One of my favorite movies to come out during the golden age of 1939, has definitely got to be Frank Capra’s finest, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. Having seen this movie recently, I realized that the timing can’t be any more perfect, for incidents of corruption in our government have been numerous recently(Blagojevich, Stevens, etc). Mr. Smith Goes to Washington scared the crap out of many people, because of it’s depiction of a government that could easily be influenced by corrupt politicians who are in positions of great power. In fact, this depiction scares the hell out of me, as for it shows how fragile democracy is and the results if the power of democracy is abused.
The death of a Senator Sam Foley has governor Hubert Hopper (Guy Kibbee)looking for a new Senator. Unfortunately, his corrupt political boss, Jim Taylor (Edward Arnold), wants him to choose a handpicked stooge while the public wants him to choose a reformer. When he finally makes a decision, he decides to choose Jefferson Smith (James Stewart), a naive and inexperienced Senator, who has the ideas of a true reformer. It is through his experience as a Senator, where he discovers the corruption of the government.
What makes Mr. Smith Goes to Washington such a great movie, is the fact that it accurately depicts corruption in Washington. It also portrays the senate as human beings rather than perfect beings, which really is something that series and films like The Bourne Series, State of Play, and many other political thrillers and dramas would take inspiration from.
For those who are interested in politics, this is a film that you must watch. What makes this such an appropriate film, is the fact that many politicians have been discovered to be involved with corruption. Let this film remind us how fragile democracy is.