Saturday, April 15, 2017

A to Z Challenge - M is for Maybe the Senate is Corrupt?

A to Z Challenge of Academy Award Best Picture nominees and winners at the half-way point with letter M and the quintessential Frank Capra classic, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.  Staring James Stewart, Jean Arthur and Claude Rains, you can't get more American than this film.  Besides being considered one of the best films ever made, it was part of the epic 1939 ten, but more on that later.

The film starts with the need to replace a US Senator in a western state.  After a fight between those who want the corrupt candidate and those who want the muckraker, Jefferson Smith played by James Stewart, is chosen who is a boy scout type leader.  And as you can guess he is out of his element in Washington DC and is considered a bumpkin.  The senior senator played by Claude Rains is corrupt and starts to manipulate Jefferson Smith and tries to have him thrown out of the senate.  This leads up to an epic filibuster with James Stewart going on for twenty four hours and collapsing in the end.  It's one of those well known scenes in Hollywood history.

Then again, maybe I'm too much of a movie buff.  A few months back I was talking with a few project managers.  A meeting was coming up where we had to make a decision on purchasing new equipment for an upgrade.  Many of the people on the committee were not "tech savvy" to be polite about it.  There was a risk of a certain brand of equipment that could be chosen that would be too small for our organization and would end up being a waste of money.  But there were people who would be making the decision based on that they thought the equipment was cute.

I told the main project manager and another one sitting near by that I will go into the meeting like Jimmy Stewart with telegraphs in my hands and filibuster like Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.  I got back blank looks.  I repeated with you know, the movie Mr. Smith Goes to Washington?  Both had never seen it, one at least admitted that they had heard of it, the other person had no idea.  I didn't get too frantic.  No, wait, I did.

I explained that this is one of the most iconic movies ever made, an American classic and it was one of the ten nominated in 1939.  The greatest year in Academy Award history.  Again blank stares.  I gave up at this point.  On a side note, I didn't have to talk until I collapsed and the right equipment was chosen upon.

Getting back to 1939, film historians have mentioned that this was a year where the ten films nominated for Best Picture were all worthy of winning the Oscar. Think about that.  There are years where none of the films are worthy, or a few of them could have won.  Besides Mr. Smith Goes To Washington was Gone with the Wind, which won, Dark Victory, Goodby, Mr. Chips, Love Affair, Ninotchka, Of Mice and Men, Stagecoach, The Wizard of Oz, and Wuthering Heights.  All of them are incredible films.

So a movie that almost eighty years later still rings true, that is a classic and a movie worth seeing.


  1. Lots of great classics from 1939 that you listed. You picked an interesting theme for this month. Hope you are having a relaxing weekend!

    Ann, A to Z Challenge Participant
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  2. Love, love, love this movie! My favourite actor is James Stewart and this is one of his powerhouse performances. It's a shame most don't know this film and so many others. In Some ways technology has left these great films behind because when we were young, they were on the TV and there were only a few channels so we watched it. There was no internet, no DVD, video or even cable so we just watched what they had on. Oh well, it's still wonderful to see again.