It is my pleasure to host Friday evening’s Battelle Film Club showing.
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington with a special big-screen screening of Frank Capra’s 1939 classic Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. James Stewart is Jefferson Smith, a youth leader appointed by corrupt politicians to finish a term in the U.S. Senate.
What makes one of Capra’s best dissections of Americana so appealing is his unique ability to wrap a great story and just the right amount of humor and whimsy around such a boring topic. An uncanny ability to get just the right cast didn’t hurt either.
This is one of Stewart’s finest performances and the one he used as the model for It’s a Wonderful Life’s George Bailey almost a decade later. Stewart also gets terrific help from co-stars Jean Arthur and Claude Rains.
Whether on purpose or serendipitous, it’s a lot of fun to catch a bygone era’s take on politics so close to the most interesting presidential election in eons.
Mr. Movie rating: 5 stars
Not rated, probably PG. It plays Friday only at the Battelle Auditorium at 8 p.m.
5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on video.
2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.