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The Judge Steps Out

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Judge Steps Out
The Judge Steps Out poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byBoris Ingster
Screenplay byBoris Ingster
Alexander Knox
Story byBoris Ingster
Produced byMichael Kraike
StarringAlexander Knox
Ann Sothern
George Tobias
Sharyn Moffett
Florence Bates
Frieda Inescort
Myrna Dell
CinematographyRobert De Grasse
Edited byLes Millbrook
Music byLeigh Harline
Distributed byRKO Pictures
Release dates
February 1, 1948 (London)
  • June 2, 1949 (1949-06-02)
Running time
91 minutes
CountryUnited States

The Judge Steps Out is a 1948 American comedy film directed by Boris Ingster and written by Ingster and Alexander Knox. The film stars Knox and Ann Sothern, along with George Tobias, Sharyn Moffett, Florence Bates, Frieda Inescort and Myrna Dell. The film was completed in March 1947, but its American release was held up until June 2, 1949, by RKO Pictures.[1][2][3] The film was retitled Indian Summer in Great Britain and the Commonwealth.[4]


Thomas Bailey is bored with his job as a probate judge in Boston and appears to be just going through the motions as he decides against a mother in a custody case in favor of the child’s more conservative grandfather. At home, he’s a milquetoast to his self-centered and domineering wife Evelyn, who appears to despise her husband for his lack of ambition. She tries to get him a position as a Washington lobbyist for a large industrial company. Tom agrees to go to Washington to check things out. While on the train he develops what appears to be an ulcer and stops at a small town where the local doctor prescribes a break from everything, both family and business.

Tom takes some time out to go fishing, forgetting to send a telegram to his wife. Feeling guilty about this short respite, he returns home to overhear his wife speaking disparagingly about him to her friends. He slips out of the house unnoticed and, after weeks of travelling across the country, finds a job as a short-order cook at a roadside cafe in California run by a woman called Peggy (Ann Sothern).

Tom is happy in his new life, and he and Peggy fall in love. However Peggy is trying to adopt a girl, Nan, and is struggling with the legal process. Tom tries to help with adoption papers, but Peggy is rejected. Tom realizes that the courts are prejudiced against Peggy, partly because she is unmarried and has a man living in her restaurant/residence. Moreover, he realizes that he himself was prejudiced in his decision against the woman at the beginning of the movie. He perfunctorily handed over the woman’s child to her grandfather simply because he was rich and had gone to Harvard.

Tom returns to Boston to resolve this miscarriage of justice, and succeeds with both. While appealing the case to the Appellate court he is offered a seat on the bench. He declines this as he wishes to return to California, Peggy and Nan. Planning to end things with Evelyn, he finds she has changed. She is now less self-centred; more empathetic and almost loving towards Tom.

Despite Evelyn's sadness, Tom prepares to return to California. He arrives at the train station but realizes that he loves the law, and that running off to California is only a childish dream. Unexpectedly, Peggy shows up at the station and, in a brief exchange, they explain how they have each found happiness; Peggy with Nan, and Tom in Boston. Tom gives his ticket to Peggy for her to return to California, and they part affectionately. Tom watches the train leave, and returns to his home.



The film recorded a loss of $650,000.[5]


  1. ^ "The Judge Steps Out (1949) - Overview -". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved 20 September 2014.
  2. ^ "The Judge Steps Out". TV Guide. Retrieved 20 September 2014.
  3. ^ "Movie Review - The Judge Steps Out (1949)". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 September 2014.
  4. ^ 08 Mar 1949 -p.2 Geraldton Guardian - 8 March 1949
  5. ^ Richard B. Jewell, Slow Fade to Black: The Decline of RKO Radio Pictures, Uni of California, 2016

External links

This page was last edited on 24 August 2022, at 05:26
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