Most people have heard of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939), about a naïve Senator who ends up taking on the establishment. It’s one of AMC’s Top 100 films. It stars Jimmy Stewart and Jean Arthur.
It was not popular with the political establishment crowd when it first came out:
“The wonderfully-acted, absorbing and human film was popular at the box-office and critically successful too. However, the film caused some controversy and pressure was brought to bear to hinder its release (two months after the outbreak of WWII in Europe), due to the fact that Capra’s film was propagandistic, depicted political corruption, and appeared to paint an anti-democratic picture of the US government and its inner workings. But the film also called for faith in traditional American values of patriotism and faith in the people, and provided an educational lesson in how bills are passed through Congress.”
A little-known film, not as well acted as Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, and with no major stars, has a wonderful scene that sums up the importance of citizenship, electoral participation, and overturning political corruption.
I couldn’t sleep one evening. I was up around 3:30 AM. I turned on TV, and A Stranger in Town was on. I had never heard of the film. Since watching it, I have added it to my list of must-see films. The closing courtroom scene is a great summary of why political participation is so important…