11 October 2004 | sol1218
Here Come Da Judge.. Here Come Da Judge
***SPOILERS*** Taking a long needed vacation from his duties as a United States Supreme Court Justice the Honorable Judge John Josephus Grant, Frank Morgan, goes to the little sleepy town of Crownport to among other things go duck hunting. What the judge doesn't realize is what a den of corruption and thievery that town is.
As soon as the judge went out hunting he was a victim of a shake-down by the towns game warden Warren Todd, Olin Howlin. Todd with the help of Crownport Judge Austin Harkley, Porter Hall, fleeced the startled judge of $100.00 in fines for not having a Crownport hunting license even though he had a state hunting license. The judge didn't even have a chance to get off one shot before he was stopped by Game Warden Todd.
Judge Grant decides to remain undercover and clean up the town of Crownport and finds help in a honest but bumbling politician running for mayor Bill Adams, Richard Carlson. The judge also calls his private secretary Lucy Gilbert, Jean Rogers, to come over to lend him and Bill a hand. That Lucy can really swing a mean and heavy law book when things get out of hand in the film.
The mayor of the town of Crownport James Connison, Robert Barrat, is a sleazy shyster who uses all the power of his office as well as a gang of head breaking goons to keep everyone in order. Now he's having trouble with Bill running against him for mayor and does everything he can to sabotage his campaign. First he has Bill evicted from his offices because of a health hazard which was that Bill had some wood there and it was determined by Connison's health inspectors that the lumber would attract termites. Next the mayor has his goons assault Bill and when he fights back, very badly, he's arrested for disturbing the peace and thrown in jail.
Lucy is also arrested with Bill on trumped up charges as she defended herself as well as Bill with a heavy law book that she broke a couple of Connison's goons heads with. Meanwhile judge Grant slowly works his magic or better yet knowledge of the law, behind the scenes, to build an air-tight case against the Connison mob. The goons working for him begin to chicken out as they realize that their slowly getting their necks in a ringer by the skillful and wily Judge Grant.
There's also a romance developed in the movie between Bill and Lucy and at the end of the film they get married and guess just who's the justice of the peace at their wedding? With the noose tightening around Mayor Connison's neck his goons and even his hand picked stooge of a judge Judge Harkley desert him. Connison, being the arrogant and power hungry jerk that he is, is the last one to realize that he's been set up and shot down. At a town hall meeting where Connison thinks that he's about to be anointed mayor he's exposed as a crooked politician and a man who betrayed the trust that the good people of Crownport gave to him. It's there when Judge Grant finally reveals who he is, not just a stranger in town but the United States Supreme Court Justice John Josephus Grant.
Mayor Connison who thought all this time that he was running the show is practically run out of town and ends up, together with his goon squad, behind bars. "A Stranger in Town" gives the audience a fine civic lesson about the responsibilities of being a good American citizen which Judge Grant brings out at the end of the movie with a stirring speech about what America really stands for and what the saying "The Land of the Free and The Home of the Brave" really means.
Worth watching now as it was back then in 1943 about an America that was meant to be in the nation that our founding fathers fought and died for back during the American Revolutionary War.