On weekends when the Walker Cinema is empty, Headline Rewind points out other worthwhile films that respond to headlines from the week that was.
News Event: Wendy Davis’ Filibuster
There’s just too much happening this week to keep our film recommendations down to one!
Although it received less ‘official’ press than Wednesday’s Supreme Court Rulings, Fort Worth Democrat Wendy Davis’ filibuster of the Texas State Senate on Tuesday night drew a firestorm of attention on social media, particularly Twitter. Throughout her 14-hour stand against a proposed bill to ban abortion in Texas, support poured in from across the nation with the hash-tag “#StandWithWendy”—even President Obama shared the filibuster live-stream link and tweeted: “Something special is happening in Austin tonight.”
Nor is it the first time Davis has starred in this age-old piece of political theater; her 2011 filibuster of a budget bill including massive public education funding cuts also forced Perry to institute a special session to pass the budget. And although the practical victory from Tuesday may be short-lived (Texas Governor Rick Perry has already called a second special session for next Monday), the marathon stand for abortion rights has made Wendy Davis an overnight political celebrity, and represents a strong ideological victory for women’s rights. As Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards responded, “She’s carrying every woman in the state of Texas, if you will, on her shoulders.”
Film Recommendation: You Can’t Take It With You by Frank Capra
Something about the filibuster not only makes good political theater, but good cinema. The internet is already rippling with speculations as to who will play Wendy Davis in a film version of the event, and plenty of headlines in the aftermath of Tuesday have drawn associations between her efforts and the Frank Capra classic film Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, even inspiring this poster-pastiche for a film entitled Ms. Davis Goes to Austin.
So instead of making the obvious recommendation—although if you haven’t seen Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, run, don’t walk, to your nearest viewing location (available on DVD from Netflix and streaming on Amazon Prime)—I’m going to recommend another great Frank Capra film.
Like Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Frank Capra’s 1938 film You Can’t Take It With You stars Jean Arthur and Jimmy Stewart, this time paired as star-crossed lovers from different walks of life. Tony (Stewart) comes from the stuffy Kirby dynasty, and Alice (Arthur) hails from the free-wheeling Sycamore clan. When the two families meet for dinner, hilarity and ideological conflict ensue, and everyone gets arrested. Based on a Pulitzer Prize-winning play by Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman, The New York Times has called it a “paean to populism,” the film won several Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director, and features a tender performance by the aging Lionel Barrymore.
You Can’t Take It With You is available on DVD and Blu-Ray from Netflix, and instant streaming on Amazon Prime. If you can’t get enough Frank Capra, Lady for a Day is also available to stream on Netflix, as are a number of other Capra classics are available on Amazon Prime, including Arsenic and Old Lace.