I’ve always been a fan of old movies. Though I don’t watch them as often as I used to. When Turner Classic Movies came out in 1994, I was a little over 10 years removed from high school, and I’m almost positive we had cable in our first house together. Even then, watching old movies wasn’t all that hard, as long as you were able to get down to the video store and go into the ‘Nostalgia’ section. Movies like Gone with the Wind or The Music Man were fairly easy to come by, as few people were renting them, rather than whatever was new at that period of time. Even so, there were some movies I’d never watched, and even now I’ve never seen Citizen Kane or Murder on the Orient Express.
Jimmy Stewart movies are especially near and dear to me, though like many the one that really stands out would be It’s a Wonderful Life. I’ve never actually seen Mr. Smith Goes to Washington though I’ve seen snippets of the movie over the years, especially the part where he filibusters a bill or something in the US Senate in the penultimate scene late in the movie. Certainly, I know the basics of the plot, but for one reason or another, I hadn’t had the time, or the desire to sit through the whole movie. That is, until last night.
I was especially weary after a really long day at work; having come off 6 days of vacation, I really needed something to take my mind off my weary body and wanted something to watch while my wife and I were eating dinner. Flipping through the cable channels, I happened to notice TCM, and lo and behold there it was. MSGtW. I asked my wife if she had anything else she wished to watch and she said no. Typically she doesn’t have any preferences at dinner time, her shows generally come on later in the evening. So I settled down with my dinner and watched the movie, though by the end of dinner I was only about halfway through. Luckily, the movie was available on Amazon Prime, so for a modest fee, I was able to watch the rest of it on the larger tv in the den after dinner.
I have to admit, the movie didn’t disappoint, though I can well understand that Frank Capra did tend to hit the moviegoer over the head a little with his incessant patriotic flag-waving early in the film. I can understand writing the character of Jefferson Smith (Stewart’s role) as a bit of a country bumpkin that really didn’t have any business being in Washington, certainly not as a US Senator. Even though Donald Trump managed to get elected President without any prior political experience (and look what we got from that) putting someone in Congress with no experience is the very essence of wasting a seat. Though I suppose the alternative was having someone in the vest pocket of a mover and shaker back in the home district, someone that was going to be a veritable ‘yes man’, rather than someone that might actually listen to the voters and do some good for the rank and file of that district. There was no ‘Citizens United’ in those days, but many a Congressman has been ‘gifted’ with a seat and done the dirty work of the people that put him or her there, that’s not a unique or new piece of history.
All in all, it was a good movie to watch and it stuck a movie into my bucket list. Just this afternoon I purchased a few more movies that I’d been meaning to see, some again, some for the first time. Perhaps in the coming days, I’ll sit down, grab a bowl of popcorn and enjoy Here Comes Mr. Jordan, or the aforementioned Citizen Kane. I might even have a go at 12 Angry Men again. Though I don’t think I want to see Marty again,. I like Ernest Borgnine, but not in that film.