Tag Archives: Mr. Smith Goes To Washington

The Also Rans – Stagecoach (Best Picture Nominee 1939)

Stagecoach movieposter.jpgDir. John Ford

Screenplay by Dudley Nichols, based on the short story “The Stage at Lordsburg” by Ernest Haycox

Starring John Wayne, Thomas Mitchell, John Carradine, Andy Devine and Claire Trevor

I resist John Wayne.  I always have and make no bones about why — he’s a rat bastard red-baiting jingoist war-monger and to this common-sense liberal, he’s repulsive.  And such is my repulsion that I can barely separate John Wayne the man from the characters John Wayne plays to such a degree I suspect he could play Ralph Nader and the only thing I’d think is, “My, it’s strange how conservative Ralph Nader is.”  To me, John Wayne’s a racist old grandpa we should be embarrassed about, not building films around.

Under the circumstances, it’s no surprise I’ve only seen three John Wayne films and have varying attitudes to them all:

  • True Grit
  • The Quiet Man
  • The Searchers

The Searchers, thought to be a classic, hardly registers with me beyond being racist in story and casting.  (Ironically, Gone With The Wind plays a similar game with it’s racial elements and yet, I don’t brush it off the same as I do The Searchers.  Rather, I’m apologetic of those elements to the point I’ve had to come to grips with being a massive hypocrite.) Continue reading

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The Best Picture Project – Gone With The Wind (1939)

Directed by Victor Fleming

Screenplay by Sidney Howard, based on the novel by Margaret Mitchell

Starring Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh, Olivia DeHavilland, Leslie Howard and Hattie McDaniel

In the grand history of the Oscars, 1939 might be the most stellar year of them all, what with a Best Picture race that include Of Mice and Men, Mr. Smith Goes To Washington, The Wizard of Oz, Goodbye Mr. Chips, and the eventual winner, Gone With The Wind.  In another year it’s conceivable any of those films might’ve taken the top prize – of the losers, I’m especially fond of Mr. Chips – but this wasn’t any other year, this was 1939, and this was the year of Gone With The Wind. Continue reading

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