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Cass Timberlane (1947)

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 »



(novel), (adaptation) | 2 more credits »

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jamie Wargate
Queenie Havock
Boone Havock
Chris Grau
Diantha Marl
Webb Wargate
Avis Elderman
Josephine Hutchinson ...
Lillian Drover
Selena Royle ...
Louise Wargate
Gregg Marl
Richard Gaines ...
Dennis Thane
Dr. Roy Drover


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 <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


"In Love With Her Was Like Being in an Earthquake!" See more »


Drama | Romance


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Release Date:

January 1948 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Sinclair Lewis' Cass Timberlane  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Although MGM had its own renowned music department, the soundtrack score for this picture was provided by composer Roy Webb, conductor C. Bakaleinikoff and orchestrator Gil Grau - all on loan from RKO Radio. See more »


In the scene where Cass and Bradd are moving a sofa Bradd is smoking a cigarette. They place the sofa and Bradd has the cigarette in his mouth. The next moment the cigarette is gone giving the appearance he dropped it in the sofa. See more »


Cass Timberlane: What's the matter, Lily?
Lillian Drover: I'm crying, ah, because my glass is empty.
See more »


Referenced in Forecast (1945) See more »

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User Reviews

MGM semi-gloss
3 September 2011 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

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 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's also extremely charming - especially in the early scenes - and there really is a good deal of chemistry between her and Spencer Tracy. (Jennifer Jones, first choice for the part, turned it down. Other actresses were reportedly tested, including June Allyson).

Tracy is of course, excellent. And immensely likable. The romance between them is always believable, because he is such a charismatic, 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.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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