Tell It to the Judge

Tell It to the Judge is a 1949 American romantic comedy film directed by Norman Foster and starring Rosalind Russell as a divorcee who tries to get back her ex-husband, played by Robert Cummings.[1]

Tell It to the Judge
Directed byNorman Foster
Produced byBuddy Adler
Written byDevery Freeman (story)
Roland Kibbee (add. dialogue)
Screenplay byNat Perrin
Allan Scott
StarringRosalind Russell
Robert Cummings
Music byWerner R. Heymann
CinematographyJoseph Walker
Edited byCharles Nelson
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release date
  • November 18, 1949 (1949-11-18)
Running time
87 minutes
CountryUnited States


Appointed to be a federal judge, Marsha Meredith (Rosalind Russell) is questioned by a U.S. Senate committee, specifically about her divorce from lawyer Peter Webb (Robert Cummings).

She returns home to Palm Beach, Florida, where soon Peter shows up to depose showgirl Ginger Simmons (Marie McDonald) for his defense of gangster George Ellerby (Douglass Dumbrille). In a fit of jealousy at spotting her ex-husband with another woman, Marsha picks up Alexander Darvac (Gig Young) in a bar and accompanies him to a gambling spot, which is raided.

Peter helps her escape notoriety. They steal a boat and hide out in a lighthouse, where they rekindle their romance. They remarry, but her grandfather, Judge Meredith (Harry Davenport), persuades them not to publicize that fact until the Senate confirms her appointment.

Ellerby jumps bail. Ginger tries to take Peter to him and they are seen again by Marsha, who is furious. She invents a story to reporters, who have heard rumors about Marsha's new marriage. She claims she wed a man named Roogle (Clem Bevans) who died on their wedding night.

Marsha goes to her friend Kitty's cabin in the mountains to get away from the limelight. Peter, to get even, announces that Roogle is alive and on his way. Marsha ends up asking Darvac to pretend to be Roogle, but has to knock out Darvac when he tries to claim his privileges as her "husband."

In the end, after the confusion is sorted out, Marsha decides that if she has to choose, being married to Peter would make her happier than her career. She comes home and finds Ginger and Darvac knocked out in the closet.



The title was originally What My Next Husband Will Be and was announced in June 1948 as a vehicle for Lucille Ball.[2] By October the lead had gone to Rosalind Russell.[3] In November Buddy Adler was attached to produce.[4] Filming was to begin in January with John Lund discussed as co-star.[5]Norman Foster signed to direct in December 1948.[6] Then Fred MacMurray agreed to co star.[7]

The title was changed to Tell it to the Judge in April 1949, by which time Bob Cummings signed to star.[8]

Norman Foster directed the film which stated 5 April. In May 1949 Charles Vidor was called in to direct re-takes.[9]


  1. TELL IT TO THE JUDGE Monthly Film Bulletin; London Vol. 16, Iss. 181, (Jan 1, 1949): 218.
  2. Hopper, Hedda. "Looking at Hollywood". Chicago Tribune, 24 June 1948: B6.
  3. Hopper, Hedda. "Looking at Hollywood". Chicago Tribune, 18 Oct 1948: b11.
  4. "NEW ARCTIC FILM WILL BE PRODUCED" New York Times, 4 Nov 1948: 38.
  5. Schallert, Edwin. "Lund Starring Hinted With Rosalind Russell; 'Agreement' Wins Again". Los Angeles Times, 20 Dec 1948: B7.
  6. THOMAS F. BRADY. "HUGHES OPENS DEAL WITH MOVIE STUDIO: Seeks to Readjust Financing and Distribution Contract With Independent Artists". New York Times, 20 Dec 1948: 31.
  7. Hopper, Hedda. "Unique Zanuck Film Aimed at Star Trio". Los Angeles Times, 30 Dec 1948: 10.
  8. "RKO BUYS 2 STORIES FOR FUTURE MOVIES". New York Times, 15 Apr 1949: 30.
  9. "U-I ASKS DAMAGES ON 'CASBAH' FILM". New York Times, 18 May 1949: 33.

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