Magnificent Yankee

Magnificent Yankee

Director: John Sturges

Cast: John Sturges, Louis Calhern, Ann Harding, Philip Ober

     
 

Louis Calhern repeats his Broadway role as Chief Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes in this 1950 cinemazation of Emmet Lavery's stage play The Magnificent Yankee. The film is for the most part confined to the Holmes home in Washington, where the good gray judge parries affectionately with his level-headed wife Fanny (Ann Harding). A steady stream of historicalSee more details below

Overview

Louis Calhern repeats his Broadway role as Chief Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes in this 1950 cinemazation of Emmet Lavery's stage play The Magnificent Yankee. The film is for the most part confined to the Holmes home in Washington, where the good gray judge parries affectionately with his level-headed wife Fanny (Ann Harding). A steady stream of historical personages parade through the Holmes manse, including jurist Louis Brandeis (Eduard Franz) and novelist Owen Wister (Philip Ober). The death of his wife devastates Holmes, but only briefly; he ends up serving his country for nearly forty years. The British title of Magnificent Yankee was The Man With Thirty Sons, a somewhat misleading reference to the Harvard Law graduates whom Oliver Wendell Holmes sponsored. Also available on videocassette is a 1965 TV production of Magnificent Yankee, starring Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
Modern audiences may have little or no knowledge of Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, the "Great Dissenter" of the Supreme Court who is the subject of The Magnificent Yankee. And it must be admitted that after watching the film, such viewers will know little more about Holmes the jurist than they did going in. This points up what is just about the only failing in this otherwise excellent biopic: Yankee picks as its subject a man whose fame rests upon the decisions he issued from the bench, then proceeds to generally ignore those decisions. Fortunately, this flaw, while it will inevitably irk historians, will not detract the general public from enjoying a smooth as silk story about a wise, intelligent, stubborn and crafty public figure, the love he shared with his understanding and equally wise wife and the joy they felt in educating a score and more of judicial protégés during their score and more years in Washington. The screenplay is adept and quite well constructed, creating leading roles that are an actor's dream. As the title character, Louis Calhern is a quiet marvel, stepping into Holmes' shoes as if he were born into them and filling the screen with a portrayal that is gently heroic. Ann Harding is his perfect foil, his counterpart in everything, and the chemistry between the two is irreplaceable. John Sturges' direction is not as muscular as it is in other efforts, but it is handsomely solid and perfectly in tune with the proceedings.

Product Details

Release Date:
03/23/2009
UPC:
0883316126882
Original Release:
1950
Rating:
NR
Source:
Warner Archives
Presentation:
[B&W, Full Frame]
Time:
1:28:00
Sales rank:
49,754

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Louis Calhern Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
Ann Harding Fanny Bowditch Holmes
Philip Ober Mr. Owen Wister
Ian Wolfe Mr. Adams
Eduard Franz Judge Louis Brandeis
Edith Evanson Annie Gough
Jimmy Lydon Clinton
Richard Anderson Reynolds
David Alpert Actor
Marshall Bradford Head Waiter
Wheaton Chambers Actor
Dick Cogan Actor
Jim Drum Secretary
Charles Evans Chief Justice Fuller
Jack Gargan Actor
Everett Glass Justice Peckham
Robert Griffin Court Crier
Sherry Hall Actor
John Hamilton Justice White
Holmes Herbert Justice McKenna
James H. Horne Actor
Selmar Jackson Lawyer
William Johnstone Lawyer
Todd Karns Secretary
Tommy Kelly Actor
Stapleton Kent Court Clerk
Freeman Lusk Announcer
Robert Malcolm Marshall
David McMahon Workman
Tony Merrill Reporter
Gerald Pierce Actor
Hayden Rorke Graham
Hugh Sanders Parker
George Spaulding Justice Hughes
Dan Tobin Dixon
Harlan Warde Norton
Gayne Whitman Senator
Wilson Wood Actor
Bret Hamilton Actor
Herbert Anderson Baxter
Robert Sherwood Drake

Technical Credits
John Sturges Director
Armand Deutsch Producer
Cedric Gibbons Art Director
Arnold A. Gillespie Special Effects
Emmett Lavery Screenwriter
Arthur Lonergan Art Director
Jack D. Moore Set Decoration/Design
Warren Newcombe Special Effects
Walter Plunkett Costumes/Costume Designer
David Raksin Score Composer
Joseph Ruttenberg Cinematographer
William J. Tuttle Makeup
Ferris Webster Editor
Edwin B. Willis Set Decoration/Design

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