American import exclusive to the Columbia Classic box set one as new with slipcover
4K Ultra HD
Two-disc set (1 BD-66, 1 BD-
Slipcover in original pressing
4K Blu-ray: Region free
2K Blu-ray: Region Free
Sony has released Director Frank Capra's 1939 classic 'Mr. Smith Goes to Washington' to the UHD format. The 4K presentation is currently exclusive to the studio's prestigious Columbia Classics Collection boxed set. New specifications include 2160p/HDR video and two-channel lossless mono audio. No new supplements are included but the bundled Blu-ray disc is identical to that which Sony originally released in 2014 and brings with it a nice assortment of bonus content.
When Senator Sam Folley suddenly passes away, a state governor (Guy Kibbee) is obliged to name a successor. He's pressured by the corrupt Jim Taylor (Edward Arnold), who controls both much of the state's print media and the state's remaining senator, Joseph Paine (Claude Rains), to name his hand-picked man, Horace Miller. However, public backlash forces the governor to reconsider the choice in favor of a more popular candidate. The governor's children, on the other hand, request he name the politically inexperienced head of their "Boy Rangers" outfit, Jefferson Smith (James Stewart), a proud American and a man who loves the system and the nation's history, to the position. When fate and the flip of a coin leave the governor with no choice but to name Smith -- a man with no political aspirations, a fear of public speaking, and no agenda -- to the vacancy, it's the surprise of the year in Washington and one that doesn't necessarily sit well with his new, established senate colleagues.
Smith arrives with childlike enthusiasm not for his role in the legislative process but instead for the opportunity to see the city he so admires up-close and personal. His career gets off to a rocky start when he's wrongly depicted in the press as cartoonish outsider with no concern for his new position, a sideshow, so to speak, in a town where external flaws are the exception rather than the rule. Like many things in life, Smith's crusade begins innocently enough when he's pressed to name his agenda. He seizes the opportunity to champion the only thing he knows and makes the Boy Rangers and the molding of young minds the centerpiece of his would-be signature legislation. Coincidentally, conveniently, and without his immediate knowledge, his idea clashes with a deeply rooted political scheme meant to line corrupt pockets, not save innocent youth. Suddenly, the no-experience outsider finds himself in a deep, dirty grafting scandal that threatens his agenda and, just as important, his good name and stature. With the help of his secretary, Saunders (Jean Arthur), he decides to take a stand, even if it costs him longstanding friendships, his senate seat, and even the very ideas and ideals he holds so dear.
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington 4K Blu-ray, Video Quality 4K 5.0 of 5
Talk about aging gracefully. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington is now over eighty years old but for its 4K/HDR UHD release, it may as well have been made in the past few years. The picture quality is simply astounding and looks about as good as it possibly could and certainly outpaces even some movies of more recent vintage on the format. The picture does show its age with a few tell-tale signs, including the black-and-white photography and Academy aspect ratio (not that a movie couldn't be made under these parameters today). But judging strictly on its picture quality merits, it's breathtaking. Grain is certainly in evidence and present in density in every shot, but it's an essential component in capturing the picture's heritage and holding it firm to its best qualities. Textures within are razor-sharp, showcasing resplendently defined details both in close-up and in medium distance. Facial textures are beyond exquisite for natural complexity and clarity while period attire is revealed in all its density and detail, far beyond the Blu-ray's limited constraints and comparatively flat and smooth picture, which is also unable to replicate the UHD's firmer, denser grain structure. It's a revelatory boost to both components that give the picture improved depth, definition, and clarity.
HDR further transforms the picture, boosting contrast and not just better defining the grayscale but seeing it increase in intensity and distinction by leaps and bounds. Where the Blu-ray looks fairly creamy with little stark definition between the available tones, the UHD leaps off the screen with a remarkable balance between impressively intense, crisp, and luminous whites and dense and deep blacks. The area in between is greatly enhanced, too, offering striking scaling and precision that shows just how far HDR can amplify and re-energize even aged black-and-white material. It's a remarkable transformation. Add that the picture is practically free of source blemish and encode issue and it's a new reference presentation for the film and for the format. What a gem!
- To be arranged
1 month ago