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Jessie Royce Landis
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James Ragan, a brilliant criminal lawyer is fed up with his lucrative practice and longs to retire to a quiet judgeship, but his reputation for legal, if not always ethical, courtroom tricks sidetracks his desire and he continues with his chosen profession. Afrer several exciting (and episodic) cases, requiring all his talents, including defending his personal bodyguard, "Moose" Hendrcks on a murder charge,he eventually get an appointment and becomes known as Judge Ragan. Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
Pat O'Brien stars in this B film programmer as a most successful criminal attorney well aware that he's called shyster behind his back and occasionally to his face. As we see in the film this man has a lot of tricks up his sleeve to get clients off. But he'd really like to become a judge and leave it all behind.
His skills are way to valuable and the best scenes in the film are those with the extralegal methods he uses to gain acquittals. He's got a nice team of associates including secretary Jane Wyatt, office boy Marvin Kaplan, and general factotum Mike Mazurki. He also has an ambitious and treacherous associate in Robert Shayne who wants to take over.
O'Brien's unsavory reputation has also kept him from the bench as the Bar Assocation and the white shoe lawyers that run it like Carl Benton Reid keep O'Brien from the judgeship. Then when Reid has need of O'Brien he has a miraculous conversion in his thinking.
Mazurki stands out in this film one of his best performances and he too needs O'Brien in the end. His best scene is with Wyatt when he tells her why he's just become O'Brien's factotum. In the supporting cast the unbilled Mary Alan Hokanson has one great scene with O'Brien as the widow of a man who was killed in a motor vehicle incident that O'Brien gets the driver off.
By the way, the way O'Brien does it is one for the books.
Criminal Lawyer, almost criminal not to watch it.
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