FILM MEME: TWO DECADES → THE 1930s (2/2)
Favourite Classic Films (in no particular order)
Mr Smith Goes to Washington (1939), dir. Frank Capra
Either I’m dead right, or I’m crazy!
Frank Capra’s screenwriter, Sidney Buchman, created a showpiece for Rains, even though the part was not specifically conceived for him. Rains’s role, the corrupt Senator Paine, was an ambiguous character—once idealistic, now cynical, ever scheming, yet supremely guilt-ridden— and Rains gave his all. After working in motion pictures for just little over five years, he had mastered subtler technique, acting with his eyes and reining in the declamatory stage techniques on which he had been raised. Never again would he feel the need to back an actress into the camera. Unlike the many mediocre scripts he had elevated with his presence, in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington his talents were placed in the service of a genuinely fine piece of screenwriting.
Claude Rains giving an extremely superb performance in the last scene of “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington”, 1939.