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In the small town of Crown Port local attorney Bill Adams is trying to break up the ring of corrupt town officials by running for mayor. The cards seemed stacked against him when he gets help from a visiting hunter who, unknown to Adams and the rest of the town, is actually vacationing supreme court justice John Josephus Grant. Written by
Doug Sederberg <firstname.lastname@example.org>
"A Stranger in Town" holds up very well after sixty-three years. The only part that seems curious and quaint today is the closing with Joe Grant (The Wizard of Oz, aka Frank Morgan) giving a rousing patriotic speech (remember this was made during the height of World War II). The court packing scheme of President Roosevelt was still fresh on the movie goer's mind, having been all over the news a short six years earlier. So having a Supreme Court justice go incognito was apropos in 1943. Today, few would recognize a Supreme Court justice if they tripped over one. So no need for a disguise. Changing times.
Associate Justice Josephus Grant attempting to get away from it all goes on a duck-hunting vacation to the small town of Crown Port. He no sooner arrives than he is arrested and tried for not having a local hunting license but in reality because he wouldn't pay off the local police official who caught him. It becomes obvious to Grant that he has chosen a corrupt town for his vacation. Enter a reform candidate for mayor, Bill Adams (Richard Carlson), who has virtually given up any hope of winning. Grant rallies Adams onward and upward by teaching him tricks of the trade in the court room. Fighting city hall becomes more fun when Grant's business-like, yet attractive and smart, secretary, Lucy Gilbert (Jean Rogers), comes to town to bring Grant important papers concerning a case the Court is hearing. Yes, it is love at first sight between Adams and Lucy. Much of the fun centers on Adams' clumsiness and shyness in trying to court Lucy. The election heats up with all sorts of humorous skulduggery until the showdown involving a free-for-all brawl on the street in front of Adams' campaign headquarters.
This film is so fast-paced with fine acting by all involved, including a gallery of character actors such as Chill Wills, Olin Howland, Donald MacBride, Porter Hall, and even Eddy Waller in a bit part, that it proves extremely entertaining with many a wry comment on the politics of the day, which are not unlike the politics of today.
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