‘Mr. Smith Goes to Washington’ – 2016 Morality Play

On this rainy 4th of July, I am enjoying watching Frank Capra’s 1939 classic, “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” on TCM.


This story of patriotism warring against greed and avarice is so appropriate on this Independence Day. An unknown is plucked from obscurity to fill the term of a Senator who has died in office.
Full of optimism, Jeff Smith, played brilliantly by Jimmy Stewart, arrives in Washington DC to run smack into the reality that the august body of government is filled by corrupt politicians. The story tells of how he flails against the tentacles of special interest which have ensnared the lawmakers in a web of money and power to the detriment of “we, the people.
This cinematic masterpiece appears to depict the genesis which has given rise to the current 2016 election season.
Nearly 80 years later, the voters are angry and lashing out at special interests controlling Washington and the Establishment which perpetuate the entanglements of money with the seat of government.
What was true in 1939’s fictional account gives insight into the diehard support and why so many are still “feeling the Bern.” We see why Bernie Sanders has yet to concede.
The angst of 1939 is alive in the hearts of 2016 voters who have propelled Donald Trump to be the presumptive Republican presidential nominee. Those who have seen the movie may want to put it on the list for summer viewing again before this fall’s election.
Those who have never seen this classic may do well to watch it. Yes, I know being in black and white the appeal to Millenials may be limited, but would be worth their time to watch and learn.
My recommendation would be 5 out of 5 cornstalks.

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