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Judge Priest (1934)

Approved | | Comedy, Drama, Romance | 28 September 1934 (USA)
Judge Priest, a proud Confederate veteran, uses common sense and considerable humanity to dispense justice in a small town in the Post-Bellum Kentucky.

Director:

John Ford

Writers:

Irvin S. Cobb (based on: character of "Judge Priest"), Dudley Nichols (screen play) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Will Rogers ... Judge Priest
Tom Brown ... Jerome Priest
Anita Louise ... Ellie May Gillespie
Henry B. Walthall ... Rev. Ashby Brand
David Landau ... Bob Gillis
Rochelle Hudson ... Virginia Maydew
Roger Imhof Roger Imhof ... Billy Gaynor
Frank Melton ... Flem Talley
Charley Grapewin ... Sergeant Jimmy Bagby
Berton Churchill ... Senator Horace Maydew
Brenda Fowler Brenda Fowler ... Mrs. Caroline Priest
Francis Ford ... Juror No. 12
Hattie McDaniel ... Aunt Dilsey (as Hattie McDaniels)
Stepin Fetchit ... Jeff Poindexter
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Storyline

Judge William "Billy" Priest lives in a very patriotic (Confederate) southern town. Priest plays a laid-back, widowed judge who helps uphold the law in his toughest court case yet. In the meantime, he plays matchmaker for his young nephew. Written by <marsattack@earthling.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Enough laughs to make your head spin! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

28 September 1934 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Old Judge Priest See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Fox Film Corporation See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(copyright length)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

John Ford later used the line about a drinker's breath being 'like a hot mince pie' in She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949). See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Judge William 'Billy' Priest: Hear! Hear! Hear! Court's called to order!
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening card: The figures in this story are familiar ghosts of my own boyhood. The war between the states was over, but its tragedies and comedies haunted every grown man's mind, and the stories that were swapped took deep root in my memory. There was one man Down Yonder I came especially to admire for he seemed typical of the tolerance of that day and the wisdom of that almost vanished generation. I called him Judge Priest, and I tried to draw reasonably fair likenesses of him and his neighbors and the town in which we lived. An old Kentucky town in 1890. --- --- Irvin S. Cobb See more »

Connections

Featured in Directed by John Ford (1971) See more »

Soundtracks

Aunt Dilsey's Song
(1934) (uncredited)
Music by Cyril J. Mockridge
Lyrics by Dudley Nichols and Lamar Trotti
Sung a cappella by Hattie McDaniel
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Slower than molasses in a Kentucky winter
9 April 2008 | by LCShackleySee all my reviews

This film has about as much content and charm as could fit into a 30-minute short feature. Yet John Ford et al spread this syrupy molasses mixture over 80 minutes.

I like Will Rogers, but his performance as JUDGE PRIEST seems like he's talking in his sleep. His dialog goes so slowly that it almost seems like he's making it up on the spot, while recovering from a blow to the head.

The stock characters and situations may charm a hard-core Dixielander, but for modern viewers, JUDGE PRIEST will seem cornball or downright embarrassing. For instance, it's nice to hear Hattie McDaniel sing, but not Stephen Foster's line, "'tis summer, the darkies are gay." And there's only so much of Stepin Fetchit that anyone, black or white, can take in one sitting. (One of the worst moments is when Will Rogers does an excruciatingly slow bit of dialog where he plays two characters: his own and Fetchit's.) There are some cute Rogers moments, and Francis Ford steals the show as an old Reb jury member who has a sharp eye for a spittoon. But I found myself wanting to hit "fast forward" just to get this slow mule-cart of a movie to get going.


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