Dir: Frank Capra (1939)
Well, I finally saw it. I've checked it out from the library probably two dozen times but I finally went through with it last night and what can I say, it was pretty much what I expected -- patriotic and corny and Capra, but of course totally lovable and wonderful too, and despite the corniness I kind of had to be like "Yeah but that's right..."
Just a couple weird things - I feel like every background character actor from every movie I've ever seen was in this: Guy Kibbe, for one, and then the fat "I want my breakfast!" man from The Lady Eve and Robin Hood, and the mean guy who bossed Shirley Temple in Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm and the sad pharmacist from It's a Wonderful Life, and then I recognized Diz, too, but I'm not sure from what. Anyway. In addition I felt that for a movie that ran over two hours, it was awfully rushed most of the time. It was always flitting from scene to scene, apart from the really juicy moments with most of Jeff's speech-making. It was actually kind of distracting.
The bad: Cute kids! I just don't think old movie cute kids are cute, end of story. Always too many freckles and not enough front teeth and too much Boys Town.
The good: Oh Jean Arthur, for crying out loud! Love of my life! And the fact that her character goes by her last name is just so badass! Also Jimmy Stewart being all mussy-haired and hometown-y and noble and tall and cute and dropping his hat all over and saying endearing things to his secretary, gaaaah I just melt right down to my toes! I love him always, so I can put up with any cheesy plot if he's at the sweet center of it, even if he does have scrawny knees.
Overall: I actually got a little riled toward the end, like I was really mad at the evil senator and the evil newspaper man. And while the movie was pretty cheesy in sum, I liked the message behind it and the leading man in it... and that's pretty much all I have to say about that.
Stars: 3.5 of 5, deducting 1.5 because it's undeniably cheesy and despite my love of a certain kind of schmaltz I am really a cynical person at heart.