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The Vanishing Virginian (1942)

Passed | | Biography, Comedy, Drama | February 1942 (USA)
Biography of Robert Yancey, long-term district attorney in Lynchburg, Virginia.



(screenplay), (based on the book by)


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Complete credited cast:
Robert Yancey
Rebecca Yancey
Rosa Yancey
Natalie Thompson ...
Margaret Yancey
Johnny Mitchell ...
Jim Shirley (as Douglass Newland)
Caroline Yancey
Joel Yancey
Robert Yancey Jr.
Leigh Whipper ...
Uncle Josh
Aunt Emmeline
J.M. Kerrigan ...
John Phelps
Mr. Rogard
Marcia Marshall


Biography of Robert Yancey, long-term district attorney in Lynchburg, Virginia.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Passed | See all certifications »




Release Date:

February 1942 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Snurriga familjen  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Studio records list Clarence Badger Jr. and Phyllis Cook as solists in the "Bill Bailey, Won't You Please Come Home?" number. However, that song was only sung by the Yancey family; the only soloists were Frank Morgan and Kathryn Grayson. It is possible that Morgan's voice was dubbed, but not likely for Grayson. The two in question were probably in a scene which was cut. In any case, they did not appear in the movie. See more »


Steal Away
Traditional negro spiritual
Arranged by Henry Thacker Burleigh
Sung in part a cappella twice by Leigh Whipper
Played on an organ at church and sung by Kathryn Grayson and the congregation
See more »

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User Reviews

A wonderful, nostalgic time....for some.
1 April 2015 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

The summary on IMDb for this one is perhaps the worst I have ever seen. It really does NOT describe the film at all and looks as if whoever wrote it never even saw this film! So, let me summarize the film....a bit.

This is a highly nostalgic film about the good 'ol days. In particular, it focuses on the upper-middle class family, the Yancey's who live in Lynchburg, Virginia in 1913. Mr. Yancey (Frank Morgan) is the city prosecutor--a well respected lawyer who folks want to see run for his seventh term. His wife is the ever-faithful Rosa (Spring Byington) and they have five kids--including two girls of very marriageable age. Rebecca Yancey (Kathryn Grayson) is smitten with a new lawyer who has come to town--but Mrs. Yancey is concerned because the young man's mother is 'no good' because she is a divorcée and once dated Mr. Yancey. In addition to the Yanceys, the household consists of two black servants and two of the servants' grandkids. As for the story, it is a series of vignettes that give us a glimpse of these decent people.

So is this film any good? Well, this is a very, very difficult thing to answer in just a few words. For its time, it is exquisitely crafted and has all the sentimentality (and then some) you'd expect from an MGM production. Some may balk at Ms. Grayson's singing--you'll either love it or you'll hate it (I am in the latter group and felt it was often unnecessary). However, the reason I cannot say it's a wonderful film is that in some ways it's a very racist film. All the black people are exceptionally well treated and seem to enjoy their subservient roles in society. And everyone (blacks and whites) get along so gosh-darn well--something that might have been true, at least superficially. However, the lynchings, name-calling and other aspects of Southern Virginia society are of course absent, as they didn't fit into this perfect image that Louis B. Mayer insisted in with his films. It's lovely...but also rather overly idealized.

By the way, one of the more interesting actresses in the film is Elizabeth Patterson who plays Mr. Yancey's mother. Only a few years later, Patterson starred in probably the best film on race done during the 1940s, "Intruder in the Dust". Unlike "The Vanishing Virginian", this film exposed the ugly side of Southern society--the racist, evil side bent on lynching a black man simply because they can. And, Patterson's character is one of the only ones in town willing to stand up to these thugs. See this film...skip "The Vanishing Virginian".

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