Mr Smith Goes to Washington

Mr Smith Goes to Washington

James Stewart is something of a revelation in this film, his transparent persona ideally suited to Frank Capra’s undying idealism. Whereas It’s a Wonderful Life had its noirish horror of Pottersville always lurking and never resolved, Stewart’s performance here resonates all the more forcefully for the knowingness that Mr Smith Goes to Washington is a work of fiction. As a duo, Capra and Stewart are a focal point for necessary delusion as they try oh so hard to create a world in which the horrors of capitalism and the failings of democracy might be undone by the good individual. Despite, or rather because of this, it is an irresistibly involving, beautiful fantasy.