Tags: Hollywood | jean arthur | iconic role | quotes | clarissa saunders

Jean Arthur as Clarissa Saunders: 5 Quotes About Iconic Role

By    |   Wednesday, 13 May 2015 12:54 PM

During her acting career, Jean Arthur was cast as the leading role in three Frank Capra movies, but none was more famous than "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington," a movie that remains popular to this day and that cemented Arthur's role as one of the great leading ladies of comedy in the 1930s.

Arthur played the role of the clever secretary Clarissa Saunders against James Stewart's Jefferson Smith in the film, which is about young senator (Stewart) who goes to Washington and needs Arthur's character's support in defeating a Congress filibuster.

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Here are five quotes about Arthur's acting role in this classic film:

1. "Jean Arthur, as the secretary – lucky girl being secretary to both Deeds and Smith – tosses a line and bats an eye with delightful drollery." – Frank S. Nugent, The New York Times, reviewing "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" in 1939

2. "This is classic Capracorn, with the greatest girl cynic of the '30s, Jean Arthur." – Don Druker, The Chicago Reader.

3. "Jean Arthur is excellent as the wisely cynical senatorial secretary who knows the political ropes of Washington. Unimpressed at first with the backwoods ideals of the new senator, she finally falls in love with him to be the key figure and advisor in the famous filibuster." – Variety staff, reviewing "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" in 1939

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4. "Stewart's young Wisconsin senator exposing corruption and upholding true American values in a Senate House riddled with graft is quintessential Capra – popular wish-fulfillment served up with such fast-talking comic panache that you don't have time to question its cornball idealism. Scriptwriter Sidney Buchman's crackling dialogue is also lent sharp-tongued conviction by [Claude] Rains, as the slimy senior senator, Jean Arthur as the hard-boiled dame finally won over by Stewart's honesty, and Harry Carey as the Vice President." – Time Out, reviewing "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington"

5. "There are many other excellent performances: Jean Arthur as the cynical secretary with her heart in the right place; Claude Rains as the Senator who plays the game; Thomas Mitchell as a journalist with the sensibilities of a suppressed poet; and many others. Harry Carey as president of the Senate deserves special mention." – Franz Hoellering, The Nation.

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During her acting career, Jean Arthur was cast as the leading role in three Frank Capra movies, but none was more famous than Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, a movie that remains popular to this day and that cemented Arthur's role as one of the great leading ladies of comedy in the 1930s.
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