The Sun Shines Bright | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

The Sun Shines Bright 

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My favorite John Ford feature (1953) was also the director's, and it's one of his cheapest and coziest, made in black and white at Republic Pictures. Vaguely a remake of his 1934 Judge Priest, set in an idyllic Kentucky town at the turn of the century, it features the same alcoholic hero--this time played by Charles Winninger and even more transparently a stand-in for Ford. The busy plot, confused by insensitive studio cutting, concerns racial strife, prostitution, prudery, and death and involves the entire community; Ford makes the film a ceremonial elegy and testament to everything that he loves and respects. With Stepin Fetchit, John Russell, Arleen Whelan, Francis Ford (in his last screen appearance), and Slim Pickens (in his first). 90 min. Screening in a double feature with Judge Priest (see separate listing). Sun 1/29, 7 PM, Univ. of Chicago Doc Films.

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