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Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history

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Movieland Mystery Photo [Updated]

  Jan. 29, 2011, Mystery Photo  
  Los Angeles Times file photo  

[Update: As everyone realized, this is “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” in an image published Sept. 3, 1939, with Edwin Schallert’s story about the current trend in Hollywood of "just what makes the United States tick." Please congratulate Mary Mallory, Jon Weisman, Dewey Webb, Sarah, Dennis Gilliam, Arye Michael Bender, Fibber McGee, Michael Ryerson, Pamela Porter and Ronald Emmis for identifying the photo. ]

Here’s some old school art direction: Cutting the print down to a circle.

  Sept. 3, 1939, Uncle Sam  

  Sept. 3, 1939, Uncle Sam  


  Jan. 29, 2011, Mystery Photo  

Here’s our mystery camera crew ….

  Jan. 29, 2011, Mystery Photo  

… and a (totally not) mystery fellow on a ladder.

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Comments (14)

We really have MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON now, with director Frank Capra sitting on the ladder, Claude Rains to the left.

Joe Walker is cameraman.

Wow, finally one that I could figure out – one of my favorites.

Frank Capra/Claude Rains

I there anyone who reads this column who can't identify this as Mr. Smith goes to Washington, with Claude Rains and Frank Capra?

too easy. mr smith goes to washington,claude rains and frank capra on ladder

It is MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON with Claude Rains at far left, cameraman Joseph Walker and at far right Frank Capra.

This is Frank Capra directing "Mr.Smith Goes to Washington".

Frank Capra, at the height of his power, is commanding that Congressional set. The invisible man himself, Claude Rains at the bar makes this unmistakably, 'Mr. Smith Goes to Washington'. The movie, btw, like many of Mr. Capra's works about America, is a criticism of corruption and not the super patriotic schmaltz people seem to think.

Capra was a brilliant filmmaker who had much to say about our civilization. All of his prime films reveal deeper levels with each viewing.

This is too easy, but fun.
In the "curcular" photo, Frank Capra, local boy who made not just good but great in Hollywood, and thge set of "Mr. Smith Goes To Washington." A film just as relevant now as it was then. Of course, when it came out a lot of newsmen didn't like it because it alleged they took a little drinky-poo now and then. Shocking.

Well, Frank Capra on the ladder with Claude Rains wearing wire-rimmed glasses and white hair means we're looking at Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939).

PS: From the flagged fill lamp at the far left, the shadow reveals that those carved panels are nothing more than flat painted ones. No surprise, of course.

Wow - one I think I know (and of course, it's probably the easiest of the bunch so far)

Claude Rains in "Mr Smith Goes To Washington" - along with director Frank Capra

I hate to be the spoiler here, but while "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" is a wonderful film, it is merely entertainment. No one goes to Washington believing that they can root out corruption and last for long. Against earmarks? You'll get swallowed up. Wanna fight big budget deficits? Get lost, buddy. "Mr. Smith" can rail against corruption or corrupt practices all he or she wants, but even if the people back home want it, and even then, nothing gets done in that town. It is a cesspool of criminality. That's why nice, warm movies like this are merely vehicles to make people believe that one man, one "Mr. Smith," can use the filibuster or his power or the microphone or the media (which is also corrupt as hell) to get something changed, when all they do is become fodder in the grinding wheel that is DC politics.

Again - I liked the film, but it is too milquetoast for me. "No Way Out" with Kevin Costner, while not a great film, is closer to the truth than this warmed-over hopefest.

Sorry to rain on all your parades, but the truth is the truth!


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