A few questions

1. Why is it called One Potato Two Potato? I know Ellen Mary plays it before the judge talks to her. Is the point that the world around us disrupts happiness?

2. What did the judge discover in his conversation with Ellen Mary that led to his decision? Did he think she was too naive and ignorant of the situation?

3. Is it correct to say that Joe had no prior dealings with black people? When he talks to the priest he says something like "You know what they say about them," as if he has no personal experience.

4. Was the judge aware of the rape attempt? The framing device of the film is as a review of court testimony, so the implication is that everything we see before the verdict was spoken in court. So, if he was, did that still factor into his decision?

And so Governor Devlin, because even the cost of freedom can be too high, I REFUSE your pardon!


I suppose that not many lawyers visit this site. Your questions were probably a little too thoughtful and insightful for simple response. The judge's behavior also puzzled me. One of the most basic requirements for determining child custody in court cases is that a judge or other authority interview the child, regardless of age or competence, to try to determine the child's wishes regarding which parent is preferred. Obviously, the judge in this case ignored that tenant completely and rendered a decision based entirely on his own prejudices. But then, it was more than fifty years ago, and in a small town, so perhaps it was typical of the time. It was a point of strong emotional connection for me as I watched the film totally detached from its interracial implications, since it reminded me of my experience in losing custody of a child primarily as a result of being male in a court system that views children as a woman's responsibility.