John Ford often cited this 1953 American drama as his favourite among all of his films. The master director weaves together three Judge Priest stories by Irving S. Cobb to form a good-natured exploration of honour and small-town politics in the South around the turn of the century. Ford had adapted some of the same material in 1934 for his film Judge Priest, which originally featured an (anti-)lynching scene that was cut by 20th Century Fox. This became one of the reasons why Ford insisted he revisit the material.

For its time an unconventional and liberal film, denouncing the hypocrisy of a community. Yet while "hating the sin, but not the sinner", it is certainly not without racial clichés and cartoon-like black characters. The Sun Shines Bright remains a masterpiece, but also an illustration that films tell as much about when they were made as the period they depict.

Filmmaker
John Ford
Country
USA
Year
1953
Medium
DCP
Length
90’
Language
English
Producer
John Ford, Merian C. Cooper
Production Company
Argosy Pictures
Sales
Park Circus Limited
Writer
Laurence Stallings, Based on writings by Irvin S. Cobb
Cinematography
Archie Stout
Editor
Jack Murray
Production Design
Frank Hotaling
Sound Design
T.A. Carman, Howard Wilson
Music
R. Dale Butts
Cast
Charles Winninger, Arleen Whelan, John Russell, Stepin Fetchit, Russell Simpson, Ludwig Stössel, Francis Ford