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 ...
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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>
[the prayer he says at the funeral of Lucy Lee's mother]
Gentle Jesus, meek and mild, / look upon a little child. / Pity her simplicity; / suffer her to come to thee. / Amen.
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Three known versions exist: a 90, 92, and 100 minute version. When originally prepared the film ran 100 minutes, which the studio forced Ford to cut to 92 minutes. When the film did poorly it was cut by another two minutes. The 90 minute cut became the standard TV print. The 100 minute cut was accidentally discovered after preparing a video print. The print given to Republic Video was Ford's personal copy, which had never been publicly viewed. Thus the main print in circulation is the 100 minute "director's cut". See more »
I will make an introductory, Autobiographical comment.I am , by training, a Political Theorist and a student of American Institutions.A long time ago, I saw a list of the ten greatest films ever made. The only one I had never heared of was The Sun Shines Bright...Only later did I discover that Ford listed it, with Wagonmaster, as one of his two favorite films. I wrote an essay on Fords "democratic poetics" for a course on Tocqueville(!)In the essay, I analyzed Wagonmaster and the Sun Shines Bright. Wagonmaster(implicitly) and The Sunshines Bright(explicitly)are films about politics, and about democracy. Wagonmaster is ,in fact a pilgrimage narrative, while The Sunshines Bright takes place in a "polis", the tiny Kentucky town of Fairfield,during an election.The whole story is, in fact, a meditation on democracy, leadership, compassion and tradition.Charles Winninger is superb. The Prostitutes funeral,with its closing scene in the church,where Priest quotes the Bible, is simply grand.The parade at the end is very touching, and the final shot of the lonely, but beloved Priest walking alone into his house, is almost equal to the end of The Searchers....Ford was indeed the grand lion of the cinema.
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