As preview prints circulated around Washington DC, initial reaction to Frank Capra’s Mr. Smith Goes to Washington generated some pre-release jitters inside the Beltway: some senators reportedly walked out of preview screenings, and the American ambassador to England, Joseph P. Kennedy, implored Columbia Studios chief Harry Cohn to abandon European distribution for fear of creating bad morale among US allies at the start of World War II. Regardless, Mr. Smith was released as planned and proved to be one of Capra’s most successful and emblematic films, garnering 11 Academy Award nominations including Best Picture. However, the 1939 Oscars turned out to be pretty much owned by Gone with the Wind—it won ten that evening—and thus only Lewis Foster took home a statue for his original story.
This week’s question: What’s your favorite film or TV show that is set significantly in the halls of the US Congress? The Oval Office alone doesn’t count.
As for host Richard Peña, he has “always loved Otto Preminger’s ADVISE AND CONSENT, as eerie a revelation of the political machine as Hollywood’s ever made.”
Be sure to post your pick below. And if you missed out on last week’s question, you can answer it here.