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Book Vs Movie: "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" (1939)

Book Vs Movie Podcast

Release Date: 11/10/2020

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Book Vs Movie Podcast

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The Margos get into "the horror" of the 1898 novel "Heart of Darkness" by Joseph Conrad and the 1979 film "Apocalypse Now" by Francis Ford Coppola which are considered classics of film & literature. The behind-the-scenes gossip and the parodies are all discussed here. (Note: We are not experts on film or books. this is for pure entertainment!)

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The Margos are heading back to the world of Children’s literature with The Phantom Tollbooth by author Norton Juster and illustrations by Jules Feiffer which was first published in 1961. The story of a bored young boy named Milo who finds a magical tollbooth that sets him off on incredible adventures in math and wordplay. Along the way, he meets a big dog named Tock who keeps him on time as he reaches the Kingdom of Wisdom and develops a love of learning and puns. 

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For many 70s kids, the Rankin/Bass specials with their catchy music and stop motion animation were high art. From Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer to Santa Clause is Coming to Town their specials garnered big ratings and helped popularize holiday music. One of their most iconic specials was based on a 1956 Phillis McGinley book The Year Without a Santa Clause which told the story of a burnt-out Kris Kringle who wanted to take leave for one Christmas. 

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Book Vs Movie Podcast

It’s December at Book vs Movie and we are excited about covering holiday-themed films including this selection--The Bishop’s Wife. The original novella was written by Robert Nathan in 1928 is the story of a preacher, Henry Boughman, who dreams of building a huge cathedral at the expense of his relationship with his wife Julia. The 1947 film with Cary Grant, Loretta Young, and David Niven is wonderful!

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The Margos are feeling very Italian in this episode devoted to the famous story about a marionette who wishes to be a real boy when he grows up. The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi was originally published in a series of magazine articles in 1881. When it was released as a book, it became a worldwide hit and is one of the most translated books of all time. 

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Book Vs Movie: Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

The 1939 Classic Film Based on a Story by Lewis R. Foster and Starring Jimmy Stewart

 

The 2020 election season is over (finally!) and the Margos want to celebrate by talking about one of the most celebrated films about American politics ever made--Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. Director Frank Capra’s ode to decency and fighting the most difficult battles for America’s soul. 

The story “The Gentleman from Montana” (an unpublished story by Lewis R. Foster) was a fictionalized version of the life of Montana Senator Burton Wheeler who investigated then-President Warren G. Harding in 1921over the Teapot Dome scandal. That scandal involved (which involved oil companies, land deals, and payoffs) caused the first U.S. Senator to go to prison--Albert B. Fall and was considered the biggest D.C scandal of the 20th Century (until Watergate in the 70s!) 

Director Frank Capra faced a great deal of opposition bringing the film to life as the media and politicians based in Washington D.C. were completely offended at their portrayal as crooked and dishonest. It didn’t matter, the film became a hit and is now a revered classic nominated for 11 Academy Awards (losing most to Gone With the Wind.

In this ep the Margos discuss:

  • The basics of the Teapot Dome scandal and why it was such a scandal for the 20th century
  • Frank Capra’s movies and main characters
  •  Why the film was controversial for the time
  • The cast: Jimmy Stewart (Jefferson Smith,) Jean Arthur (Clarissa Saunders,) Claude Rains (Senator Joseph Paine,) Thomas Mitchell (Diz Moore,) Harry Carey (President of the Senate,) and Beaulah Bondi (Ma Smith.) 

Clips used:

  • Mr. Smith Goes to Washington  trailer 
  • “I Will Not Yield!”
  • “Lost Causes”
  • "What do you believe in?"
  • Music by Dimitri Tiomkin

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Margo D. @BrooklynFitChik www.brooklynfitchick.com [email protected]

Margo P. @ShesNachoMama https://coloniabook.weebly.com/