr. Deeds Goes to Washington starring Gary Cooper, in a role similar to his previous Longfellow Deeds character.

Frank Capra's classic comedy-drama established James Stewart as a lead actor in one of his finest (and most archetypal) roles. The film opens as a succession of reporters shout into telephones announcing the death of Senator Samuel Foley. Senator Joseph Paine [Claude Rains], the state's senior senator, puts in a call to Governor Hubert "Happy" Hopper [Guy Kibbee] reporting the news.

Hubert "Happy" Hopper then calls powerful media magnate Jim Taylor [Edward Arnold], who controls the state and along with the lawmakers. Jim Taylor orders Hubert "Happy" Hopper to appoint an interim senator to fill out Senator Samuel Foley's term; Jim Taylor has proposed a pork barrel bill to finance an unneeded dam at Willet Creek, so he warns Hubert "Happy" Hopper he wants a senator who "can't ask any questions or talk out of turn." After having a number of his appointees rejected, at the suggestion of his children Hubert "Happy" Hopper nominates local hero Jefferson Smith [James Stewart], leader of the state's Boy Rangers group.

Jefferson Smith is an innocent, wide-eyed idealist who quotes Jefferson and Lincoln and idolises Senator Joseph Paine, who had known his crusading editor father. In Washington, after a humiliating introduction to the press corps, Jefferson Smith threatens to resign, but Senator Joseph Paine encourages him to stay and work on a bill for a national boy's camp. With the help of his cynical secretary Clarissa Sanders [Jean Arthur], Jefferson Smith prepares to introduce his boy's camp bill to the Senate. But when he proposes to build the camp on the Willets Creek site, Jim Taylor and Senator Joseph Paine force him to drop the measure. Jefferson Smith discovers Jim Taylor and Senator Joseph Paine want the Willets Creek site for graft and he attempts to expose them, but Senator Joseph Paine deflects Jefferson Smith's charges by accusing Smith of stealing money from the boy rangers.

Defeated, Jefferson Smith is ready to depart Washington, but Clarissa Sanders, whose patriotic zeal has been renewed by Jefferson Smith, exhorts him to stay and fight. Jefferson Smith returns to the Senate chamber and, while Jim Taylor musters the media forces in his state to destroy him, Jefferson Smith engages in a climactic filibuster to speak his piece: "I've got a few things I want to say to this body. I tried to say them once before and I got stopped colder than a mackerel. Well, I'd like to get them said this time, sir. And as a matter of fact, I'm not gonna leave this body until I do get them said."

Jefferson Smith, of course, stands his ground, so the two men set about ruining him. This eventually leads to an unforgettable filibuster scene that solidified James Stewart's persona and the first persona of his multi-dimensional career, anyway, as a common man with bottomless reserves of backbone and dignity. (James Stewart, in a move worthy of an Oscar, had a doctor administer dichloride of mercury near his vocal chords to give his voice the exhausted rasp he was looking for at the close of Jefferson Smith's filibuster.)

Though it's now universally revered as an ode to democratic ideals, Frank Capra's 'Mr. Smith Goes to Washington' [1939] was originally denounced by many Washington power-brokers. That may come as a bit of a shock if you haven't seen this classic picture for several years. Jimmy Stewart's lead performance made him a star, and is justly remembered as the key component of a beautifully constructed narrative. But Frank Capra, for all his flag-waving and sometimes naive moralizing saved a great deal of bite for the hallowed halls of American government.

Frank Capra nearly cast Gary Cooper, but finally settled on James Stewart. 'I knew he would make a hell of a Mr. Smith,' he said. 'He looked like the country kid, the idealist. It was very close to him.' James Stewart knew this was the role of a lifetime, one that could place him near the top of the Hollywood heap. Jean Arthur later remembered his mood at the time: 'He was so serious when he was working on that picture; he used to get up at five o'clock in the morning and drive himself to the studio. He was so terrified something was going to happen to him, he wouldn't go faster.'

On 17th October, 1939, the picture was previewed at Washington's Constitution Hall. The preview was a major production featuring searchlights and a National Guard band playing patriotic tunes; The Washington Times-Herald even put out a special edition covering the event. Four thousand guests attended, 45 Senators among them. About two-thirds of the way through the film, the grumbling began, with people walking out. Some politicians were so enraged by how 'they' were being portrayed in the film, they actually shouted at the screen. At a party afterward, a drunken newspaper editor took a wild swing at Frank Capra for including a drunken reporter as one of the characters!

The wonderfully-acted, absorbing and human film was popular at the box-office and critically successful too. However, the film caused some controversy and pressure was brought to bear to hinder its release (two months after the outbreak of WWII in Europe), due to the fact that Capra's film was propagandistic, depicted political corruption, and appeared to paint an anti-democratic picture of the US government and its inner workings. But the film also called for faith in traditional American values of patriotism and faith in the people, and provided an educational lesson in how bills are passed through Congress.

Blu-ray Video Quality ' SONY has done a beautiful 4K remastering of 'Mr. Smith Goes To Washington.' The film has a nice crisp and sharp look to it. It's not overly sharp and some of the close ups, do have a nice intended softness to them because of the lighting. Fabric, patterns and surfaces all display a wonderful amount of detail. This 75 year old classic has found a fountain of youth in this luscious and gorgeous transfer. Blacks are deep and rich in appearance here. No disguising or masking of detail. No crushing noticed. Detail on dark items is still pretty solid. Flesh tones have a nice consistent tone to them. Facial features are adequate and pretty impressive.

Blu-ray Video Quality ' The excellent English 1.0 DTS-HD Master Audio was harvested primarily from Frank Capra's personal nitrate print, which was struck from the original camera negative in 1939. The result is a soundtrack which is crystal-clear and free of age-related anomalies. There are some impressive and impactful effects captured here such as the gavel hitting and some of the crowd cheering and horns honking. Some sound effects leave a little to be desired, but due to the age of this track and keeping it intact there isn't much more you can do here. The whole presentation really engaged and impressed me. The music score by the great Dimitri Tiomkin is given as pleasing a soundstage as possible.

Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:

Beautiful Designed 26 page Deluxe Limited Edition DigiBook.

Audio Commentary: Commentary by Frank Capra, Jr.: With is audio commentary we get a nice introduction by Frank Capra, Jr. and informs us that when he was four and half years old, that he also had a little brother slightly younger named Johnny and remembers one big night when his Father was at an International Press Preview of 'You Can't Take It With You' at Columbia Pictures, but sadly Frank Capra had to be called away as his son Johnny was in hospital having his tonsils out, but sadly passed away and of course the whole family was devastated, but Frank Capra felt it was best to get back to work, as life has to carry on. On his search for a project, he came across a draft for a film on Fredrick Chopin, but Columbia Pictures felt it was too expensive and it was musical, but luckily Frank came across a two page synopsis entitled 'The Gentleman From Montana' which Frank thought was fantastic and eventually got turned into the classic film 'Mr. Smith Goes To Washington,' about an naïve senator who goes to Washington and immediately thought of the actor Jimmy Stewart, plus all the other actors and of course the rest is history. We find out Frank Capra hated screen tests and preferred to talk to the actors personally and was very instinctual whether that person would be good for the film. When you see Jinny Stewart visiting all the monument buildings in Washington, it was all filmed without a permit and when the guards thought they had gone in one direction, they then quickly rushed in the opposite direction, got everything out of the van quickly, done a quick set up, shot the footage and then went onto another location in Washington and despite the restrictions, Frank Capra, Jr. feels the images you see, turned out superbly and the shot of the Liberty Bell, of course inspired to be named for Frank Capra's Film Company. When the film was eventually shown to all the Washington Senators of the time, they hated it and felt the film was an insult on the integrity and reputation, but of course the public loved the film, but even more insult was to follow when the film was shown to the Senator from Montana and his family, they walked out in disgust. As to the music score, Frank Capra, Jr. informs us that Frank Capra wanted Dimitri Tiomkin, a Russian immigrant, which he also worked on the Frank Capra film 'Lost Horizon.' But the musical score for 'Mr. Smith Goes To Washington' he wanted a 100% Americana flavour. But also very important, we get informed that when we see an actor shed tears, Frank Capra wanted the audience to shed tears. But as we get near to the end of the film, Frank Capra, Jr. reads out a telegram that was sent from a correspondence in France before the Germans in World War II banned American Films, wrote, 'Cheers and accumulation! On the speech by the young senator on man's right and dignity, it was as though the joys, suffering, love, hatred, hopes and wishes of an entire people who value freedom above everything, found expression for the last time.' Which about sums up what I felt about this film, how Frank Capra produced something really superb and honest, that lasts for a generation in bringing joy and happiness for all who view Frank Capra films. But this again is a fantastic audio commentary by the superb Frank Capra, Jr. and makes you even more appreciate Frank Capra's films. By the way I meant to mention earlier, that all interior shots in the film, especially the Senate Chamber and the actual desks, were actually reconstructed in the Columbia Pictures film lot. So to sum up, this is a totally awesome audio commentary and Frank Capra, Jr. informs us of a lot more other interesting facts on the making of 'Mr. Smith Goes To Washington' and get a definite 5 star rating and is a definite must view audio.

Special Feature: Frank Capra, Jr. Remembers . . . 'Mr. Smith Goes To Washington' [1999] [480i] [4:3] [11:50] With the start of this special feature, we get introduced to Frank Capra, Jr. [Producer] and informs us that this film was very ambitious film project, especially for Columbia Pictures, especially as it had a very limited budget. We hear that Frank Capra was attracted to this project because of its political stance and in 1938/39 it was the beginning of World War II, especially in Europe, and the film depicted freedom and democracy, as well as the most important political elements, but Frank Capra felt democracy was being taken away. Frank Capra respected and loved all actors, especially Jean Arthur, who was his favourite and he was the one that discovered her and knew Jean Arthur was going to be a big star. Frank Capra also felt the ending of the film was just right, especially showing the corrupt politician getting their comeuppance, and the film has eventually a happy ending, but there is a price to pay for the outcome. This is a really nice little feature and well worth a view.

Special Feature: Conversation with Frank Capra, Jr.: The Golden Years [2006] [1080i] [16:9] [17:52] Frank Capra, Jr. informs us that people and especially Frank Capra thought that 1939 was the greatest time for movies and especially 'Mr. Smith Goes To Washington,' as well as 'Gone With The Wind' and 'The Wizard of Oz,' despite that at the time there was a depression in America especially. Frank Capra believed in the goodness of people, but he also believed that people could also be lead astray, and also films also show human emotions, that are still viewable today. After 'Mr. Smith Goes To Washington,' his latter films were not so successful, even though they had a lot of comedy and pathos. But Frank Capra is the only director who had a string of hits, compared to other directors of the time. Once again this is a very nice extra, so please give it a view.

Special Feature: Frank Capra: Collaboration [2006] [1080p] [16:9] [19:18] Here we get another intimate view on Frank Capra the director and to start off this special we get the contribution from Richard Peña [Associate Professor of Film at Columbia University] and tells us that Frank Capra and the American Cinema, was a very popular director, whereas the likes of Orson Welles and Chaplin, were also directors, but they also acted in their films. We also get other views from other contributors from the likes of Jeanine Basinger [Curator of the Frank Capra Archives at Wesleyan University]; Kenneth Bowser [Producer/Director] and Frank Capra, Jr. [Producer]. But as the title of this special, is the word 'Collaboration' and you find out there were certain people that Frank Capra liked to have behind his team, and they were Robert Riskin, who shaped Frank Capra view of films, plus Joe Walker, a cameraman who was of the inner circle of Columbia Pictures, but when Joe Walker worked on Frank Capra's first film, Joe Walker did not like what he filmed, because he felt Frank Capra was too opinionated, but when Joe Walker viewed the film, he realised Frank Capra was a brilliant director and knew what he was doing and stayed the course on Frank Capra's roster. We also get informed that Frank Capra was hands on with all the actors that appeared in his films and in turn the actors really love Frank Capra, as he treated the actors with respect and of course as mentioned before, he really loved Jean Arthur as an actress and in turn got the best performance out of her. One really fascinating information we hear about and that is Frank Capra liked to go the Preview screenings and sit at the back of the cinema with a tape recorder and record the whole screening, including the audiences reaction to the film, especially where the laughter was or not or where they were reacting, so that he could make cuts to the film, so it would run smoother when it went on general release. So all in all, this is a fascinating look at Frank Capra and why he became the most popular director of the time and again this is a well worth view.

Special Feature: Conversation with Frank Capra, Jr.: A Family History [2006] [1080i] [16:9] [25:55] Once again Frank Capra, Jr. gives us more personal view on the life and times of his father Frank Capra and that the start of this special we find out his father emigrated to America and he was only six years old in 1903, plus he also had a sister who was younger than him, and a couple of older sisters and an older brother and no one could speak any English, as the family originally came from Sicily in Italy and eventually ended up in California, where they lived with a Community of Italians, until his Father got killed and they lost their home. But when Frank Capra made his first film, he took his Mother to the Premiere, but after the screening Frank asked his Mother what she thought of the film, she said, 'it was okay, but when you going to get a proper job.' But when he was down on his luck, he met this Shakespearian actor, who wanted to make a silent film, but the actor didn't know he was not a director. Anyway the film was made and the Executives loved the film, but sadly it was not a success and came clean and informed the actor he was not a famous director, but he told Frank Capra he knew his secret, despite this they went onto to make about 10 more films. Eventually he got a great break and ended up at Columbia Pictures and it was the start of his prolific career in the movie business, as he learnt all aspects of the film industry. But as Frank Capra, Jr. grew up in the shadow of his Father's career and especially able to visit the film sets, especially for 'It's A Wonderful Life' and the day he viewed the film being shot, it was the hottest day of the year, even though when you view the film, you think it is the height of winter, especially with the heavy snowfall and he thought it was a totally magical experience and his Father gave his some words of wisdom, he says, ' what I produce is magic.' Once again this is another fascinating view pf the life and times of Frank Capra and well worth a view.

Special Feature: The Frank Capra I Knew by Jeanine Basinger [2006] [1080p] [16:9] [13:04] Jeanine Basinger first met Frank Capra in the 1960s and it was at an event at Yale University where Jeanine Basinger was student, and Frank Capra was invited to do a presentation and from then onwards they both became very close and good friends. But at the presentation was also Jean Arthur as a guest, who sadly was very reclusive and not very comfortable with crowds, but when she saw Frank, she was really relaxed and enjoyed the presentation. Because Jeanine Basinger was the Trustee of the American Film Institute and was also on the Committee and also helped to select Frank Capra for a Lifetime Award, and so Frank Capra asked Jeanine Basinger to become his curator of his papers and also became involved in the life and times of Frank Capra and was also up close and personal to all of Frank Capra's family. One fascinating fact is that Frank Capra saved all the correspondence he received and especially from his loyal fans, who he totally appreciated, as without them, his films would not of gained the success they did. When America entered World War II, Frank Capra realised there was no American Administration, so Frank took control, as he thought he was totally ideal for the job and a good job he did, as it would not be as it is today. Jeanine Basinger pulls out all the stops informing us why Frank Capra was such a success and says that he came along in history at the right moment, especially when there was an emerging art form in the film industry, and was on hand for creative storytelling, sensitive entertainment art form, but was very scientific, as well as very technical and grounded in machines and the cutting process and again Frank Capra was the ideal man, especially being around at the right place at the right time to be a star, as he had a very sharp and analytical brain. So all in all Jeanine Basinger is totally delightful and makes you feel that Frank Capra was a totally fascinating intelligent man and someone you felt you would have loved to have been a good friend to know personally, and especially knowing Frank Capra the brilliant filmmaker.

Special Feature-Length Documentary: Frank Capra's American Dream which is Hosted and Narrated by Ron Howard [1997] [1080p] [4:3] [109 minutes] This beloved film artist was driven as much by self-doubt as by his belief in the power of the 'little man.' Documentary focusing on the life and film production of Frank Capra revealing an artist whose arrogant manner won the loyalty of several collaborators, producing films that conveyed an enduring vision of what America aspired to be.

Before the special starts, we get a very prophetic comment from John Cassavetes, when he says, 'Maybe there really wasn't an America, maybe it was only Frank Capra.' From then onwards Ron Howard introduces himself facing the camera and takes centre stage on the awesome career of the artist director Frank Capra. Here we find out the man was quintessential in bringing to the silver screen the 'American Dream,' especially with his hugely successful films between the 1930s and the 1940s, in painting a portrait of America that was decent, honest and willing to stand up and fight for what it believed in. But we also find out that Frank Capra was very brash, cocky and arrogant, but he was equally generous, deeply sentimental, and was racked with self-doubt and for a quarter of a century in his adopted country, was a perfect reflection on each other. But of course Ron Howard does not stand centre stage, as we get other contributions from the likes of Martin Scorsese [Director]; John Milius [Writer/Director]; Robert Altman [Director]; Michael Keaton [Actor]; Richard Dreyfuss [Actor]; Angela Lansbury [Actress]; Garry Marshall [Writer/Director]; Marshall Herskovitz [Director]; Bill Duke [Actor/Director]; Richard Schickel [Film Critic]; Oliver Stone [Writer/Director]; Frank Capra, Jr. [Producer]; Tom Capra [Producer]; Joseph McBride [Frank Capra Biographer]; Bob Thomas [Harry Cohn Biographer]; Allen Daviau [Cinematographer]; Jeanine Basinger [Curator of Capra Archives, Wesleyan University]; Andre De Toth [Director]; Edward Bernds [Sound Technician/Director]; Peter Falk [Actor]; Fay Ray [Actress]; Amy Heckerling [Writer/Director]; Edward Zwick [Director]; Arthur Hiller [Director] and Jayne Wyatt [Actress]. With all these contributors with this special documentary, they tell us why they loved Frank Capra the director.

As we delve deeper into the life and times of Frank Capra, we find out that in his early days he was determined to get a proper education, plus he did loads of part time jobs to make money and that way he met characters on his journey into life, that were eventually portrayed in his films, that also helped to determine his career in the movie business. But with a stroke of luck met someone that kicked start his career as a director, where he also learned all aspect of how the film industry worked and especially editing film, that eventually helped him get a job with Columbia Pictures., where it brought him a glittering career and deservedly won him several Academy Awards® but some of films were not a success and he used to get very depressed. But after a lean period, he started to get greater fame in films that the American public loved, especially in directing 'Mr. Smith Goes To Washington' but after this film he felt it was time to move on and went into partnership with directors George Stevens and William Weiller and created a new company entitled 'Liberty Films' and their first project was 'It's A Wonderful Life,' which was started in May 1946, and of course was a critical success and won Five Academy Awards® but despite these plaudits, it was not a financial success with the public at large, and faded away, but of course it gained cult classic success over many years it was broadcast on American Television, especially every year at Christmas time. But despite this, his fortunes went into decline and went out of favour with the general public and even more humiliation had to sell 'Liberty Films' to Paramount Pictures, but at the same time he was accused of being a communist sympathiser, but was never charged. But eventually he got signed up with Paramount Pictures as a contract director and his first film was 'Riding High' which was followed by 'Here Comes The Groom.' Eventually Frank Capra was exhausted, especially with World War II and losing 'Liberty Films' decided to take some time off and to become a gentleman farmer, bit over time got bored and eventually found a job at NBC Television and worked on a TV programme entitled 'MEMO ' The Magnificent' which was a cartoon series about the Bell Telephone system, as he loved educating people. But eventually made his way back to directing films and his first venture was 'A Hole In The Head' starring Frank Sinatra, but felt frustrated and tried once again to make a success in films, and did a modern remake of his original 'Lady For A day' which was entitled 'Pocketful of Miracles' and a really terrible experience, that was produced by Glenn Ford, who totally interfered in the making of the film, which in turned negative for him and got very depressed and eventually turned his back on the film industry he so loved and turned to become an author and produced his autobiography entitled 'Frank Capra ' The Name Above The Title,' which in turn made him even more popular with the public and was invited to all the Universities in the United States of America and the best thing to ever happen to him, as the students loved his films and wanted to hear all about his experiences in directing films. But despite his renewed success, he sadly passed away in his sleep on the 3rd September, 1991 at the age of 94 and was buried next to his wife Lou in California. So to sum up, this is a totally fascinating and insightful special documentary and especially hearing all about the life and times of Frank Capra, who was a very intelligent and fascinating person and can sum up that this is a very professional uplifting produced documentary and a definite watch and gests a 5 star rating from me.

Theatrical Trailer [1939] [480i] [4:3] [1:42] With this particular trailer, you get an endorsement by the World Famous Commentator H.V. Kallenborn, who of course appears in the film when Mr. Smith does his filibuster in the Senate.

International Trailer [1939] [480i] [4:3] [3:55] This International Textless Trailer, includes rare footage that is not in the final release version, including that of Jefferson Smith in a parade in his hometown.

Finally, any serious collector or person that claims themselves as a 'film buff' should have this film in their Blu-ray collection. There's an absolute treasure trove and abundance of extras that chronicle the production of the film and life and career of its director. SONY has taken good care and presented absolute perfection in restoring this with and incredible presentation in both video and audio. It's somewhat a relief to see a classic film like is getting the treatment it deserves. SONY, who should be applauded and has outdone themselves and produced one of THE BEST Blu-ray releases of the 21st Century. Highly Recommended!

Andrew C. Miller ' Your Ultimate No.1 Film Fan
Le Cinema Paradiso
WARE, United Kingdom
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Mr.Smith Goes to Washington(released Oct/39)stars,among others,Jean Arthur,James Stewart,Claude Rains and Edward Arnold.Nominated for an outstanding 11 times,it only won one OSCAR in the writing category.1939 was a great year for film making,so it is not too hard to imagine why it did not win more.
The story finds Stewart/Smith as a down home boy who finds himself suddenly taking over the senate seat in his state,after its occupant decides to kick the bucket.Soft spoken,but as honest as Abe Lincoln,Stewart meekly and humbly accepts the position.Unbeknownst to him,the people behind the appointment are a group of corrupt and hardened politicians led by Arnold.One of the members of the group is Rains who also has been kept a Senate seat in order to push through graft after graft.Rains was a former friend of Stewarts father and Stewart has very high regard for him.
Once in Washington Stewart is given a secretary(Arthur)who soon learns that this naive young man is in for the ride of his life,in the rough and tumble political world there.Stewart is awestruck at the look and feel of Washington,with its' innumerable monuments to politicians long gone and to the hallowed words written there.Back in his office Stewart is chomping at the bit to get going but doesn't know where the gas pedal is.He consults his friend Rains,who suggests he introduce Stewarts idea as a bill,to start up a boys camp in his state.With Arthur's help this is exactly what he does,even though Arthur warns him of the numerous hurtles he will encounter.
When the corrupt bunch of politicos find out that the camp Stewart wants to create lies smack dab on the property that they have been planning to build a dam on,they jump into action.Rains is reluctantly pressured to come down hard by Arnold,who starts a vigourous smear campaign back home against Stewart.
Meanwhile Stewart has started to get an awful taste of how things really work,and he doesn't like it,nor does he know what to do.When his good friend Rains stands up in Congress and tells the floor that Smith is corrupt and should be removed from office,it's a gut wrenching blow.Arthur has temporarily fled Washington and quit her job.She decides to come back and help the lug get his ideals and kahonies back.Stewart decides to stand and fight for what he knows is right.He starts a filibuster in the Senate and for 24 hours tries to tell everyone present exactly what has been going on.Near the end Stewart briefly succumbs to a fainting spell,from exhaustion. Rains re enters the chambers and is allowed to bring in sacks full of letters from supposedly outraged voters in the state.Stewart knows they're all lies,and when he comes to he approaches Rains calmly and appeals to his decency one more time,his voice almost gone.Rains leaves the floor temporarily and a shot rings out soon after.Rains tried to shoot himself but was stopped.He re enters the floor and finally tells the truth to everyone,that it should be him shunned,not Stewart.That is where the film ends.That's one for the good guy.
This is the part that has always got me about the film.It ends too abruptly,as if someone in the editing room suddenly decided that it was time to go for lunch,and hurriedly snipped the frames together as is and left.There are two ways of looking at it,I suppose.One,is that the film continues on and shows a triumphant return of Stewart to his hometown and his proposal of marriage to Arthur,or two,leave them wanting more.Capra,et al,chose the latter.I'm sorry,but I have always thought the film screamed for more.
This film also has a cast of supporting players the likes of which you rarely see together,folks like HB Warner,Guy Kibbee,Thomas Mitchell,Eugene Pallette,Beulah Bondi,Ruth Donnelly,William Demerest,Jack Carson and many,many more.The film was made before the opening of WW2 and the sentiments it speaks of such as life,liberty and freedom of speech,was a kind of shout out to the world at large.So when WW2 broke out about a month before its release,it was ever the more meaningful.
Technically speaking this print is in its original a/r and I must say it needs a clean up.The opening credits tells us the film was restored by the Library of Congress,along with the help of other film institutions.That is all well and good if the film looked like it had been restored to a more acceptable level.The first reel is the most affected,with film deterioration and other defects front and center.Extras include commentary and an interview with Frank Capra Jr.,an advert gallery and the original trailer.Speaking of the latter,you will notice a parade sequence in there that isn't in the film.I can't help but speculate whether that was filmed as part of another ending,maybe Stewart's hometown return,as I would have preferred to have seen? Just wondering.
All in all this film still packs a major punch as a political noob goes up against the staid and corrupt state and Washington politics.Stewart does a bang up job and is ably supported all around by a great cast.But that ending.......
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on May 10, 2004
Frank Capra captures the heart of american patriotism without ever becoming preachy. Mr. Smith is equal parts civics lesson, romance, tense drama and at its heart: the perfect fish out of water comedy.
Jimmy Stewart is fantastic as Jefferson Smith an honorory senator who accidentally stumbles on corruption. Stellar performances were turned in by Jean Arthur, Claude Raines, Edward Arnold and Thomas Mitchell, but it is Stewart who dominates this film.
The phrase Capraesque gets bandied about with too much regularity these days when describing recent films. I would strongly reccomend Mr. Sith goes to Washington as Capra at his most Capraesque.
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on July 7, 2015
I have always loved this movie! This special 75th anniversary blue ray edition is very fine! It contains a commentary from Frank Capra Jr and three documentaries on the filming process, family issues and the "The Golden Years" about the amazing history of this talented and yet humble American film maker-Frank Capra Sr. There is also a feature-length documentary hosted by Ron Howard. This documentary is excellent giving a wonderful overview of Capra's film career and the pictures that we all remember! Jimmy Stewart and Jean Arthur are incredible together, and this is one of the reasons why this classic Hollywood couple, together they are so enjoyable. I hope that you enjoy this Blue Ray, again and again..I've come back to it a few times to catch all of the special features in this 75th anniversary edition!
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on December 15, 2003
My first inclination was to complain that this DVD is like way overpriced and has not come down in price in some time. Yes, it is a truly great movie, and the DVD has some extra goodies, but there is no reason why it still should be way over $20 in price. That being said, there are few films that might be worth it and this is one of them. It still captures the essence of what being an American is--or what it should be. The lone man voicing his ideas against the machine, reminding us of what sanity is, of what priorities should be. At no time in American history is such a voice needed more than now: we want to send nearly $100 Billion to our enemy while people here will starve today. If that isn't the "Taylor machine" I don't know what is. This film speaks to the real war on terror--the grip that power and greed have on this country at any given time. In movies, especially Frank Capra movies, it all comes out ok in the end, even though many of his films have a suicidal crisis in them at some point. Meet John Doe, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, It's a Wonderful Life, and Mr. Smith all have a suicide that nearly happens. Why would that be,in the films of Frank Capra, considered the "feel good" director of all time? Because at some point life can become not worth living when all of its better values have been perverted, when it seems hopeless and that there is no way out of the madness,when one cannot bear all the tension and contradiction.(Gee, sorry for such a downer review). It might have something to do with the fact that the country was in the "Great Depression", economically and psychologically in the group sense, and that things really were pretty bleak. In Capra films, the response to despair is hope (that the badness will relent) and kindness (the kindness of others towards the unfortunate). And maybe that is the answer for our time as well. Where will we find it? Anyway, all this malarkey aside, Mr. Smith is a great movie, full of laughs, drama, and telling satire, a landmark performance by Jimmy Stewart, and well supported by a great cast all around--Claude Rains, Thomas Mitchell, Jean Arthur, Harry Carey, Edward Arnold. One of the most enjoyable films you will ever see and worth the high price you will pay for the DVD. And now, my filibuster ends.
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on October 26, 2003
Amazingly, I only just rented this movie and saw it for the first time this week, and I was pleased to see how well this legendary Frank Capra and Jimmy Stewart classic had held up. Stewart won the Academy award for best actor in 1939 for his performance as the idealistic young senator from Montana who triumphs against dirty politics and overwhelming odds--including the collusion and corruption of those who he admired and thought to be his friends--such as his fellow Senator Paine, played by the great Claude Rains. I was equally impressed by Rains's part, and his dramatic reversal of his position toward Stewart at the very end and confession in the Senate chamber about his cooperating with the corrupt Taylor political machine has to be one of the most moving, climatic scenes in cinema--except that Stewart had just passed out from exhaustion after his marathon filibuster--so he didn't get a chance to witness it himself.
I was discussing the movie with someone who knows more about film than I do, and they said that the movie showed what tremendous range Stewart had, from joy to despair, from energetic exhuberance to exhaustion, and from his initial naive idealism about Washington to his quickly wising up about the realities of politics. They said Stewart really never had a chance to show as great a range of emotion during much of the rest of his career, since he was often cast in light-hearted and humorous roles after that. I thought this was an interesting comment about one of America's most famous and loved actors, as his part in Rear Window was certainly a very serious role, but again, I'm not an expert on film history so I offer this comment for what it's worth.
Overall, still a great classic that has stood the test of time, and a must see for fans of old movies, especially Jimmy Stewart, Claude Rains, and Frank Capra fans. And I can't forget to mention the rest of the supporting cast--Jean Arthur, Thomas Mitchell, Edward Arnold, and Guy Kibbee--are also superb.
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on July 21, 2003
I've lived in Washington, DC for about 8 years now. You can't avoid the political headlines here if you wanted to. You kind of pick these things up.
So I decided to rent "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington." I'd heard all the hype about what a great patriotic movie it was; about how it shows what it means to be a great American; about how proud it makes the viewer to live in such a wonderful democracy.
I finished the movie rather disillusioned. It's difficult to explain why without giving away the ending, but I'll try:
Jefferson Smith is tapped to fill the seat of a US Senator from some unnamed state after the elected senator dies. We're clearly shown from the beginning that he's not meant to be there as a man of principle; he's there to be a pawn of the other Senator from that state (Sen. Paine), and Sen. Paine cares about nothing but padding the pockets of one VERY powerful, rich, and influential private citizen (James Taylor).
When Sen. Smith's one pet project threatens to run headlong into Mr. Taylor's plans to make money, however, Sen. Smith finds himself firmly in the cross-hairs not only of Mr. Taylor, but also of Sen. Paine (who will do anything -- and I do mean anything) to maintain his corrupt dealings in the Congress of the United States.
So what disheartened me is, frankly, the way the movie ended. DON'T READ ANY FURTHER IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN THE MOVIE. Sen. Smith's battle is hard-fought, and yes, you feel like he's the hero for standing up for the principles of democracy, etc. etc.... But he's fighting a losing battle. Were it not for that strange change-of-heart in (literally) the final minute of the movie, Sen. Smith WOULD have lost, and the Fat Cats would have won. And, frankly, I can't imagine that that last-minute change-of-heart would ever actually occur in any modern political climate.
So yes, this movie is about democracy, but not the way I thought. The movie instead comes perilously close to sending a message that the laws in this country are actually passed by rich, powerful men who have only their own personal interests in mind and not those of the Common Man. It highlights the seedy underbelly of the way the laws of this country are passed.
I didn't walk away from this movie proud of the way the Framers intended the U.S. Senate to work. I came away from this movie thinking that it was just too close to reality, where special interests dominate the lawmaking process and the little guy who stands up for truth and righteousness gets run over by the unstoppable political machine.
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