Blu-ray Review “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington: 75th Anniversary”

mr.smithStarring: Jean Arthur, James Stewart, Claude Rains, Edward Arnold, Guy Kibbee, Thomas Mitchell
Director: Frank Capra
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: Sony
DVD Release Date: December 2, 2014
Digital Copy Expiration Date: December 31, 2014 (Click here for more information)
Run Time: 130 minutes

Film: 5 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 4 out of 5 stars

“Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” is celebrating its 75th anniversary and it has never looked better. This film earned Jimmy Stewart his first Academy Award® nomination, along with 11 other nominations. It is easily one of Frank Capra’s best films. It was also Capra’s final film for Columbia. This film does in a wonderful collectible Digipak packaging with an all-new essay by Film Historian Jeremy Arnold. Easily one of the best restored Blu-ray releases this year.

Official Premise: An idealistic, newly-appointed senator (James Stewart) heads to Washington, where he single-handedly battles ruthless politicians out to destroy him. Winner of the 1939 Academy Award® for Best Writing (Original Story), Mr. Smith Goes to Washington is a timeless and stirring ode to the power of democracy.

“Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” looks simply stunning on Blu-ray. For this release it was restored and mastered with 4K transfer in 1080p. The black and white film is presented in its original 4×3 aspect ratio but looks outstanding. Same goes for the DTS-HD Master Audio Mono surround track. It works well with the dialogue and score.

The special features are another win for this release. There is an audio commentary with Frank Capra’s son, Frank Capra Jr. There are a bunch of vintage features included. “Frank Capra Jr. Remembers…’Mr. Smith Goes to Washington'” focuses on the director from Capra’s son. There is “Conversations with Frank Capra Jr.: The Golden Years”, which looks into his father again and the 1930’s in Hollywood. “Conversations with Frank Capra Jr.: A Family History” features Capra’s son looking into his family life. “Frank Capra: Collaboration” is a look back into Capra’s life and career.

“The Frank Capra I Knew” features Jeanine Basinger, Curator of the Frank Capra archives at Wesleyan University, talking about the director. “Frank Capra’s American Dream” is easily the best feature, which is a feature-length documentary, narrated and hosted by Ron Howard with interviews including Martin Scorsese, Garry Marshall, John Milius, Robert Altman, Michael Keaton, Richard Dreyfuss, Angela Lansbury, Garry Marshall, Marshall Herskovitz, Bill Duke, Oliver Stone, and Peter Falk. Lastly there are trailers included.

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