Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Cass Timberlane(1945).

Cass Timberlane, is a novel written by Sinclair Lewis, published in 1945. It is Sinclair Lewis' nineteenth novel and one of his last.It was made into a romantic drama film starring Spencer Tracy and Lana Turner, directed by George Sidney, and released in 1947. Timberlane is a minor character in Lewis's novel Kingsblood Royal.

While Judge Cass Timberlane, a kind-hearted, bachelor, is trying a boring divorce case, he finds a notebook that Jinny left in the courtroom. Attracted to the much younger Jinny, Cass searches for her in the neighborhood where she lives, and finds her playing baseball. Cass offers to umpire her game, after which he takes her out to dinner.

The two fall in love, much to the disappointment of Cass's society friends, who believe that he is wrong to cross social lines. With the exception of his friend attorney, Bradd Criley.

Cass, marries Jinny and as time passes, Cass soon realizes that Jinny is unhappy living in the small town of Grand Republic.

Jinny eventually becomes pregnant, but when the baby is stillborn, she goes into a deep depression. Cass, tries to cheer up his wife by teaching her how to fly an airplane and supporting her while she becomes a stage actress.

Jinny, gets herself into trouble with her performance, while rehearsing a love scene with her co-star, Bradd, who is transferred to his company's office in New York City as a result.

Cass, suggests they take a trip to New York, so he can visit an old friend to look into becoming partners in his law firm. Jinny, wants to stay in New York, after her wonderful day in New York with Brad. When Cass, tells her that he has rejected a job offer in the city, she breaks it off with him.

Cass, tells Jinny that she is welcome to stay in New York with Bradd. It turns out that Bradd, does not really want to marry Jinny. Heartbroken, she jumps out of the speeding car in which they are driving and is seriously injured.

After Lillian Drover, the wife of Jinny's doctor, tells Cass about Jinny's injuries, will Cass rush back to New York to be with her?

This is one of my favorite Spencer Tracy films and he gives an excellent performance. Lana Turner, is also very good. The scenes between she and Zachary Scott have enough sparks to make you wonder if they are guilty of adultery. This is a wonderful film that was well worth seeing.

Fun Facts:

MGM reportedly paid close to $150,000 for the film rights to Lewis' novel.

Walter Pidgeon who has a brief cameo in the film, was at one point considered for the title role.

Jennifer Jones, Vivien Leigh, and Virginia Grey were among those thought out for the female lead.

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.

Tracy was not initially pleased with the studio's choice of director, hoping to have George Cukor or Vincente Minnelli assigned the position.

The poem that Cass Timberlane recites at the picnic with Virginia is "First Fig" by Edna St. Vincent Millay and goes "My candle burns at both ends / It will not last the night / But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends / It gives a lovely light!"

In late 1946, Marie McDonald campaigned for the female lead.

Margaret Lindsay (September 19, 1910 - May 9, 1981) After attending National Park Seminary in Washington, D.C., Lindsay convinced her parents to enroll her at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York.

She then went abroad to England to make her stage debut. She performed in plays: Escape, Death Takes a Holiday and The Romantic Age.

Lindsay was often mistaken as being British due to her convincing English accent, which impressed Universal Studios enough to sign her for their 1932 version of, The Old Dark House.

After some minor roles in Pre-Code films such as Christopher Strong and Baby Face, which starred Barbara Stanwyck, Lindsay was cast in the award-winning, Cavalcade.

Later, Lindsay performed in a small but memorable role as Edith Harris, a doomed English bride whose honeymoon voyage takes place on the Titanic. Her work in Cavalcade earned her a contract at Warner Bros. where she became a supporting player, working with Paul Muni, Errol Flynn, Henry Fonda, Warren William, Leslie Howard, George Arliss, Humphrey Bogart, Boris Karloff and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.

Lindsay was cast four times as the love interest of James Cagney, from 1933-1935. She performed with Cagney in four films: Frisco Kid, Devil Dogs of the Air, G-Men and Lady Killer. Lindsay co-starred with Bette Davis in four films: 1934's Fog Over Frisco; in 1935's Dangerous (for which Davis won her first Best Actress Academy Award); in Bordertown, co-starring Paul Muni, and as Davis's rival for Henry Fonda's affections in Jezebel (1938), which earned Davis her second Best Actress Academy Award.

The Law in Her Hands (1936), she performed a leading role as a mob lawyer. It was rare among gangster films of the 30's to have a female in such a male-dominated role. Made after the Motion Picture Production Code came into effect, The Law in Her Hands was forced into a reactionary stance towards the gender switch and concluded with a plot twist that was the complete opposite of the Pre-Code period (1929–1934), when "female characters on the screen could say, do and be whatever they wanted".

Lindsay's best known film role was, The House of the Seven Gables in 1940, with George Sanders and Vincent Price.

Her 1940s film series work in Hollywood included: Ellery Queen series from 1940-1942. Lindsay, performed in a supporting role in the 1942 film, The Spoilers, starring John Wayne and in Fritz Lang's Scarlet Street in 1945. While her work in the late 1940s would occasionally involve a supporting role in MGM films like Cass Timberlane with Spencer Tracy, her film career faded, soon after.

She returned to the stage and co-starred with Franchot Tone, in The Second Man. 1950s and 1960s She made her television debut in 1950 in, The Importance of Being Earnest. More television work soon followed.

Lindsay performed in only four films during the 1950s and two in the 1960s. Her final feature film was, Tammy and the Doctor (1963). Lindsay lived with her sister Helen in Hollywood. Later in life, she lived with her youngest sister Mickie.

Despite being romantically linked to actors such as William Gargan and Edward Norris, she never married. Margaret Lindsay's sister, Jane Kies (1909–1985), was also an actress under the name of Jane Gilbert. In 1940, Jane married the son of Hedda Hopper, actor William Hopper, best known for his role as Paul Drake in the Perry Mason television series. Their daughter Joan was born in 1942, and the couple divorced in the early 1960s. Lindsay's niece Peggy Kenline and great-nephew Brad Yates were also actors.

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