Mr. Deeds Goes to Town ★★★★

I'm far from the first person to say it, but it is really remarkable that someone with such a confused political ideology like Frank Capra could create some of the most moving social commentaries of his generation, just by being better than everyone else. Capra can condense the kind of exposition that would take most other directors ten minutes into a thirty second montage, as he does with the film's brilliant opening sequence. He creates moments like the Deed's hangover conversation or the echo scene and manages to ingratiate a viewer with his characters to the point that overt sentimentality becomes a net positive.

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington is a better version of this story. Capra's ire just feels more pointed and interesting when aimed at the world of corrupt politicians than it does when he focuses on upper class hypocrisy. But Mr. Deeds is still worthwhile, if only as a credit to Capra's pure virtuosity and capacity for transcending corniness and finding something greater.