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'Mr. Smith Goes to Washington' - and to the North Park

We could all use a little Jefferson Smith right now – and Jimmy Stewart is on his way.

"Mr. Smith Goes to Washington," the inspiring 1939 Frank Capra comedy-drama, will be shown at 11:30 a.m. Jan. 19 at the North Park Theatre.

James Stewart finds a friend in Jean Arthur in "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington."

The movie, which is on the National Film Registry, stars Stewart as the naive head of a small-town Boy Rangers group  who is picked for the seat of a recently deceased senator by a corrupt politician who sees him as an easy mark. The wholesome Smith is soon fighting a nearly impossible battle against political corruption that includes an emotionally draining filibuster at the film's end.

The all-star cast of classic film favorites includes Jean Arthur, Claude Rains, Thomas Mitchell, Beulah Bondi, Edward Arnold and Thomas Smith.

Though it's a bit darker in tone than some of Capra's other films, "Mr. Smith" still carries that "Capra-corn" touch, a word used to describe Capra's common touch in depicting wholesome characters and underdogs.

"Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" is part of a mini President's Weekend film festival presented by the Association for a Buffalo Presidential Center at the North Park. It starts Feb. 18 with a showing of the John Frankenheimer thriller "The Manchurian Candidate" starring Frank Sinatra, Lawrence Harvey and Angela Lansbury in her Oscar-nominated role.

Doors open at 11 a.m. both days with films starting at 11:30 a.m. at the North Park (1428 Hertel Ave.) Tickets are $7.50.

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