Judge Priest

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A loose amalgam of Irwin S Cobb stories which Ford later reshaped, personalised and perfected as The Sun Shines Bright. This was the second of three Ford films to star Rogers, the crackerbarrel humorist perfectly cast here as the lazy gadfly who stings a small-town Southern community, still divided by prejudice and the lingering legacy of Civil War conflicts, into shamed awareness of its intolerances. A warmly funny, richly atmospheric slice of Americana, it ran some front office interference (removal of a scene involving the attempted lynching of Stepin Fetchit was one reason for the remake), and shows Ford sometimes fumbling for the touch of poetry that later came so easily (the scene in which Rogers talks to his dead wife was more fully achieved in Young Mr Lincoln and She Wore a Yellow Ribbon). But it's still terrific.

Release details

Duration: 80 mins

Cast and crew

Director: John Ford
Screenwriter: Lamar Trotti, Dudley Nichols
Cast: Stepin Fetchit
Will Rogers
Henry B Walthall
Tom Brown
Rochelle Hudson
Hattie McDaniel
Anita Louise
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