Watch Judge Priest
- 1 hr 20 min
Judge Priest is a 1934 American film directed by John Ford and starring Will Rogers, Tom Brown, and Anita Louise. The movie is set in the small town of Kentucky, in the early years of the 20th century. It is based on the short stories by American author Irvin S. Cobb. Will Rogers plays the role of Judge William "Billy" Priest, a witty and beloved judge in the small town of Kentucky. Priest is a traditionalist, who is respected by the locals for his unwavering sense of justice and fair-play. The story revolves around the trial of a young African American man named Jeff Poindexter (Tom Brown), who is accused of horse stealing.
The movie highlights the racial tensions that existed in the southern United States during the early 1900s. The town of Kentucky is divided into two factions: the white supremacists and the African American community. Judge Priest is depicted as a wise and level-headed person who recognizes the problem of racial discrimination in his town but tries to maintain the peace between the two factions.
As the trial progresses, Judge Priest begins to unravel the truth behind the accusations made against Poindexter. He realizes that the young man is innocent and has been framed by a group of white supremacists who want to provoke a racial divide in the town. Judge Priest uses his wit and legal skills to expose the culprits and acquits Poindexter, much to the delight of the African American community.
In addition to the main plot, the movie also explores the personal life of Judge Priest. He is shown to be a widower who has a close relationship with his African American maid, Aunt Dilsey (played by Hattie McDaniel). Dilsey is portrayed as a wise and strong-willed woman who is the moral compass of the town.
The gentle humor and satire in the movie create a warm and inviting atmosphere, which is a hallmark of John Ford's cinematic style. The director maintains a light-hearted tone throughout the movie, even when dealing with serious themes such as racial discrimination. The film provides a unique insight into the everyday life of rural America in the early 1900s, with its rich visual imagery, folksy dialogues, and vibrant characters.
The standout performance in the movie is by Will Rogers, whose natural charm and comic timing give life to the character of Judge Priest. He infuses the role with warmth and sincerity, making it impossible not to root for him as a hero who stands up for justice and equality. Similarly, Tom Brown's portrayal of Jeff Poindexter is poignant and powerful, as he embodies the struggles of African Americans in a segregated society.
Judge Priest is a movie that has stood the test of time and remains a classic example of the kind of films that were popular in the 1930s. It is a heartwarming story that teaches us the importance of tolerance, empathy, and the value of a fair trial. The movie portrays the spirit of America during a bygone era, when life was simpler, and people found solace in the simple joys of friendship, family, and community.
Judge Priest is a 1934 comedy with a runtime of 1 hour and 20 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.2.