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The Sun Shines Bright

Screening on Film
Directed by John Ford.
With Charles Winninger, Arleen Whelan, Stepin Fetchit.
US, 1953, 16mm, black & white, 90 min.

One of Ford’s personal favorites, this rarely screened late work offers a fascinating vision of Americana that captures the quaint—and often outright bizarre—charms and disturbing contradictions of small town Kentucky at the end of the 19th century. Returning once more to the figure of Judge Priest, famously played by Will Rogers in two Ford films of the 1930s, The Sun Shine Bright centers its complex cross-section of the town’s many splintered factions—white and African-American, male and female—around the figure of the level-headed and temperate lawman. Punctuated by the lyrical passage of the steamboat, the film interweaves multiple storylines into a polyphonic and choral portrait of a provincial community reluctantly harboring the seeds of inevitable change.

Part of program

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Classic Ford.
A John Ford Retrospective, Part I

Other programs with this film

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John Ford:
A Major Retrospective

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