Search DVDBeaver

S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

 

H D - S E N S E I

A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington [Blu-ray]

 

(Frank Capra, 1939)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Columbia Pictures Corporation

Video: Sony

 

Disc:

Region: FREE! (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 2:09:40.773

Disc Size: 40,483,746,896 bytes

Feature Size: 28,999,213,056 bytes

Video Bitrate: 24.93 Mbps

Chapters: 16

Case: Custom book-style Blu-ray case

Release date: December 2nd, 2014

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.33:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 892 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 892 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio French 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio German 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio Italian 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio Portuguese 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
Commentary:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), English, Chinese, Greek, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, Thai, French, German, Italian, none

 

Extras:

Audio commentary by Frank Capra Jr.
Feature-length documentary: Frank Capra's American Dream, narrated by Ron Howard and incorporating interviews with the director's friends, colleagues and admirers (1:49:02)
"Frank Capra Jr. Remembers ... Mr. Smith Goes To Washington," in which the son of the famous director offers insight on his father's technique, the motivation of the actors and the production of the film (11:51)

Conversations with Frank Capra Jr. - The Golden Years (17:53)

• Frank Capra Collaboration (19:20)

Conversations with Frank Capra Jr. - A Family History (25:26)

• The Frank Capra I Knew - Jeanine Basinger (13:05)
Original theatrical trailer (1:43)
Rare international trailer which includes footage deleted from the final film (3:55)

Code for digital download

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Jean Arthur, James Stewart and Claude Rains star in Frank Capra's MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON, the award-winning 1939 classic about an idealistic, small town senator who heads to Washington and suddenly finds himself single-handedly battling ruthless politicians out to destroy him. When Frank Capra decided to film the novel "The Gentleman From Montana", he ran into an obstacle Director Rouben Mamoulian owned the rights to the story. Unwilling to sell, Mamoulian eventually traded the material to Columbia on the condition that he be allowed to direct Golden Boy. As Capra began working on the film, now called MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON, it was suggested that Gary Copper, the star of Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, take the lead. Capra selected Jimmy Stewart instead and the film solidified Stewart's movie career, garnering him his first Academy AwardŽ nomination. Receiving a total of eleven 1939 OscarŽ nominations (including Best Picture and Best Director), and winning one (Best Motion Picture Story), MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON is considered one of Capra's, Stewart's and Columbia's finest films. It also marked the end of an era. It was Capra's final film for the studio.

 

 

The Film:

Frank Capra's classic comedy-drama established James Stewart as a lead actor in one of his finest (and most archetypal) roles. The film opens as a succession of reporters shout into telephones announcing the death of Senator Samuel Foley. Senator Joseph Paine (Claude Rains), the state's senior senator, puts in a call to Governor Hubert "Happy" Hopper (Guy Kibbee) reporting the news. Hopper then calls powerful media magnate Jim Taylor (Edward Arnold), who controls the state -- along with the lawmakers. Taylor orders Hopper to appoint an interim senator to fill out Foley's term; Taylor has proposed a pork barrel bill to finance an unneeded dam at Willet Creek, so he warns Hopper he wants a senator who "can't ask any questions or talk out of turn." After having a number of his appointees rejected, at the suggestion of his children Hopper nominates local hero Jefferson Smith (James Stewart), leader of the state's Boy Rangers group. Smith is an innocent, wide-eyed idealist who quotes Jefferson and Lincoln and idolizes Paine, who had known his crusading editor father. In Washington, after a humiliating introduction to the press corps, Smith threatens to resign, but Paine encourages him to stay and work on a bill for a national boy's camp.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

Stewart's young Wisconsin senator exposing corruption and upholding true American values in a Senate House riddled with graft is quintessential Capra - popular wish-fulfilment served up with such fast-talking comic panache that you don't have time to question its cornball idealism. Scriptwriter Sidney Buchman's crackling dialogue is also lent sharp-tongued conviction by Rains, as the slimy senior senator, Jean Arthur as the hard-boiled dame finally won over by Stewart's honesty, and Harry Carey as the Vice President.

Excerpt from TimeOut located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington gets a new 4K Blu-ray transfer from Sony on the film's 75th Anniversary. This is dual-layered with a reasonable bitrate for the 2-hour+ film. Yes, this is significantly ahead of the old DVDs (3 captures compared below.) Much of the frame-specific damage is gone (see top of 2nd compared capture set) as are some of the speckles and dirt. This 1080P contrast exhibits healthy, rich black levels. This Blu-ray has some appealing depth that really separates the image quality from the flat SDs.  Some close-ups are downright impressive and the visuals look grand and larger-than-life while in-motion. This Blu-ray looks un-manipulated, rich with texture and consistent. Wonderful.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

1) Original Individual Release (Columbia Tri-Star) - Region 1,3,4 - NTSC TOP

2) Premiere Frank Capra Boxset (reviewed HERE) - Region 1,3,4 - NTSC MIDDLE

3) Sony (4K-Mastered / Digibook) - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) Original Individual Release (Columbia Tri-Star) - Region 1,3,4 - NTSC TOP

2) Premiere Frank Capra Boxset (reviewed HERE) - Region 1,3,4 - NTSC MIDDLE

3) Sony (4K-Mastered / Digibook) - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) Original Individual Release (Columbia Tri-Star) - Region 1,3,4 - NTSC TOP

2) Premiere Frank Capra Boxset (reviewed HERE) - Region 1,3,4 - NTSC MIDDLE

3) Sony (4K-Mastered / Digibook) - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

More Blu-ray Captures

 

Subtitle Sample

 

 

Commentary Subtitle Sample

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

No boost going on here - we get a DTS-HD Master original mono track at 892 kbps pushing through the centre channel.  It's predictably flat but shows some depth - gavel, Jeff's whistle and gun - all jolting you to attention.  The Dimitri Tiomkin (Angel Face, Strangers on a  Train, The Men, Dial M For Murder, The Thing From Another World etc. etc.) score sounds noble and uplifting - balancing perfectly with the narrative. The uncompressed audio is very clean and crisp. My Oppo has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.

 

Extras :

Mostly vintage stuff (videos from 1999) and an audio commentary by Frank Capra Jr. There is the 12-minute piece "Frank Capra Jr. Remembers ... Mr. Smith Goes To Washington" in which the son of the famous director offers insight on his father's technique, the motivation of the actors and the production of the film, Conversations with Frank Capra Jr. - The Golden Years runs 18-minutes, Frank Capra Collaboration is almost 20-minutes and one of the better featurettes. There is also the 25-minute Conversations with Frank Capra Jr. - A Family History and a much appreciated dozen-plus minutes with The Frank Capra I Knew - Jeanine Basinger. What some may enjoy is the feature-length documentary: Frank Capra's American Dream directed by Kenneth Bowser in 1997. It is narrated by Ron Howard and incorporating interviews with the director's friends, colleagues and admirers including Robert Altman, Richard Dreyfuss and Peter Falk. There is an original theatrical trailer (and a rare international trailer which includes footage deleted from the final film (parade sequence.) It runs almost 4 minutes. Of course what is new is the digi-book package - 28-pages worth with beautiful photos and text information including an essay by Jeremy Arnold. You also get a code fro a digital download.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
I loved revisiting this film in 1080P and got a lot more out of it as it looks so much more film-like. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington is definitely in the upper-tier of Capra films - making it an easily-labeled masterpiece. This is infinitely superior to its SD counterparts and a must-own film to have on Blu-ray, in my opinion. The extensive package is certainly appreciated and we give this a very strong recommendation! 

Gary Tooze

November 25th, 2014

 


 

About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

       HIGH DEFINITION DVD STORE     ALL OUR NEW FORMAT DVD REVIEWS

 

 




 

Hit Counter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DONATIONS Keep DVDBeaver alive:

 CLICK PayPal logo to donate!

Gary Tooze

Thank You!