Frank Capra's 1939 film Mr. Smith Goes to Washington is a dark but eventually triumphant movie starring Jimmy Stewart -just like It's a Wonderful Life would be a few years later. While politicians of the time didn't like it, for many people the movie was a simplistic yet dramatic introduction to the world of Washington politics. We can't imagine anyone but Jimmy Stewart in the lead role, but he wasn't yet a big star at the time, and wasn't Capra's first choice for the role. Here are some other things you didn't know about the movie.
3. JIMMY STEWART CALLED IT "THE ROLE OF A LIFETIME."
Having declared the part "the role of a lifetime," Stewart was determined to make sure he completed the film. "He was so serious when he was working on that picture," Stewart's co-star, Jean Arthur, recalled. "He used to get up at five o'clock in the morning and drive himself to the studio. He was so terrified something was going to happen to him, he wouldn't go faster."
4. STEWART WAS GIVEN PERFORMANCE-DIMINISHING CHEMICALS.
To make his voice hoarse, as if he really had been filibustering for 23 hours, Capra wrote that, "Twice a day Jimmy's throat was swabbed with vile mercury solution that swelled and irritated his vocal cords. The result was astonishing. No amount of acting could possibly simulate Jimmy's intense pathetic efforts to speak through real swollen cords."
Read the rest of the trivia about Mr. Smith Goes to Washington at mental_floss.