in about 100 words or less
US 129m, B&W
Director: Frank Capra; Cast: James Stewart, Jean Arthur, Claude Rains, Edward Arnold
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington is the story of Jefferson Smith, a would-be pawn of the American political system. After being appointed a Senator and sent to Washington by corrupt politicians and their supporters, the wide-eyed and passionately patriotic Mr. Smith deduces why he was given the job and sets out to expose the dirty politics that gave him his seat in the Senate. A hugely melodramatic film, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington seems more contrived and less genuine than Capra’s other films. Arguably, it also seems little more than re-make of Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936), which is a more entertaining and likable film (Klaus Ming January 2013).
I entirely agree with you. James Stewart can single handedly save any movie, but this is too much of a remake to work for me and the resolution requiring a Deux ex Machina is quite depressing.
I recall reading somewhere that Mr. Smith was the role that solidified Stewart’s standing in the movies. Though the role is certainly more dramatic than Mr. Deeds, I prefer his more comedic characters.