Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
Produced by Frank Capra, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington is one of the greatest comedy-dramas. With James Stewart as the leading character in the film, it’s one of the funniest political satires with a power of transformation picture portrayed. The paint becomes more evident with the inclusion of co-star Jean Urthur taking the role of a pessimistic secretary, who was also an actor in the famous Capra's You Can't Take It With You (1938). Evident in his character, Stewart represents the influential forces of American morality, freedom and oppression. In the film he comes out as an idealistic but naive fledgling politician. He is sent to Washington as a junior senator from one of the state and in turn becomes of age growing his wisdom and perpetual knowledge fighting corruption within his state and becomes a hero in the frustrating political scene.
With a horde of lessons to learn from, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington is weighing balance on the political corruption exhibited in the American Political Scenery. Firstly, we meet junior senator Smith who is against all odds willing to pay the price for the right against the wrong. After bringing up the bill for the authorization of the federal government for a loan to purchase some land for the boy’s national camp to be in turn be paid by the teenagers in America, he receives a stub in the back. Paine through the existing machine in his state indicts Smith of trying to fraud the people claiming Smith is the owner of the said land and he is out to profit himself in the process. He is utterly shocked and decides to run away.
This clearly shows the betrayal in the system and acts as a lesson to all not to trust anyone. Still on Smith’s case, he does not give up until he proves his point. To the end of the film, the senators start to pay attention to him. The president of the senate shows recognition to his efforts. Vowing to press until people have confidence in him, he comes out triumphantly when Paine loudly admits of his involvement in the whole scheme, and finally affirms Smith’s innocence. A sure lesson learnt is the will of the upright even though delayed, always prevails.
In the films plot, Mr. Taylor is a corrupt politician who is out to enrich his real estate holdings and profits. He is as corrupt as to source funds from the public kitty. He was well aware that the passage of Mr. Smith’s bill into law will surely obligate the government to build a camp at willet creek for the young boys and not doing so would have warranted an investigation that would reveal their corrupt deals. He and Senator Paine had plotted on to sell the land back to the state at a huge profit. Under phony names they would fraud the state of huge sums of money. “Now it's my judgment, the smartest thing for us to do is to push this dam through just the way it's going and get it over with”, Taylor said.
Joseph Paine the Senator, as it appears has dual personality as evidence would conclude. Firstly, he is under his boss Taylor and follows all his orders. He is ready to get into fraud deals with Taylor against the state acquiring land under phony names and later selling the land with huge profits. This portrays him as a corrupt and heartless character. On the other hand, he is indeed confident with Smith and his ambitions. He is sure Smith will not get into a conflict with their crooked legislation and even advises him on how to go about it. He is into dirty deals to retain his position in the government, while on the other hand, he is in the light to come out of it as clean as possible.
According to my opinion, there is a sure room for honest people in the congress. As Smith has illustrated, the strong as heart and the willing in spirit have an undoubting position in the congress. He overcomes all odds ranging from threats to denials and frustrations to finally become the publicly accepted legislator with the will of the people at heart. Again the President encompasses the right figure in the congress. He gives Smith an opportunity to shine and become the hero.
If I was placed in Smith’s position I would do two things in a different manner. After denial by Taylor and Paine, he should have not run away. Instead, he would have stayed behind and challenge them to a legal process and surely come out victorious. In the same way, he should not have allowed himself to be used to propose the land bill for legal legislation. He should have taken his time to analyze the intentions and make a sober decision.
Towards the end of the film, Smith talks about lost causes. According to him, Taylor and Paine had failed in their pranks to fraud the state. Instead, they have shamefully come out as cowards and even Paine tries to commit suicide. Taylor and Paine in this case are the lost causes due to their failure in their dirty pranks. He comes out as a very outstanding character, emphasizing the role a single person can play to reform an all corrupt legislation.
In the end, Smith, thanks to the president accomplishes his objective. Firstly, Paine comes out publicly to confess and confirms that Smith was innocent. That was his ultimate goal. He wanted to prove to the public that he was innocent and had the interest of the same at heart. His plan to get the land for his counterparts now becomes a realized dream. On a lighter note, his interest in Paine's beautiful daughter Susan bares fruit as she falls in love with him too. Suddenly all seem to fall into place.
In conclusion, it is quite evident that political corruption has not been entirely eliminated from the American political theater. With such manipulations by those in power to the juniors, it is far from done. But with such individuals there is a ray of hope glaring. With high spirits, devotion, dedication to the right and standing for nothing less than that will be a sure answer to abolish the corrupt replacing them with only those that befit the positions.
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