It's Election Day in the U.S., and we could all use an infusion of American ideals. So we're sitting down for Nakea's first viewing of Frank Capra's Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939).

Mirroring the film, our conversation becomes a battle between cynicism and idealism, as our viewing of Capra's classic inspires a passionate, angry, funny, sad, and meandering conversation about the goods and evil of our political system, and the question of whether American democracy is just one of those lost causes Jimmy Stewart talks about.

Go vote!


0:00: Prologue: from Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
01:37: Cultural Osmosis: Pre-Viewing Discussion
18:11: Interlude: International Trailer for Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
19:44: The Verdict: Post-Viewing Discussion
1:00:46: Outro and Next Week's Movie

Notes and Links

—Movie Reviewed: Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (dir. Frank Capra, Columbia, 1939).
—Articles Mentioned and Resources: "It Wasn't Such a Wonderful Life," Barry Gewan, New York Times; "Power Player: How 'Mr Smith Goes to Washington' Became the Standard By Which We Measure Political Newcomers," Liza Mundy, Washington Post.
—Read The Unenthusiastic Critic in prose form at
Email us, or follow us on Twitter and Facebook. (Suggestions of movies to watch for future episodes are very welcome.)
—"Warm Duck Shuffle" by Arne Huseby is licensed under CC BY 3.0.

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2 thoughts on “MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON (1939)”

  1. Good points about deus ex machina saving the hero literally in "It's a Wonderful Life" and figuratively
    in "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington".

    And, yes, the scene of Mr. Smith punching reporters is very problematic today.

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