Fellow Film Club Members and Movie Buffs:

September has slipped away warmly, with most of the leaves holding back their luscious colors until the Indian Summer has waned. It does get darker earlier, though, so why not take in a movie? The Tacoma Film Club is proud to be screening the classic Frank Capra movie, MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON (1939), this Friday, October 5, 2012.

Frank Capra lived to be 94, and he directed 54 films from 1922-1964. single-handedly saving Columbia Studios in the 30’s. Some of his films included PLATINUM BLONDE (1931), THE BITTER TEA OF GENERAL YEN (1933), IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT (1934), MR. DEEDS GOES TO TOWN (1936), LOST HORIZON (1937), ARSENIC AND OLD LACE (1944), IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE (1946), and HOLE IN THE HEAD (1959). 

Frank Capra said, “Film is a disease, and it infects the blood stream, taking over in the body as the #one hormone, bossing the enzymes, directing the pineal gland, playing Iago to the psyche–and as with heroin, the only antidote to film is more film.”

The cinematographer for the film was Joseph Walker. This was Capra’s favorite director, and he used him on ten films. Walker was a seasoned studio director, and he lensed 145 films from 1919-1952; about 80 of them were silent features. Some of his better known films included THEODORA GOES WILD (1930), ONLY ANGELS HAVE WINGS (1937), HIS GIRL FRIDAY (1940), PENNY SERENADE (1941), HERE COMES MR. JORDAN (19410, MY SISTER EILEEN (1942), THE JOLSON STORY (1946), and BORN YESTERDAY (1950). 

The films musical score was someone who went on to become on the most famous of film music composers, Dimitri Tiomkin.


Directed by Frank Capra @ 129 minutes.

The film stars James Stewart, Jean Arthur, Claude Rains, Edward Arnold, Thomas Mitchell, Guy Kibbee, Eugene Pallette, Beulah Bondhi, H.B. Warner, and Harry Carey.

Synopsis: A naive man, a scout leader, as a lark, is appointed to fill a vacancy in the U.S. Senate. His plans and efforts are quickly blindsided by political corruption and machinations, but he refuses to back down–staging a dramatic filibuster on the floor of the Senate that ended in his exhaustion, but finally got the attention of the public and fellow senators; a wonderful morality tale.

Tagline: Capra’s greatest hit–the screen at its most inspire

This film was nominated for 11 Oscars, including Best Picture, Director, Actor, & Supporting Actor. It won 1 award for Best Writing, Original Story. 

Trivia:  Originally this film was developed for Ralph Bellamy, but when Capra took over the production, it was going to be called MR. DEEDS GOES TO WASHINGTON, and it was going to star Gary Cooper. Jean Arthur did not get along well with James Stewart, and some felt she was miffed her old pal and co-star Gary Cooper was too busy to make the picture. The Senate chamber was replicated, full scale, in precise detail at Columbia Studio; the largest set they ever built. The movie was thoroughly denounced by Washington insiders who were angry at its allegations of corruption, yet also banned by several Fascist states in Europe who were afraid it showed that democracy worked.

The U.S. Ambassador to England, Joseph Kennedy, officially requested that the film not be shown in Europe at all, because he feared it would “damage America’s prestige in Europe.”  The original cut of the film was longer, and in it Mr. Smith went home to a parade in his honor, and found time on the way to stop by and forgive Senator Paine; but preview audiences did not like the ending.

The film was ranked as #5 on the AFI’s list of 100 Most Inspiring Movies, and #36 on AFI’s list of the 100 Greatest Movies of All Time.

So, folks, mark your calendars for this Friday, October 5, 2012, and join the TFC for the screening of this classic, MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON (1939). We will be showing it at 924 Broadway, in the historic Pythian Temple, street level, across from the Theater on the Square, in the heart of the Tacoma Theater District. Look for our large club banner over the front door. The door opens at 6:15 p.m. Come early and enjoy the fellowship. Those who wish may bring snacks or beverages, including wine, to share with others; those go on the table with the Donation Box on it. We welcome donations to help with the costs of renting the space. After a few announcements, the movie will screen at 7:15 p.m. It runs 129 minutes, so it should be over by 9:40 p.m. See you at the movies!


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