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Comedic relief in court

Thursday was a day of high drama in Doylestown, as court proceedings surrounding the locally-made film, The North Star (featuring former Eagles linebacker Jeremiah Trotter), nearly prevented the film's writer and director, Thomas Phillips, from attending its premier at the County Theater. The full run-down of the drama can be found here.

But some comedic relief was found occasionally during the day from an unlikely source: Bucks County Judge Alan Rubenstein.

Rubenstein, the man in charge of deciding whether an injunction should be granted to stop the film from premiering, offered several quips throughout the day-long proceedings that had even the defendants and plaintiffs begrudgingly grinning. Among the best:

  1. The plaintiffs brought a DVD forward as evidence, which they claimed contained a bootlegged copy of the film, but Phillips' attorney said he couldn't be sure the movie was actually on the DVD since he hadn't seen it. Rubenstein deadpanned, "Well, unless he smuggled in a copy of Ben Hur."

  2. When the attorneys were quibbling over the film industry qualifications of a witness' grandfather, Rubenstein interjected: "Let's assume his grandfather was Cecil B. DeMille," the famed director of films such as Cleopatra and The Ten Commandments.

  3. And around 4:15 p.m., five hours after the proceedings began, but with closing arguments still hours away, Rubenstein calmly noted, "By the time we finish this hearing, it'll be on Turner Classic Movies."

The proceedings ended about two hours later; it was announced in front of the County Theater around 6:30 p.m. that Rubenstein had ruled against the injunction. The North Star premiered at 7:30, as scheduled.