Tidbits: Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

I am gearing up to watch the TCM Big Screen Classics presentation of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) this weekend. Searching for a little trivia on IMDB, I found the following tidbits about the cast interesting.

  1. James Stewart knew this was the role of a lifetime, one that could place him near the top of the Hollywood heap. Jean Arthur later remembered his mood at the time: “He was so serious when he was working on that picture, he used to get up at five o’clock in the morning and drive himself to the studio. He was so terrified something was going to happen to him, he wouldn’t go faster.” Makes me appreciate this portrayal even more.
  2. This film is one of five times that Beulah Bondi portrayed James Stewart’s mother. The others are: It’s a Wonderful Life (1946), Of Human Hearts (1938) and Vivacious Lady (1938), and once on his television series, The Jimmy Stewart Show (1971). It’s no wonder; she’s a marvelous actress and convincing in her looks and manner to be his mother.
  3. Jean Arthur’s left side was considered her best side, so the sets had to be constructed in a way that whenever she entered, she would be photographed on that side. If only real life could be this way!

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Jean Arthur’s lovely left side

1 thought on “Tidbits: Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

  1. Jean Arthur photographed beautifully in this movie. And Jimmy Stewart does look so earnest…and so young! He demonstrated his terrific acting talent in this early movie. He later went on to demonstrate an enormous range in many other movie genres. I found them both a joy to watch!

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