7.1/10
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The Sun Shines Bright (1953)

Approved | | Comedy, Drama, Western | 2 May 1953 (USA)
John Ford weaves three "Judge Priest" stories together to form a good- natured exploration of honour and small-town politics in the South around the turn of the century. Judge William ... See full summary »

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (short stories "The Sun Shines Bright", "The Mob from Massac" and "The Lord Provides")
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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Judge William Pittman Priest
...
Lucy Lee Lake
...
Ashby Corwin
Stepin Fetchit ...
...
Dr. Lewt Lake
Ludwig Stössel ...
Herman Felsburg (as Ludwig Stossel)
...
Feeney (Old Backwoodsman)
...
Army Sgt. Jimmy Bagby
Mitchell Lewis ...
Sheriff Andy Redcliffe
...
Buck Ramsey
...
Horace K. Maydew
...
Lucy Lee's Mother
Elzie Emanuel ...
U.S. Grant 'You Ess' Woodford
Henry O'Neill ...
Joe D. Habersham
...
Sterling, Lanky Backwoodsman
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Storyline

John Ford weaves three "Judge Priest" stories together to form a good- natured exploration of honour and small-town politics in the South around the turn of the century. Judge William Priest is involved variously in revealing the real identity of Lucy Lake, reliving his Civil War memories, preventing the lynching of a youth and contesting the elections with Yankee Horace K. Maydew. Written by Bernard Keane <BKeane2@email.dot.gov.au>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

JUDGE BILLY PRIEST...the only man who ever called Mallie Crump a Lady (original one-three-and-six sheet posters) See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Western

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

2 May 1953 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Le soleil brille pour tout le monde  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (video) | (original theatrical)

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

A sequel to John Ford Judge Priest (1934), Charles Winninger replacing Will Rogers as Judge Billy Priest and Stepin Fetchit reprising his role as Jeff Poindexter. Fetchit's film career essentially ended with this movie, until he briefly came out of retirement 19 years later. See more »

Quotes

[the prayer he says at the funeral of Lucy Lee's mother]
Ashby Corwin: Gentle Jesus, meek and mild, / look upon a little child. / Pity her simplicity; / suffer her to come to thee. / Amen.
See more »

Connections

Featured in John Ford (1993) See more »

Soundtracks

My Old Kentucky Home
(uncredited)
Music by Stephen Foster
Arranged by Jester Hairston
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Excoriating the Pharisees
10 September 2006 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

John Ford had a fondness for The Sun Shines Bright. It's a beautiful tale of an honorable old man who even while facing a tough re-election for town judge refuses to be a hypocrite or play up to a lot of his town's hypocrites.

The film was done before as Judge Priest with Will Rogers in the title role. As good as The Sun Shines Bright is, it would have been even better had John Ford not chosen to use Stepin Fetchit in the same part he had in the original film. Stepin Fetchit is, well Stepin Fetchit. Funny thing is that a whole lot of black players are used in this film and their roles are not as stereotypical as his is.

Charles Winninger is every bit as good as Will Rogers in the lead. If you can imagine Captain Andy from Show Boat had he taken up the law instead of show business, you get some idea of what Judge William Pittman Priest is all about. Justice is blind in his courtroom, but it isn't deaf and dumb also. In Winninger's life as well as his courtroom.

He's up for re-election in his small Kentucky county and he's got a hard fighting opponent in prosecutor Milburn Stone. Priest is a proud Confederate veteran, but he's not above saving an innocent black kid from a lynch mob.

Nor is he above a little Christian charity when it comes to seeing a fallen woman who just came to town to see her daughter before she died given a proper funeral service. When no accredited minister will do the service, Winninger fills in at the pulpit and has some choice words taken from the parable about the woman caught in sin.

My favorite scene in The Sun Shines Bright is the funeral procession for the same woman. Winninger is the head of the local United Confederate Veterans and Henry O'Neill is the head of the local Grand Army of the Republic chapter. They are friends and friendly rivals. Yet on that day Republican O'Neill and Democrat Winninger both lead the funeral procession. Too bad our Republicans and Democrats of today can't agree on some common values.

How does this impact on Winninger's election? You'll have to watch the beautiful and poetic The Sun Shines Bright to find out.


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