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The Jury's Secret

The Jury's Secret(1938)

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This film's working titles were More Than Love, Deadlocked and Deadlock. According to files in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, on October 6, 1937, Joseph I. Breen, Director of the PCA, wrote to Universal censor Harry H. Zehner informing him that this film was in violation of the Production Code because of "the kidding and ridiculing of the administration of justice, which tends to undermine respect for, and confidence in the law." Breen listed his particular objections as follows: "The judge's deliberate wise-cracking while on the bench seems inconsistent with judicial dignity....omit wink on the part of Juror Graves, in order to avoid this suggestion of perjury. All the business of the Judge examining a catalogue for fly rods on the bench, practicing in his chambers, being dressed for fishing, and impatient to get away, is an undue and anti-social reflection on the not exhibit any money in connection with the poker game in the jury room. The business of the Foreman tossing a coin for the verdict is objectionable, and must be omitted." Breen also objected to part of "Sheldon's" speech in which he refers to "a powerful lobby in the United States Senate," and suggested the line, "He controlled the political machine." Breen asked that Universal omit the "gruesome details" in showing the stabbing of "Williams," advised subsituting the words "public sentiment" for "lynch mob" in the newspaper insert, and suggested that a reference be made to some other criminal than the "Lindbergh kidnapper." A memo dated October 12, 1937 states that, as a result of a conference with PCA officials and Universal executives, "it is definitely understood that in the finished picture, there must be nothing that would cast reflection on the Judiciary or the Judicial processes." Despite Breen's protestations, in the final print, the judge is preoccupied with his fishing trip, and the jury is more interested in being released from their duty than in insuring that justice is served. This film includes stock footage of floods. The Universal production files found at the USC Cinema/Television Library contain discrepancies with the Call Bureau Cast Service of the character names of some of the film's bit players.