The Vanishing Virginian (1942)

95-97 mins | Comedy-drama | February 1942

Director:

Frank Borzage

Writer:

Jan Fortune

Producer:

Edwin H. Knopf

Cinematographer:

Charles Lawton

Editor:

James E. Newcom

Production Designer:

Cedric Gibbons

Production Company:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Full page view
HISTORY

A working title of the film was Mr. Yancey of Virginia . The film opens with the following written prologue: "This is the story of a vanishing era when simple men so loved their country, their families and their friends that America became a better place in which to live. Such a man was 'Cap'n Bob' Yancey." Some reviews list a preview running time of 101 minutes. Rebecca Yancey Williams' book was based on the lives of her own family. According to the Exh review, the character of "Marcia Marshall" was loosely based on Nancy Astor, who made a newsworthy return to her native Virginia in the 1920s, after becoming the first woman member of the British House of Commons. This film marked the motion picture debut of actor Douglass Newland and also marked the first onscreen speaking part of choir director and actor Jester Hairston. Hairston is best known for his roles in the television series Amos 'n Andy in the 1950s and Amen in the ... More Less

A working title of the film was Mr. Yancey of Virginia . The film opens with the following written prologue: "This is the story of a vanishing era when simple men so loved their country, their families and their friends that America became a better place in which to live. Such a man was 'Cap'n Bob' Yancey." Some reviews list a preview running time of 101 minutes. Rebecca Yancey Williams' book was based on the lives of her own family. According to the Exh review, the character of "Marcia Marshall" was loosely based on Nancy Astor, who made a newsworthy return to her native Virginia in the 1920s, after becoming the first woman member of the British House of Commons. This film marked the motion picture debut of actor Douglass Newland and also marked the first onscreen speaking part of choir director and actor Jester Hairston. Hairston is best known for his roles in the television series Amos 'n Andy in the 1950s and Amen in the 1980s. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
6 Dec 1941.
---
Daily Variety
3 Dec 1941.
---
Film Daily
3 Dec 41
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Sep 41
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Oct 41
p. 16.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Nov 41
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Nov 41
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Dec 41
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Dec 41
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Jan 42
p. 9.
Motion Picture Daily
3 Dec 1941.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
6 Dec 41
p. 394.
New York Times
28 May 42
p. 13.
Showmen's Trade Reviews
6 Dec 1941.
---
The Exhibitor
10 Dec 1941.
---
Variety
3 Dec 41
p. 8.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Frank Borzage Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
Gowns
Men's cost
MUSIC
Mus score
Mus adpt
Mus dir
Spiritual arr
Addl mus
SOUND
Rec dir
MAKEUP
Makeup created by
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the book The Vanishing Virginian by Rebecca Yancey Williams (New York, 1940).
SONGS
"Steal Away," traditional Negro spiritual, arranged by Henry Thacker Burleigh
"The World Was Made for You," music by Johann Strauss II, adapted with English lyrics by Earl K. Brent and Minnaletha White
"Bill Bailey, Won't You Please Come Home," music and lyrics by Hughie Cannon
+
SONGS
"Steal Away," traditional Negro spiritual, arranged by Henry Thacker Burleigh
"The World Was Made for You," music by Johann Strauss II, adapted with English lyrics by Earl K. Brent and Minnaletha White
"Bill Bailey, Won't You Please Come Home," music and lyrics by Hughie Cannon
"Auld Lang Syne," music, Scottish traditional, lyrics by Robert Burns.
+
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Mr. Yancey of Virginia
Release Date:
February 1942
Premiere Information:
World premiere in Lynchburg, VA: 23 January 1942
Production Date:
2 September--mid October 1941
addl scenes began early November 1941
Copyright Claimant:
Loew's Inc.
Copyright Date:
2 December 1941
Copyright Number:
LP11403
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
95-97
Length(in feet):
8,707
Length(in reels):
10
Country:
United States
PCA No:
7860
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

In 1913, district attorney Robert "Cap'n Bob" Yancey, the patriarch of a large, eccentric Lynchburg, Virginia family, has definite ideas about what his independently-spirited children should be. While teenager Rebecca wants to be an writer, Bob wants her to be an artist, and while his eldest daughter Margaret wants to be a lawyer, Bob wants her to be a singer. Bob plans to run for his seventh term as district attorney, but his loving wife Rosa prefers that he does not. One day, when he hears from his trusted old friend and family servant, Uncle Josh Preston, that Jefferson Brown, a black man and the son of Aunt Mandy Brown, who had worked for Bob's father, is about to go on trial for murder. Joshua is incensed, and convinced that Jefferson "has no murder in his heart." Bob respects Uncle Joshua's feeling, but as the district attorney he must prosecute. When Aunt Mandy comes to see Bob and says that Jefferson struck the dead man in anger because he had been with his wife, Bob assures her that her son will get a fair trial and promises to find a good lawyer. Bob is so impressed by young criminal attorney Jim Shirley, a new tenant in his building, that he asks him to defend Jefferson. As he soon learns, Jim is the son of Marcia Marshall, a childhood friend of Bob's. Meanwhile, Margaret's beau, Jack Holden, who is about to become a Stanley Steamer salesman, proposes, but Margaret turns him down, still determined to be a lawyer. That evening, Bob brings Jim home for dinner, and although the children are rambunctious and everything seems to ... +


In 1913, district attorney Robert "Cap'n Bob" Yancey, the patriarch of a large, eccentric Lynchburg, Virginia family, has definite ideas about what his independently-spirited children should be. While teenager Rebecca wants to be an writer, Bob wants her to be an artist, and while his eldest daughter Margaret wants to be a lawyer, Bob wants her to be a singer. Bob plans to run for his seventh term as district attorney, but his loving wife Rosa prefers that he does not. One day, when he hears from his trusted old friend and family servant, Uncle Josh Preston, that Jefferson Brown, a black man and the son of Aunt Mandy Brown, who had worked for Bob's father, is about to go on trial for murder. Joshua is incensed, and convinced that Jefferson "has no murder in his heart." Bob respects Uncle Joshua's feeling, but as the district attorney he must prosecute. When Aunt Mandy comes to see Bob and says that Jefferson struck the dead man in anger because he had been with his wife, Bob assures her that her son will get a fair trial and promises to find a good lawyer. Bob is so impressed by young criminal attorney Jim Shirley, a new tenant in his building, that he asks him to defend Jefferson. As he soon learns, Jim is the son of Marcia Marshall, a childhood friend of Bob's. Meanwhile, Margaret's beau, Jack Holden, who is about to become a Stanley Steamer salesman, proposes, but Margaret turns him down, still determined to be a lawyer. That evening, Bob brings Jim home for dinner, and although the children are rambunctious and everything seems to go wrong, Jim feels comfortable with the family and develops a crush on Margaret. Some time later, when Jefferson's trial begins, Bob mops up spilled ink with his handkerchief and a few moments later wipes his face, using the same cloth. Seeing Bob's black, ink-stained face, the entire courtroom erupts in laughter, except for Jim and the presiding judge, Fred Stuart, who are angry and accuse Bob of doing the stunt on purpose. When Bob refuses to apologize, the judge jails him for contempt of court. That night, while Bob is in jail, Jim and Margaret argue over the issue and Jim leaves. When Bob is released, he learns that Jefferson has been convicted, but only of manslaughter, which resulted in a five-year sentence. Bob then happily reveals that he intended to disrupt the court because he knew that Jefferson was facing a "hanging" jury and the stunt would soften them. Soon Becky, who stood up for Jim in his argument with Margaret, gets flowers from him, and Rosa wants the family to take its vacation at their plantation outside of Lynchburg. During a political meeting, Bob later learns that his chief rival, Rogard, openly opposes Prohibition but is secretly stockpiling liquor for the time when the county "goes dry." Bob, who truly is against Prohibition, thinks that a man like Rogard should not be in office and decides to run for an eighth term, against Rosa's wishes. She forgives him for breaking his promise, but is very worried that he is tempting fate and will be defeated. That same day, Uncle Joshua saves little Caroline Yancey's life when a bull attacks the younger children while they are foolishly playing in the pasture. When it looks as though Joshua is going to have a heart attack, Bob starts to take a stick to the children, but Joshua recovers. The next day, Jack arrives at the plantation and tells Margaret that he does not mind if she becomes a lawyer and still wants to marry her. When the rest of the family goes with Jack in his car, Bob stays behind and discovers Joshua dead. A few days later, he eulogizes his old friend in the black church, saying that God may have allowed Joshua to stay on earth so long because he was needed to save Caroline's life. Some time later, Jack and Margaret are about to marry and a now more mature Becky and Jim become interested in each other. Marcia, who returns to town as a celebrity because she is traveling the country championing women's suffrage, tells Rosa how jealous she has always been of her, and Rosa softens toward her, even though a photograph of the two women appears in the newspaper and implies that Rosa, too, is a suffragette. After several more elections, in 1929, Bob is running for his eleventh term and Rosa is so worried that a defeat might devastate him that she writes all of their now-grown children to return home for a visit. Despite his popularity, Bob loses the election. The next day, the entire family, including Margaret, Jack and their family and Jim, Becky and her family, expects Bob to be depressed, but he is very cheerful because of his family and friends, and on his way to the office, he is touched when his supporters serenade him with "Auld Lang Syne." +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

TOP SEARCHES

CASABLANCA

During World War II, Casablanca, Morocco is a waiting point for throngs of desperate refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe. Exit visas, which are necessary to leave the country, are at ... >>

CITIZEN KANE

Seventy-year-old newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane dies in his palatial Florida home, Xanadu, after uttering the single word “Rosebud.” While watching a newsreel summarizing the years during which Kane ... >>

REAR WINDOW

Laid up with a broken leg during the height of summer, renowned New York magazine photographer L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries enters his last week of home confinement, bored and ... >>

RAGING BULL

In 1941, at a boxing match in Cleveland, Ohio, pandemonium breaks out when Jake La Motta, an up-and-coming young boxer, loses a decision to Jimmy Reeves, suffering his first ... >>

CITY LIGHTS

At an outdoor dedication ceremony, a tramp is discovered sleeping in the arms of a statue as it is being unveiled before a crowd. He is chased into ... >>

The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.