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

Naïve, straight-shooting idealist Mr. Smith (James Stewart) is elected to Congress then used and eventually framed by his corrupt mentor Claude Rains and fatcat 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.


A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH
aka STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN
1946, Sony Repertory, 104 min, UK, Dir: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger

A breathtaking meditation on the mercies of love and the cruelties of fate, A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH stars David Niven as a WWII pilot pleading his case in Heaven, claiming that he was not meant to die and should be allowed to return to lovely Kim Hunter on Earth. Roger Livesey co-stars as the doctor who becomes Niven’s solicitor on the astral plane, with the delightful Marius Goring as a dandified angel.


GONE TO EARTH
1950, Disney, 110 min, UK, Dir: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger

One of Powell and Pressburger’s most gloriously mystical films, GONE TO EARTH stars the enchanting Jennifer Jones as an orphaned country girl, who lives surrounded by magic, superstition and wild forest animals. David Farrar (BLACK NARCISSUS) co-stars as the aristocratic squire who finds himself bewitched by Jones’ charms.


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