Judge Cass Timberlane marries a girl from the wrong side of the tracks, Virginia Marshland. A baby is stillborn and she turns more and more to attorney friend of of Cass' Brad Criley. While... See full summary »
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William A. Seiter
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Judge Cass Timberlane marries a girl from the wrong side of the tracks, Virginia Marshland. A baby is stillborn and she turns more and more to attorney friend of of Cass' Brad Criley. While quarreling the Judge tells Virginia to stay with Brad, but when she becomes sick he brings her home. Written by
Ed Stephan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Bradd's clients, the Wargates, were hiding behavior described as 'not criminal, but illegal' yet their activities were never revealed, despite their intentional manipulation of the Judge and his refusal to postpone their case on the court calendar. See more »
[seeing the newlyweds off]
Well, that leaves me the last of the bachelors.
Dr. Roy Drover:
You know, Roy, I ought to find a girl like that, and settle down.
Dr. Roy Drover:
Yes, I know. Marriage is always a picture like that. Other men's marriages.
No, I really mean it.
Dr. Roy Drover:
You always mean it. That's your charm. But you never do it. That's your protection.
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It's been many years since I read the Sinclair Lewis novel. I could be wrong, but I seem to remember some interesting observations about what it was like for a middle-aged, upper-middle class man, in the 1940's, confronting a woman of a younger generation and a different social and economic class.
In that rapidly changing world, she's more liberated, more independent, more restless than the girls he grew up with. It's not just that Jinny is bored and restless - something that is never really explained in the film. It's that there's a generation gap between men of Cass's era and young women like Jinny, in the postwar world.
I don't think the film goes into this, much, at all. The problems facing this couple seem more like a lot of clichés about May-September romances (not May-December, as some people have said. Tracy was in his mid-forties and Turner was in her mid-twenties). Jinny just seems to be bored and restless because she's immature and shallow, and Cass just seems to lack understanding of her predicament because he's older and set in his ways. In fact, I seem to remember Lewis's book as being much more an examination of why the generations happened to be clashing at that particular time. As a reflection of the way the country had changed, over the course of a few decades. Obviously, if they had gotten any of this into the film, it would have been far more interesting than the soap opera that emerged.
Not that it's a bad film. But typical of many of the important MGM pictures of the late 40's that ended up being disappointments, artistically, and seemed far behind the other studios' output in terms of modernity. The film can almost be enjoyed for the production values alone. The absolutely beautiful black and white cinematography, stunning women's costumes, gorgeous sets, nice use of the occasional L.A. location ("Flandreau Street")- even the expert use of rear projection (lush, atmospheric shots of Scott and Turner on a NYC penthouse terrace). Roy Webb's score (he usually worked for RKO) - etc. As good a film as money can buy. And as good a cast.
Was Lana Turner a good or a bad actress? I don't know - but I like watching her. Not just because she's pretty (and here, she's very pretty - not one of her "sexy" roles at all, though of course she's subtly sexy) - she also extremely charming - especially in the early scenes - and there really is a good deal of chemistry between her and Spencer Tracy. Tracy is of course, excellent. And immensely likable. The romance between them is always believable, because he is such a charismatic and charming, somewhat devilish, interesting, intelligent, and apparently loving person, how could she not love him? And she is so beautiful, delightful, and seemingly sensible, how could he not fall head over heels for her? Both seem like down-to-earth people, so it's not hard to understand how they relate to one another. And also why they clash.
George Sidney - who usually directed fluff like "Holiday In Mexico", and other Pasternak (and sometimes Freed) musicals ("Anchors Aweigh" is my favorite), tries his hand at something serious, here, and while I don't know why he got this big project that probably should have gone to Clarence Brown, or Cukor, he does a pretty good job. Just scratches the dramatic surface, though, unfortunately. He does better in the first hour, which, as usual, is the lighter half (in spite of that awful bit of exposition where butler Griff Barnett introduces all the characters. Though I guess it saved time).
Later on, it just reads like magazine fiction.
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