Essay on Frank Capra’s Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

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      Frank Capra’s “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington”

In Frank Capra’s 1939 people’s fable “Mr. Smith goes to Washington “Jefferson Smith, a young, idealistic, and naïve hero from a Midwestern state is thrust into public notoriety through a chance course of events. His journey will compel him to contemplate the veracity of the political foundation which supports American democracy and confront the corruption which seeks to erode it.
Smith, leader of the Boy Rangers, an organization closely based on the Boy Scouts of America, becomes a state hero after “single-handedly” putting out a forest fire. Like a fabled hero, his statewide popularity burgeons, particularly amongst his state’s youth. When an unexpected
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In so doing, Smith stumbles into the movie’s central struggle. While directly Capra’s film powerfully illustrates Smith’s own intense confrontation with a seemingly omnipotent political machine; his ultimate victory is a condemnation of all industrial greed as well as a reaffirmation of the power of the citizen to make an impact in a government that through all its shortcomings is still democracy.
     Capra’s film is dramatically enhanced by its patriotic representation of our National’s capitol, with particular emphasis on the splendor of the Capitol and strength of the Lincoln Memorial. These images are constant visual reminders of the freedom and strength of personal choice provided by our government. The film’s score composed of traditional renditions of patriotic melodies including “Yankee Doodle” and ” Auld Lang Syne” only reinforces these sentiments. Capra’s most dramatic use of setting is the reconstruction of the Senate chamber, the site for the film’s most climactic and inspiring scene. Unwilling to allow the Senate to vote on his expulsion and empowered with the goal of uncovering the Willet Dam Project as fraud, Smith skillfully filibusters the Senate in hopes that his state’s populace will come to his support. Despite Taylor’s ruthless propaganda, Smith’s
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