- Directors: Frank Capra
- Producers: Frank Capra
- Writers: Clarence Budington Kelland, Robert Riskin
- Genres: Comedy, Romance
- Actors: Gary Cooper, Jean Arthur
In the middle of the Great Depression, Longfellow Deeds (Gary Cooper), co-owner of a tallow works, part-time greeting card poet and tuba-playing inhabitant of the hamlet of Mandrake Falls, Vermont, inherits the enormous fortune of 20 million dollars from his late uncle, Martin Semple. His uncle’s scheming attorney, John Cedar (Douglass Dumbrille), locates Deeds and takes him to New York City.
Cedar gives his cynical troubleshooter, ex-newspaperman Cornelius Cobb (Lionel Stander), the task of keeping reporters away from the heir. He is outfoxed, however, by star reporter Louise “Babe” Bennett (Jean Arthur), who appeals to Deeds’ romantic fantasy of rescuing a damsel in distress by masquerading as a poor worker named Mary Dawson. She pretends to faint from exhaustion after “walking all day to find a job” and worms her way into his confidence. She proceeds to write a series of enormously popular articles mocking Longfellow’s hick ways and odd behavior, naming him the “Cinderella Man”. Meanwhile, Cedar tries to get Deeds’ power of attorney in order to keep his financial misdeeds secret.
Deeds, however, proves to be a shrewd judge of character, easily fending off Cedar and other greedy opportunists. He wins Cobb’s wholehearted respect and eventually Babe’s love. However, when Cobb finds out Bennett’s true identity, Deeds is left heartbroken.
During his sanity hearing, things look bleak for Deeds, especially since he initially refuses to defend himself. Cedar even gets Deeds’s Mandrake Falls tenants, eccentric elderly sisters Jane and Amy Faulkner (Margaret Seddon and Margaret McWade), to testify that Deeds is “pixilated.” That charge falls apart when the two spinsters admit that everyone in town, except themselves, suffers from the same affliction. When Babe convinces Deeds that she truly loves him, he systematically punches holes in Cedar’s case (before punching Cedar in the face) and the judge declares him to be “the sanest man who ever walked into this courtroom”.
- Directors: George Stevens
- Producers: George Stevens
- Writers: Jack Schaefer, A B Guthrie Jr
- Genres: Drama, Western
- Actors: Alan Ladd, Jean Arthur, Van Heflin, Brandon De Wilde, Jack Palance
A mysterious stranger named Shane (Alan Ladd) drifts into an isolated western valley. It soon becomes apparent that he is a gunslinger, and he finds himself drawn into a conflict between simple homesteader Joe Starrett (Van Heflin) and powerful cattle baron Rufus Ryker (Emile Meyer), who wants to force him and every other homesteader in the valley off the land. Shane accepts a job as a farmhand, but finds Starrett’s young son Joey (Brandon DeWilde) drawn to him for his strength and skill with a gun. Shane himself is uncomfortably drawn to Starrett’s wholesomely charming wife, Marian (Jean Arthur).
As tensions mount between the factions, Ryker hires Jack Wilson (Jack Palance), a skilled gunslinger. After Wilson kills another homesteader (Elisha Cook, Jr.) who stands up to him, Joe Starrett decides to take it on himself to go kill Wilson and Ryker and save the town; however, he is stopped by Shane who insists on going himself. Starrett and Shane fight over who should go on to face Wilson; Shane regretfully uses his gun to hit Joe over the head and knock him out, knowing this was the only way to prevent Joe from getting killed. Shane then goes to take on Wilson in a climactic showdown, killing him and Ryker, but being wounded in the shootout. After urging young Joey to grow up strong and take care of both of his parents, Shane rides away in a random direction.
As Shane rides away, Joey calls after him, “Pa’s got things for you to do! And Mother wants you. I know she does.” Shane slumps forward on his horse, presumably dead from his shootout wounds, but the horse keeps going. The movie closes with Joey shouting “Shane! Come back!” as he watches the horse with Shane on its back disappear into the distance.
- Directors: Frank Capra
- Producers: Frank Capra
- Writers: Story, Lewis R Foster, Screenplay, Sidney Buchman
- Genres: Drama
- Actors: James Stewart, Jean Arthur
The governor of an unnamed state, Hubert “Happy” Hopper (Guy Kibbee), has to pick a replacement for deceased U.S. Senator Sam Foley. His corrupt political boss, Jim Taylor (Edward Arnold), pressures Hopper to choose his handpicked stooge, while popular committees want a reformer. The governor’s children want him to select Jefferson Smith (James Stewart), the head of the Boy Rangers. Unable to make up his mind, Hopper decides to flip a coin. When it lands on its side вЂ“ and next to a newspaper story on one of Smith’s accomplishments вЂ“ he chooses Smith, calculating that his wholesome image will please the people while his naivetГ© will make him easy to manipulate.
Smith is taken under the wing of the publicly esteemed, but secretly crooked, Senator Joseph Paine (Claude Rains), who was Smith’s late father’s oldest and best friend, and he develops an immediate attraction to the senator’s daughter, Susan (Astrid Allwyn). The unforgiving Washington press quickly labels Smith a bumpkin, with no business being a senator. Paine, to keep Smith busy, suggests he propose a bill.
Smith comes up with legislation that would authorize a federal government loan to buy some land in his home state for a national boys’ camp, to be paid back by youngsters across America. Donations pour in immediately. However, the proposed campsite is already part of a dam-building graft scheme included in a Public Works bill framed by the Taylor political machine and supported by Senator Paine.
Although all hope seems lost, the senators begin to pay attention as Smith approaches utter exhaustion. Paine has one last card up his sleeve. He brings in bins of letters and telegrams from Smith’s home state from people demanding his expulsion. Nearly broken by the news, Smith finds a small ray of hope in a friendly smile from the President of the Senate (Harry Carey). Smith vows to press on until people believe him, but immediately collapses in a faint. Overcome with guilt, Paine leaves the Senate chamber and attempts to kill himself. When he is stopped, he bursts back into the Senate chamber, loudly confesses to the whole scheme and affirms Smith’s innocence.