Essay about Film Review: Frank Capra’s Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

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In Frank Capra’s Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, a naïve Jefferson Smith sets off for Washington D.C. as a United States Senator, where he learns that politics is not as transparent as it may seem. Released in 1939, one of the most successful years for film, Mr. Smith became a smash hit, easily becoming the second largest blockbuster of that year. However, 1939 was also the year World War II had started, and coupled with the war’s association with the Great Depression, the hit film was bound to cause conflict and controversy among the viewing public, which included global audiences. With post-Depression America seeking realism and optimism and the events that would eventually lead to World War II, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington culminates…show more content…
Mr. Smith’s story proves that in the end, democracy and goodwill will prevail. The years surrounding the Great Depression and World War II were neither pleasant domestically nor internationally. During the Great Depression, businesses and industries fell rapidly, people became unemployed, and chaos ensued in trying to pick the global economy back up. Like every other industry, the movie industry, albeit a few years later than others, suffered a massive dip. Despite the conditions, however, many Americans still went to see movies, averaging around 60 to 80 million patrons every week. During this time, movies were not necessarily a means of escaping real world problems despite the fact that they did help to keep morale stable. Instead, movies that were produced in this era could be seen more as following a trend of realism, as we saw a rise in criminal, gangster, and scandal movies (Hollywood). As President Franklin D. Roosevelt introduced his New Deal, changes were beginning to happen. Movies shifted to a more happy and optimistic vibe. Gangster and sex movies transitioned to stories of love and heroism. Movies were now an actual means of escaping the real world. In April 1939, which was the month of release for Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, the world was just five months away from entering the Second World War. America

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