A Stranger in Town (1943)

Frank Morgan in A Stranger in Town (1943)

Delivering Crown Justice

Supreme Court Justice John Josephus Grant (Frank Morgan) plans to get away from everything to do with the legal system with a bit of duck hunting at Crown Port. But no sooner has his hunting vacation started that it ends when he finds himself in court for not having the appropriate licence, and he quickly realises that Crown Port is full of corrupt officials all on the make. But he meets good guy Bill Adams (Richard Carlson) a local attorney who is running for mayor with little success. Despite wanting to get away from legal matters John takes Bill under his wing to teach him a few tricks to help in trying to bring an end to the corruption. And when John's secretary Lucy (Jean Rogers) shows up with some papers for him there is love in the air when she meets the accident prone Bill.

67 minutes of fast paced fun, whistling along at a pleasant sprint making you laugh with plenty of simple old fashioned Capra-esque comedy. There isn't to be honest a great deal more to say about "A Stranger in Town" other than if you are a fan of those old fashioned small town comedies where you have the morally upright good guys, the nefarious evil businessman and a quirky character this will certainly make you smile.

Jean Rogers and Richard Carlson in A Stranger in Town (1943)

So "A Stranger in Town" is some mischievous old fun which uses some recognizable elements which has a touch of the Frank Capra about it. We have a setting of the small town of Crown Port, the decent local called Bill up against the corrupt officials as well as the cunning and mischievous Judge Grant manipulating things behind the scenes, it is simply old fashioned but classic comedy. And you know where "A Stranger in Town" is going to lead from the minute we meet Lucy the attractive secretary through to Grant aiding Bill but being obvious is strangely part of the movie's charm.

But whilst "A Stranger Town" in style or narrative is nothing out of the ordinary director Roy Rowland handles what is little more than a b-movie quite admirably. He gives the humour of the dialogue and the characters, especially Bill being a bit useless as a lawyer, room to breathe but keeps it moving so that you are never far away from the next fun scene. He also allows Frank Morgan to play Grant with just the right mix of being cantankerous and laconic.

What this all boils down to is that "A Stranger in Town" is nothing special but it is a lot of fun if you are a fan of the old fashioned comedies of the 1940's especially those with a touch of the Frank Capra about them.