John Ford's The Sun Shines Bright, is an "interesting" film.
As a 1953 release, it was on the cusp of movements toward real racial equality, but in many ways it plays like the re-make of the 1934 Will Rogers film, Judge Priest, which it basically is, down to the inclusion of Stepin Fetchit, a slow-moving "yowsah-speaking," intelligent black actor, whose career went back to 1925, literally the dark ages, when it came to racial propriety.
While I don't want to ponder on Mr. Fetchit, who was a superb comedic actor (real name Lincoln Theodore Monroe Andrew Perry, born in Key West Florida. I'm going to quote here from iMDB:
"Stepin Fetchit was an evolution of a later construction, the "coon" who undermined his white oppressors by denying his labor and cooperation through an act of defiance that included the appearance of being lazy and stupid. Essential to the "coon" persona was talking in what to white ears is gibberish (which Perry excelled at), but which to black folk can be understood and contains barbed insults to "The Man." What rankles so badly (since the Coon remains a stereotype that resonates in African-American culture) is that white audiences swallowed Perry's Stepin Fetchit act whole, as a true representation of a "Negro.""
And this is the single point, as much as I love the works of Mr. Ford, which gives me consummate discomfort about this film. It's the same feeling that I had, when referencing Technicolor's original cutting continuity to Jesse James (1939), which (apparently not knowing his name) referred to actor Ernest Whitman in shorthand as "darky." That's the kind of thing, even in historical perspective, that make the hair on the back of my head stand at attention.
That aside, Olive's new Blu-ray via Paramount, is a nice affair. I find it a bit overly-grainy -- I have no idea what's going on, but the grain is right in one's face, and needn't be.
Gray scale is quite nice. Black levels fine. All in all, a very nice outing for a new Blu-ray.
Mr. Ford, whether joking or not, commented that this was one of his favorites in his pantheon of works. He directed over 2500 films over a 90 year span.
What's important is that we now have one more late Ford production, and generally speaking the Blu-ray is a treasure. I'll not mention the need for a bit of digital clean-up.
Image - 4
Audio - 4.5