Culture Shocking Blocking

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

Image for Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

Frank Capra was master of the art of conveying his emotional idealism via cluttered, awkward blocking.

Early on in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, a brief glimpse of Mr. Smith’s home, shown here, indirectly yet effectively tells us everything we need to know about James Stewart’s titular protagonist — whose “alignment,” to use a Dungeons & Dragons rubric, is Chaotic Good.

[“Chaotic Good is known as the ‘Beatific,’ ‘Rebel,’ or ‘Cynic’ alignment. A Chaotic Good character favors change for a greater good, disdains bureaucratic organizations that get in the way of social improvement, and places a high value on personal freedom, not only for oneself, but for others as well. They always intend to do the right thing, but their methods are generally disorganized and often out of alignment with the rest of society.”]

The corrupt Gov. Hubert “Happy” Hopper (Guy Kibbee) is disconcerted, even dismayed, by the all-ages marching band practicing in the dining room, the dog on the pony wall, the children of various ethnicities scarfing down donuts and popcorn in the kitchen. It’s chaotic! It’s good!

Tags: Movies, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington