Review of Judge Priest

Judge Priest (1934)
Will Rogers as Will Rogers.
28 February 2007
This is warm movie with plenty of sympathetic characters. And plenty of nasty ones. A young love is threatened by a class-conscious mother, while the uncle is… well, he's Will Rogers. (The character's name is the title, Judge Billy Priest, but I suspect he's the "Will Rogers" character.) As with anything cast in the deep south in the 1890s, there are some moments and characters with which you might find yourself uncomfortable. I was taken aback by "Jeff Poindexter," portrayed by then-popular black actor Stepin Fetchit. (Fetchit has an awful, partisan political bio here at IMDb – the man deserves much better -- but he is an interesting story.) He seemed to me to be a set of overblown stereotypes, but the Judge befriends him and my wife was simply taken with him.

There's a lot to like about this film, although it does drag in places. (I was surprised when the lawn party ends.) I had to smile, though, when the judge got to play lawyer, called on witness, and the universe stood still to the strains of "Dixie."
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