Judge Priest

Director: John Ford
Year Released: 1934
Rating: 2.5

A humble mint-julep addict and judge (Will Rogers) rules over his constituents with fairness and calm, and is eventually called upon to help out his nephew (a newly appointed lawyer) defend a man on trial for stabbing another man in a bar. It's a well-intentioned slice-of-life about the American South following the Civil War, but the treatment of the two key African-American characters (Stepin Fetchit and Hattie McDaniel) is enough to cause this Northerner a whole lot of concern - Fetchit, in particular, is your stereotypical "dumb negro" who is pitied by the Rogers character. In Ford fashion, the court case in this doesn't conclude with justice served through facts and truth, but by Flag-waving Southern Pride: who cares if the man did, in fact, stab him? He was a brave soldier, and that's enough for him to be free! "I wish I was in the land of cotton," etc.