Cass Timberlane


1h 59m 1948
Cass Timberlane

Brief Synopsis

An aging judge creates a scandal when he marries a younger woman from the wrong side of the tracks.

Film Details

Also Known As
Sinclair Lewis' Cass Timberlane
Genre
Romance
Drama
Release Date
Jan 1948
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Distribution Company
Loew's Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Cass Timberlane: A Novel of Husbands and Wives by Sinclair Lewis (New York, 1945).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 59m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
10,672 or 10,681ft (12 reels)

Synopsis

Judge Cass Timberlane, a kind-hearted, middle-aged bachelor, tries case after case in his Grand Republic, Minnesota court, but it is not until he meets Virginia "Jinny" Marshland, a witness, that he takes a personal interest in anyone in his courtroom. Following a tiresome divorce case, Cass finds a notebook that Jinny left in the courtroom. Intrigued by the much younger Jinny and the sketches in her notebook, Cass ventures to the poorer neighborhood of the city where she lives, and finds her playing baseball. Cass offers to umpire her game, after which he takes her out to dinner. The two eventually fall in love, much to the displeasure of Cass's snobbish society friends. With the exception of attorney Bradd Criley, an old friend of Cass, the judge's country club friends believe that he is wrong to cross social lines. Ignoring the prejudices of his peers, Cass marries Jinny and the two go on a happy honeymoon vacation. Time passes, and Cass soon realizes that Jinny is unhappy living in Grand Republic and is looking for excitement. Jinny eventually becomes pregnant, but when the baby is stillborn, her discontent grows stronger. Cass tries to cheer up his wife by teaching her how to fly an airplane, spending more time with her and encouraging her attempt to become an amateur stage actress, but all his efforts end in failure. Jinny later ruins her prospects of starring in a Grand Republic stage play when she gives an all too realistic performance while rehearsing a love scene with her co-star, Bradd. Because of his part in the scandal, Bradd is transferred to his company's office in New York City. Jinny sinks further into depression until Cass suggests they take a trip to New York. While Cass visits an old friend of his, Jinny goes sightseeing with Bradd. Jinny wishes to stay in New York, and when Cass tells her that he has rejected a job offer in the city, she throws her first tantrum. Cass is angered by the outburst, and tells Jinny that she is welcome to stay in New York with Bradd. Bradd, however, is content living the single life and has no intention of being a companion to Jinny. When Bradd tells Jinny that he does not want to marry her, she jumps out of the speeding car in which they are driving and is seriously injured. After Lillian Drover, the kind, but timid and unhappy, wife of Jinny's Grand Republic doctor, tells Cass about Jinny's injuries and begs him to go to her, Cass rushes back to New York. He then brings Jinny back to Grand Republic and nurses her back to health. After Jinny makes a full recovery, she tells Cass that he will always be the man for her.

Cast

Spencer Tracy

Cass Timberlane

Lana Turner

Virginia "Jinny" Marshland

Zachary Scott

Bradd Criley

Tom Drake

Jamie Wargate

Mary Astor

Queenie Havock

Albert Dekker

Boone Havock

Margaret Lindsay

Chris Grau

Rose Hobart

Diantha Marl

John Litel

Webb Wargate

Mona Barrie

Avis Elderman

Josephine Hutchinson

Lillian Drover

Selena Royle

Louise Wargate

Frank Wilcox

Gregg Marl

Richard Gaines

Dennis Thane

John Alexander

Dr. Roy Drover

Cameron Mitchell

Eino Roskinen

Howard Freeman

Hervey Plint

Jessie Grayson

Mrs. Higbee

Griff Barnett

Herman

Pat Clark Alice Wargate

Walter Pidgeon

Himself

Willis Claire

John Prutt

Winona Walthall

Henrietta Prutt

Guy Beach

George Hame

Cliff Clark

Humbert Bellile

Frank Ferguson

Court clerk

Milburn Stone

Nester Purdwin

Almira Sessions

Tilda Hatter

Jack Rice

Vincent Osprey

Mimi Doyle

Ellen Olliford

Bill Conselman

Arthur Olliford

Sam Flint

Chas Sayward

Sara Berner

Woman's voice

Frank Bingman

Man's voice

Greta Granstedt

Dagmar

Robert Williams

Policeman

William Tannen

Chauffeur

Ruth Lee

Nurse

Tim Ryan

Charlie Ellis

John Walsh

Bellboy

Nanette Vallon

Milliner

Jean Andren

Saleswoman

Lester Dorr

Salesman

Bess Flowers

Mary Ann Milligan

William Trenk

Raveau

Roy Gordon

Critic

Ed Oliver

Pianist

Emmett Vogan

Beehouse

Gordon Richards

Butler

Betty Blythe

Nurse

Eddie Dunn

Maitre d'

Selmer Jackson

Dr. Leskett

Charles L. Marsh

Bartender

Bobby Johnson

Porter

Buz Buckley

Newsboy

Joe Marievsky

Italian father

Regina Bookasta

Italian mother

Charlene Arnold

Italian waitress

Dee Turnell

Hat check girl

John Albright

Page boy

Mary Mcleod

Stewardess

Hilda Plowright

Maid

Margaret Bert

Maid

Ken Christy

Sheriff Alex Carlsen

Robert Riordan

Reverend Yarrow

Mickey Martin

Usher

Howard Mitchell

Country club attendant

Mike Pat Donovan

Railroad conductor

Manuel Paris

Frenchman at party

Albert Pollet

Frenchman at party

Betty Jane Howarth

Hatcheck girl at country club

Don Avalier

Headwaiter at country club

Arno Frey

Waiter at country club

William Neff

Page at country club

Mitchell Kowall

Doorman at country club

Film Details

Also Known As
Sinclair Lewis' Cass Timberlane
Genre
Romance
Drama
Release Date
Jan 1948
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Distribution Company
Loew's Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Cass Timberlane: A Novel of Husbands and Wives by Sinclair Lewis (New York, 1945).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 59m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
10,672 or 10,681ft (12 reels)

Articles

Cass Timberlane


The ads heralded Cass Timberlane (1947) as "TNT, Tracy 'n' Turner." It wasn't their first pairing, of course. She had played Tracy's fiance in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde six years earlier, during which she called him "her champion" for defending her from director Victor Fleming's abuse. It wasn't even the first time the slogan had been used. MGM had heralded Turner's pairing with Robert Taylor in 1941's Johnny Eager the same way.

Cass Timberlane was part of Tracy's comeback to MGM after a year off to do a Broadway show, Robert Anderson's The Rugged Path. When the play flopped, Tracy stayed in New York to enjoy the city's cultural life and undergo treatment for the drinking problem that had returned after the play's closing. After a year off the screen, Tracy had trouble finding a suitable vehicle. The Sea of Grass (1947), a western drama co-starring Katharine Hepburn, had not done well. Sinclair Lewis' novel Cass Timberlane, with its tale of a widowed small-town judge who sets tongues wagging when he marries a beautiful young woman, seemed to have been written for him. But it took three writers to adapt the tale to the screen, partly because of changes made for the Hollywood Production Code. Nor was Tracy happy with the studio's choice of director. He had hoped to get either George Cukor or Vincente Minnelli, but instead they assigned the film to George Sidney, a thorough professional whose previous work had been mostly confined to light musicals.

At first, the biggest problem with the film was Turner. After Broadway veteran Donald Ogden Stewart finally got the script in order, she demanded changes. Early in shooting, Stewart claimed she would show up not even knowing her lines or what was happening in the scene to be filmed.

For Turner, the filming of Cass Timberlane was a difficult time. For one thing, she had only just finished the period adventure Green Dolphin Street (1947) and was splitting her days between retakes on that film and work on the other. The changes in makeup, hair and costuming were exhausting, and at times she brought the British dialect she'd developed for Green Dolphin Street to her very American character in Cass Timberlane, prompting Tracy to quip, "My, my, aren't we British this morning?"

She was going through personal problems as well, involved in a tempestuous affair with Tyrone Power. Since Power was still married to French actress Anabella, she finally had to call off the relationship for fear of destroying both their careers. And when she found herself pregnant, she decided abortion was the only answer.

Through all this turmoil, however, Turner's career continued to rise. MGM was wisely trying her out in a series of powerful dramatic roles, leading film critics to praise her acting in Cass Timberlane, something they'd rarely done about her work before. She must have mended her ways on the set as well, because by the time shooting ended Tracy gave her the strongest compliment he could: "This is a good actress."

Director: George Sidney
Producer: Arthur Hornblow, Jr.
Screenplay: Donald Ogden Stewart; Adaptation by Stewart and Sonya Levien
From the novel by Sinclair Lewis
Cinematography: Robert Planck
Art Direction: Cedirc Gibbons, Daniel Cathcart
Music: Constantine Bakaleinikoff
Cast: Spencer Tracy (Cass Timberlane), Lana Turner (Virginia Marshland), Zachary Scott (Brad Criley), Tom Drake (Jamie Wargate), Mary Astor (Queenie Havock), Albert Dekker (Boone Havock), Walter Pidgeon (Man at Cocktail Party).
BW-119m. Close captioning.

by Frank Miller
Cass Timberlane

Cass Timberlane

The ads heralded Cass Timberlane (1947) as "TNT, Tracy 'n' Turner." It wasn't their first pairing, of course. She had played Tracy's fiance in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde six years earlier, during which she called him "her champion" for defending her from director Victor Fleming's abuse. It wasn't even the first time the slogan had been used. MGM had heralded Turner's pairing with Robert Taylor in 1941's Johnny Eager the same way. Cass Timberlane was part of Tracy's comeback to MGM after a year off to do a Broadway show, Robert Anderson's The Rugged Path. When the play flopped, Tracy stayed in New York to enjoy the city's cultural life and undergo treatment for the drinking problem that had returned after the play's closing. After a year off the screen, Tracy had trouble finding a suitable vehicle. The Sea of Grass (1947), a western drama co-starring Katharine Hepburn, had not done well. Sinclair Lewis' novel Cass Timberlane, with its tale of a widowed small-town judge who sets tongues wagging when he marries a beautiful young woman, seemed to have been written for him. But it took three writers to adapt the tale to the screen, partly because of changes made for the Hollywood Production Code. Nor was Tracy happy with the studio's choice of director. He had hoped to get either George Cukor or Vincente Minnelli, but instead they assigned the film to George Sidney, a thorough professional whose previous work had been mostly confined to light musicals. At first, the biggest problem with the film was Turner. After Broadway veteran Donald Ogden Stewart finally got the script in order, she demanded changes. Early in shooting, Stewart claimed she would show up not even knowing her lines or what was happening in the scene to be filmed. For Turner, the filming of Cass Timberlane was a difficult time. For one thing, she had only just finished the period adventure Green Dolphin Street (1947) and was splitting her days between retakes on that film and work on the other. The changes in makeup, hair and costuming were exhausting, and at times she brought the British dialect she'd developed for Green Dolphin Street to her very American character in Cass Timberlane, prompting Tracy to quip, "My, my, aren't we British this morning?" She was going through personal problems as well, involved in a tempestuous affair with Tyrone Power. Since Power was still married to French actress Anabella, she finally had to call off the relationship for fear of destroying both their careers. And when she found herself pregnant, she decided abortion was the only answer. Through all this turmoil, however, Turner's career continued to rise. MGM was wisely trying her out in a series of powerful dramatic roles, leading film critics to praise her acting in Cass Timberlane, something they'd rarely done about her work before. She must have mended her ways on the set as well, because by the time shooting ended Tracy gave her the strongest compliment he could: "This is a good actress." Director: George Sidney Producer: Arthur Hornblow, Jr. Screenplay: Donald Ogden Stewart; Adaptation by Stewart and Sonya Levien From the novel by Sinclair Lewis Cinematography: Robert Planck Art Direction: Cedirc Gibbons, Daniel Cathcart Music: Constantine Bakaleinikoff Cast: Spencer Tracy (Cass Timberlane), Lana Turner (Virginia Marshland), Zachary Scott (Brad Criley), Tom Drake (Jamie Wargate), Mary Astor (Queenie Havock), Albert Dekker (Boone Havock), Walter Pidgeon (Man at Cocktail Party). BW-119m. Close captioning. by Frank Miller

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The onscreen title reads: Sinclair Lewis' Cass Timberlane. The Sinclair Lewis novel on which this film is based appeared serially in Hearst's International-Cosmopolitan magazine from May-October 1948. An April 1945 Hollywood Reporter news item reported that M-G-M paid $150,000 for the film rights to Lewis' novel. According to information in M-G-M story files at the USC Cinema-Television Library, novelist John O'Hara worked on a treatment and character studies for the film from August 20, 1945 through January 15, 1946. M-G-M story files also reveal that Sidney Kingsley worked on drafts of the screenplay in April and May 1946, but the extent of O'Hara's and Kingsley's contribution to the completed film has not been determined.
       According to an August 1945 Hollywood Reporter news item, M-G-M was considering at the time either Spencer Tracy or Walter Pidgeon for the title role. Pidgeon appeared in the film in a brief cameo. A December 1945 Hollywood Reporter news item notes that M-G-M asked David O. Selznick for the loan-out of actress Jennifer Jones for the female lead. Late 1945 Hollywood Reporter news items also note the following: In Oct, while Tracy was set for the title role, M-G-M was negotiating with Vivien Leigh for the female lead. In Nov, Virginia Grey was screen-tested for a "key role," and it was announced that the film would be shot in Minnesota. The film was ultimately shot in and around Los Angeles. In January 1947, four months before the start of production, a Hollywood Reporter news item reported that producer Arthur Hornblow, Jr. and director George Sidney were "stymied" in their search for an actress to play the female lead and had begun looking at footage of actresses who had tested during the year. According to a May 1947 Hollywood Reporter news item, shooting on the film was suspeded for three days due to illness.
       The world premiere of the film was held as a charity event for the John Tracy Clinic for deaf children, which was founded in 1942 by Spencer Tracy's wife Louise and named for their own deaf child. In April 1945, according to Hollywood Reporter, Fay Hendry, the mother of Sonya Hendry, a young girl who appeared in the film, was awarded nearly $30,000 for injuries she sustained when the girl was struck by a falling reflector at the site of location filming.