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James Stewart, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)

One of America’s all-time favourite films, “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” tells the story of a young politician who becomes a senator in the corrupt US Senate. The film, directed by Frank Capra, is quite often seen on television on Christmastime, even if it is a critical view against the American politics and its politicians. The naive future senator is played by James Stewart (in one of his greatest screen performances), and the cast also includes the lovely Jean Arthur, in the role of a journalist who helps Jefferson Smith to win the battle against the political “dinosaurs”, and Claude Rains, in an equally memorable role of the old senator Joseph Paine. There is a remarkable and outstanding sequence in which Smith, holding in his hands the Constitution of the United States, pleads for his innocence in a fake case of corruption for which he is considered guilty in order to lose his place in the Senate. James Stewart is trully unforgettable, and so is Frank Capra’s direction. “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” was one of the top films of 1939, which was recently considered Hollywood’s greatest year. It got an Oscar for Best Writing, Original Story, and other 8 nominations, for Best Picture, Best Actor in a Leading Role, Best Actor in a Supporting Role (twice), Best Director, Best Writing, Screenplay, Best Art Direction, Best Sound, Recording, Best Film Editing, and Best Music, Scoring. Even if it couldn’t compete at the Academy Awards with his colossal rival, “Gone With The Wind”, “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” is one of the best films in the history of Hollywood, and is still watched on television and remembered with great joy by the American people and also by the moviegoers around the world.

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