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  • blanche-221 October 2007
    Rosalind Russell is the Judge in "Tell it to the Judge," a 1949 film also starring Bob Cummings, Marie McDonald and Gig Young. Russell plays Marsha Meredith, a recently divorced woman up for a judgeship, encouraged in her career by her judge grandfather (Harry Davenport). The ex-husband, however, Pete Webb (Cummings) wants her back. The two are still in love. The divorce was basically a misunderstanding - Webb was working with a beautiful blond witness (McDonald) and Marsha mistook it for something else. Even though it puts her career in jeopardy, Marsha remarries Pete. On their wedding night, her grandfather kidnaps Pete so that Marsha thinks he's up to his old tricks. She then takes off and announces to the press that she's married to someone else, and makes up a name. When Alexander (Gig Young), a man she met previously appears, she has him play the part of her husband.

    This is a typical screwball comedy centering around the struggle that the independent woman has between being a career person and a wife - and apparently back then, it was one or the other. I thought Russell was fine as Marsha, unlike another reviewer - I've seen her miscast, and I didn't think she was this time - but I agree with another remark the poster made, that Bob Cummings steals the movie. Cummings is thought of as a bland film actor, and perhaps he was. What made him a tremendous television star was his sense of comedy, which he didn't get to use much in films but which was his strength. Here he gets to show it off, and a few years later, he made his mark in television.

    A fun movie, not earth-shattering, as films were going through a difficult transition. So apparently were women, and in the '40s, they lost the career battle, only to pick it up again a couple of decades later.
  • This is a fantastic comedy, fast, dynamic, clever and played extremely well by Rosalid Russell and Robert Cummings. Their chemistry is what makes comedies like this work so well, not a moment of boredom, pure laughter!! It's a real pity this is not available on DVD in Europe, I would buy it straight away!! Well...I would buy any movie with Rosalind Russell, especially her comedies. Such actresses are rare to find, she was absolutely great, one of the best and is a real pity that she is so forgotten today. Her timing and skills were absolutely unique, not many actresses are able to carry a comedy like she used to! Also Robert Cummings was very effective, don't know this actor much but I think I will try to find out more about him now!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This movie debuted the same year as ADAM'S RIB and both screwball comedies have a lot in common. Both films are about couples where both spouses are lawyers and both involve the couples going through marital difficulties brought on by their jobs.

    The film begins with Rosalind Russell undergoing a confirmation hearing to make her a federal judge. However, her ex-husband (Robert Cummings) appears at the trial and does everything he can to discredit her. He wants her back in the worst way and will do anything to get her attention. Surprisingly, he is able to scheme his way into agreeing to remarry. However, due to the scheming of her grandfather (Henry Stevenson), Cummings disappears on his wedding night and Russell has had enough--she absolutely won't take him back, as she has no idea that Stevenson was behind the disappearance. And, for that matter, neither does Cummings know how he suddenly woke up on a train headed for Charlotte, North Carolina...and with a suitcase filled with women's clothes!

    The press has found out that Russell has married but they have no idea to whom. She doesn't want to admit that she remarried her ex- and they are already going to get another divorce, so she quickly concocts a crazy tale about her husband getting killed on their wedding day! This "Mr. Rugle" was apparently heading to South America and crashed in Guatemala!!! When Cummings arrives, he informs everyone that Rugle is NOT dead but has survived in order to put Russell on the spot. But, in a case of GOOD quick-thinking (as opposed to her crazy Rugle story), she finds a stand-in to pretend to be Rugle. Now what is Cummnigs to do?! There's a lot more to this screwball comedy.

    While the story is patently silly and tough to believe (and then some), it is high-energy and most enjoyable. Cummings steals the show and shows his deftness with comedy and I'd watch Russell in any comedy, as they always turn out great. It also helped that Gig Young was on hand to play Mr. Rugle--and seeming to enjoy taking advantage of the situation. And, in turn, Cummings did everything he could do to come between them.

    By the way, try reading up on co-star Marie McDonald--her IMDb profile is bizarre yet fascinating.
  • This is absolutely my favorite film of Robert Cummings. He's hysterical and lovable in every scene he is in. Bob plays a lawyer who is newly divorced from Rosalind Russell, and is determined to win her back. She on the other hand is determined to become a federal judge and wants nothing to do with him. A typical setup for the divorce-remorse films that came along in the 40s.

    Then there's Gig Young as the rival for Russell's affection, Clem Bevans as Mr. Roogle (it rhymes with bugle) and Marie McDonald adding a funny twist as the witness who keeps stalking Bob. For the most part, the cast is on top of their game and has some great moments. However, be forewarned, this is not Rosalind Russell's best work by a long shot. Despite the fact that she's given some wonderful performances (Auntie Mame, Trouble With Angels, etc) she's not very strong here and this is one situation where I really think another actress should have been cast. (Too bad Carole Lombard was already gone - she would have been PERFECT.) Some time the twists go a bit too far and get rather tedious on repeat watchings, but this is the screwball genre - it's not supposed to be realistic. It's a fun movie that still makes me laugh no matter how many times I see it. What more can you ask for?
  • The usual misunderstandings and bickering between husband and wife keep things adrift in TELL IT TO THE JUDGE, a comedy that actually sparkles once in awhile but is sometimes too trite to be more than a passable screwball comedy.

    The most charming sequence involves Russell and Cummings finding themselves on the doorstep of a lighthouse run by CLEM BEAVER and having to stay the night, sleeping apart, with Cummings forced to spend much of the night shooing away the huge dog that takes a liking to him. But most of the time, the comedy gets bogged down in a series of misunderstandings that could easily have been cleared up if somebody told the truth once in awhile.

    ROSALIND RUSSELL, as the judge trying to protect her reputation, does her usual fine job with a comic flair that has her handling fast dialog with her usual dexterity. But in this case, it's ROBERT CUMMINGS who gets some of the best moments, proving how adept he was as the bumbling kind of man who gets caught up in screwy situations.

    The breezy script has them fighting throughout before the misunderstandings can be cleared up. MARIE McDONALD and GIG YOUNG are thoroughly wasted in supporting roles, but it doesn't matter because most of the comedy is carried by ROBERT CUMMINGS in one of his best light comedy roles. GIG YOUNG does manage to be amusing in a couple of well played sequences but fortunately had better roles in romantic comedies later on in his career.

    Passes the time pleasantly enough with some nice chemistry between Russell and Cummings.
  • I watched this film again last night and turned in for the night in a thoroughly good mood. Not a character out of place, the players were perfectly chosen for their roles and on top of that, everyone is terrifically likable! Comments regarding thin plots or unnecessary scenes be darned, this film accomplishes what it sets out to do. Tell It To The Judge provides 87 mirthful minutes of diversion, taking the viewer from Washington D.C., to Miami and all the way back to the Adirondacks for it's mixed up, misunderstood and downright happy ending.

    Probably my favorite romantic comedy, sharp dialogue, crazy twists, adorable characters and all.
  • It is not too difficult to see why Robert Cummings is often cast in light comedic fare such as this. His facial expressions alone are worth the price of admission in Tell It to the Judge. And there's something hysterical about seeing him dressed as a train attendant, though it would also have been fun to see Cary Grant in that get-up.

    The only part that drags is the sequence at the lighthouse, which has the film's most unfunny business: something about chopping off the head of a fish. But the film quickly redeems itself, and it reaches its peak with a delightful ski sequence later on. Overall, a fun film with some inspired comic bits by Cummings and costar Rosalind Russell.
  • Thin comedy rests solely on the appeal of the stars, and Rosalind Russell and Robert Cummings are a very companionable screen-team. She's a smart, sharp, yet somewhat clumsy lady lawyer--being nominated for judgeship--whose career may be hindered by her association with Cummings, the no-goodnik ex-husband still in love with her. Some funny set-pieces (such as Roz's bit involving a lipstick mistake) and a predictably sunny, smooth supporting performance by Gig Young as a dashing Romeo make it tolerable, but the script and characters are really second hand. There's a curious, but ridiculous skiing sequence that serves no purpose (except to make Cummings look foolish) and Norman Foster's direction is balky. ** from ****
  • Tell It To The Judge finds Rosalind Russell cast once again as career woman, in this case a lawyer about to be made a federal judge through the machinations of her grandfather Harry Davenport. But Senator Thurston Hall is questioning her character on the grounds of a messy divorce. Shows you how old fashioned this film has become and how terribly dated.

    Her ex-husband wants her back and Bob Cummings as the ex does get her back, kind of, sort of. But after that it all gets kind of wild as she uses Gig Young as a foil against Cummings and Bob keeps getting in trouble trying to hide witness Marie McDonald in one of his cases because Bob is a lawyer as well.

    What director Norman Foster did well with were some great supporting player performances from a cast of seasoned Hollywood professionals. I think the two most memorable are Clem Bevans as a lighthouse keeper with a side contract from Cupid and Douglass Dumbrille as Cummings playboy client. That one was really a case of reverse casting because Dumbrille is best known for playing slick villains, but I wish there had been more of him as the merry making playboy.

    Tell It To The Judge is certainly dated, but while it's not Rosalind Russell's best her fans will not be disappointed.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Wanted to watch a really funny comedy that I had never seen before (and truth be told, I had never even heard of this one.)

    The cast seemed right... Roz Russell, Bob Cummings, Gig Young, assorted character actors to mill around in the background of the plot. What could go wrong ? Well... screwball comedy is one thing and just a bunch of boring, silly people is another.

    No one listened to anyone. Everyone ran around doing silly things. Sleeping pills and knockout drops were used twice to really un-funny effect. A huge dog, a lighthouse and quarantine flags (yawn). Misunderstandings and repeatedly bumped heads (snore). Then there was the whole skiing episode that did absolutely NOTHING for the plot or the funny-bone.

    Give it a miss. They were ALL in movies more worthy of your time.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Director: NORMAN FOSTER. Screenplay: Nat Perrin. Additional dialogue: Roland Kibbee. Story: Devery Freeman. Photography: Joseph Walker. Film editor: Charles Nelson. Art director: Carl Anderson. Set decorator: William Kiernan. Costumes: Jean Louis. Make-up: Fred Phillips. Hair styles: Helen Hunt. Music composed by Werner R. Heymann, directed by Morris W. Stoloff. Assistant director: Sam Nelson. Sound recording: George Cooper. Western Electric Sound System. Producer: Buddy Adler.

    Copyright 16 November 1949 by Columbia Pictures Corp. No New York opening. U.S. release: December 1949. U.K. release: 10 April 1950. Australian release: 30 March 1950. 7,920 feet. 88 minutes.

    SYNOPSIS: Rosalind Russell is the judge-to-be, Robert Cummings her ex-husband who wants her back, Gig Young a playboy type that Russell is successfully using to bait Cummings.

    COMMENT: Robert Cummings certainly wins his spurs on this one as a "light comedian". Bob mugs, grimaces and pratfalls his way through a lot of frantic action before he finally wins the day (and the lady). If you like Mr Cummings (I don't mind him), you'll doubly enjoy the extra cornball efforts he brings to his role here. If you can't stand Cummings, avoid this film at all costs. You have been warned.

    Russell and Young do well by the main supporting slots, but it is young Marie McDonald who will attract most attention. Exquisitely costumed, Miss McDonald's only failure - and it's not her fault - is that her role is so intermittent. She keeps popping in and out of the action. We wish she would stay put for longer, before Cummings hustles her into the inevitable clothes closet.

    Despite some obvious process screen effects, the film is sound technically: The photography's glossy, the music score witty, the sets and costumes appropriately glamorous, whilst Foster's competent if none too subtle direction gets the most out of Perrin's amusing script. In short, this judge found it a most entertaining tale.
  • Vincentiu17 January 2015
    one from many romantic comedies from the 40's . not extraordinary but nice. and lovely for the seductive performance of Robert Cummings. a film about true love and the situations who transforms it in project. absurd in many scenes, lovely at all, it is the genre of film who seems be open window to a past period. because it has the innocence, the great, the flavor of lost age. Rosalind Russell could be the only challenge for viewer. because it is only a decent option for the role of judge but her rhythm is very different by Cummings' and that gives some fake nuances to the story. an inspired presence - Harry Davenport in a small role. short, a lovely movie. from the heart decade of a magnificent period for cinema.
  • AAdaSC15 July 2018
    Lawyer Rosalind Russell (Marsha) wants to be a judge but there is a committee that is judging her before her appointment. And they are not happy about her recent divorce. Fellow lawyer Bob Cummings (Pete) is her ex-husband who still loves her and wants her back but several misunderstandings concerning witness Marie McDonald (Ginger) in one of his cases makes sure that Roz doesn't feel the same way. It's a screwball comedy so we know the outcome. Roz Russell is a total bitch in this film and Cummings is unrealistically in love with her. The story makes absolutely no sense and will have you groaning every time Cummings bangs his head. When is that ever funny? The answer is never. There are actually a few moments that made me laugh, eg, the alphabet conversation between Roz and suitor Gig Young (Darvac) at a bar when Roz is trying to make Cummings jealous. However, no way would he still be interested in this awful woman. It should be quite clear to her that she has been mistaken and he is doing his job by helping a witness. She's in the same industry as him!

    Of more interest is the storyline with Marie McDonald which never really takes off. The lasting image I have of the film is the end shot of her in the closet. I have read her profile on IMDB after watching the film and it is way more interesting than the film. She killed herself at age 42 and seems to have crammed in quite a lot before that point.

    The film is one of those 1940s comedies that you either like or don't like. It proves that comedies are the most difficult genre to carry off and a lot of the humour is dated along with the stereotypical characters of bumbling husband running after wife and total bitch of a wife who wants a career over being a nice human being. Roz needs to sharpen up on her cooking skills - see the fish sequence - and concentrate on pleasing her man.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    There are a lot of laughs to be found in this screwball comedy that once again involves Rosalind Russell playing a professional woman (high ranking attorney) up for a prestigious judgeship and finding obstacles at every angle by ex-husband Robert Cummings, a fellow lawyer she remarries out of the blue and ends up wanting a divorce on the very night of the second ceremony. He's involved in a confidential case that he can't tell her about, ironically handed to him by her retired judge grandfather (Harry Davenport).

    Suspicions over his gangster's moll client (Marie McDonald) sets her on edge, causing her to use sophisticated playboy Gig Young to make him simmer. Lots of pratfalls follow, stranding Russell and Cummings on Clem Bevan's lighthouse island, finds the two on a ski trip, and has Russell smudging her make-up in funny ways and getting soaked by falling through loose dock boards while escaping from an illegal gambling joint.

    This is very formula for a typical Rosalind Russell screwball comedy, the same basic set-up as the type of comedy she'd been doing since "His Girl Friday". The following year's "A Woman of Distinction", costarring Ray Milland, was nearly the same, but probably because I saw that several times years before I saw this, I consider that one a better film. It's whimsical but predictable, but Russell's formula is one worth downing over and over.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    (Flash Review)

    This is a soft 40s Rom/Com revolving around marital misunderstandings. The movies kicks off with a recently divorced couple, who are both attorneys, end up stuck in a lighthouse accessed only by boat. The husband claims he is blamed for events culminating in the divorce based on circumstantial evidence. The relationship/marriage turmoil is also complicating the wife's Federal Judge appointment. That's the crux of the plot. Then the film turns back the clock and shows what caused the circumstantial evidence and the misunderstandings. Amusing for the 40s and is peppered with light-hearted comedic quips and amusing scenarios.
  • Kirpianuscus24 January 2017
    a nice film. seductive for the flavor of "40. and for Robert Cummings. for naive story and the amusing scenes. and, sure, for the unrealistic script. short, a nice film about a love story not original as duel between him and her but for few scenes who are good chances to remain, for long time, memorable. one of the temptations, at first sigh, could be the presence of Rosalind Russell. unfortunately, only at first sigh. because her performance has two sides - too loud, too bizarre in front with the partner work. but , in essence, it could be perceived as a page of history. this is the key of a charming film about the fight in couple.