4 January 2014 | lshelhamer
Karen Morley is the real find
This story of the travails or a new Senator in Washington obviously brings to mind the later "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington". Both men are idealistic freshman Senators, who's first name happens to be Jefferson. However, James Stewart is a young neophyte, while here Lionel Barrymore is a mature experienced lawyer. One sticks to his idealism despite being pressured by back room power brokers, while the other succumbs to the blandishments of sex and money.
The plot gives Barrymore ample opportunity to emote through several speeches and scenes. But the real find here is Karen Morley. She starts out as a Perle Mesta-type Washington hostess, while also being in the employ of lobbyists. Later she marries Barrymore, and for much of the mid portion of the film, one can almost believe she is actually falling in love with her much older husband and might eventually switch sides. However, towards the end she shows her true colors.
The final scenes seem hurried and the ending contrived. But the film is still worthwhile both for Ms. Morley acting and as a comparison to the later James Stewart picture.