Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. Columbia Pictures 1939.

Before watching the movie:

So, the underdog political fable. The everyday guy who comes to Congress and fixes corruption with dogged determination and fillibustering. What’s sad is that it seemed plausible then, but not anymore, and the fillibuster it hinges on is now a tool of the kind of problems this movie wants to fix.

That’s the reputation, anyway. The changed political landscape is why I’m not sure I’ll get out of this movie what was intended. Continue reading

The Greatest Show on Earth

The Greatest Show on Earth. Paramount Pictures 1952.

Before watching the movie:

Much like State Fair, I get the idea this is is a movie that’s more about taking the audience to an event than actually telling a story. In this case, bringing the circus to an audience that doesn’t have a circus in town right now. I thought this was a musical, but it doesn’t appear to be. It is a Cecil B. DeMille epic however, and it makes perfect sense to pair a circus with a director known for massive crowds and setpieces. I’m not really sure a story about a circus can really be an “epic” in any sense but the spectacle and runtime though.

Continue reading

The Philadelphia Story

The Philadelphia Story. Loew's Productions 1940.
The Philadelphia Story. Loew’s Productions 1940.

Before watching the movie:

This is one I thought I’d get to for years and never did, until now. I had access to it for a long time, and then I moved away from it. But now I can see it again, so I am.

I have the impression this is a screwball comedy, but I may be reading too much into it from its superficial similarity to His Girl Friday via the married couple and ex-husband dynamic and the fact that it shares one third of the same stars. Certainly it has more to do with that movie than with Philadelphia. Continue reading