THE MORE THE MERRIER
1943, Sony Repertory, 104 min, USA, Dir: George Stevens

Jean Arthur reluctantly sublets half her apartment to retired millionaire Charles Coburn - who promptly sublets half of his half to dreamy soldier Joel McCrea! Coburn won an Oscar for his inspired performance in this captivating film, which also was nominated for Best Picture, Director, Actress, Story and Screenplay.


MR. DEEDS GOES TO TOWN
1936, Sony Repertory, 115 min, USA, Dir: Frank Capra

When rural poet Longfellow Deeds (Gary Cooper at his most engaging) inherits a fortune, he moves to the big city and uses his newfound wealth to benefit his fellow man - much to the chagrin of various corporate and political interests. Jean Arthur is the jaded, cynical reporter whose idealism (and sense of romance) is reawakened by Deeds. Capra combines an awareness of man’s capacity for corruption with an optimistic belief in the possibility of positive change, making this a political comedy that’s angry and inspiring in equal measures.


MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON
1939, Sony Repertory, 129 min, USA, Dir: Frank Capra

Naive, straight-shooting idealist Mr. Smith (James Stewart) is elected to Congress, then used and eventually framed by his corrupt mentor Claude Rains and fat cat Edward Arnold. Still an incredibly topical slice of Americana with unflinching insights into how easily a free-enterprise system can be debased and exploited by ruthless profiteers. Smith pleading his case before a cold-hearted, unbelieving Congress sends chills down the spine and remains one of the most moving sequences in the history of cinema. Jean Arthur is the worldly cynic who has her heart melted when she realizes Smith is the real thing. With Thomas Mitchell.


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