The Vanishing Virginian Film Details
Overview: Biography of Robert Yancey, long-term district attorney in Lynchburg, Virginia.
Tagline: Heart-throbs, laughs, thrills in an American masterpiece!
Review: I’m a Yankee…born and raised near Rochester, NY. However, I spent most of my adult life living in Virginia. As I read through the reviews already posted here, I saw that old tug of war that we sometimes see in reviews of “Gone With The Wind” — reviewing the historical culture versus reviewing the film. We have to remember a few things about this story. First, it is about real people. not fictional characters. I tried a little online research, and could find little that gave me any clear indication of what kind of man Robert Yancy was in real life. Perhaps he was a bit enlightened for the turn of the 20th century. Or perhaps he was Simon Legree in disguise. I don’t think any of us know which case it was, or where reality was on the continuum for this particular man and his family. And, I’m old enough to have known older African-American people who just wanted to “get along”. So I’m not going to make any assumptions about what the truth was about these real people. And I’m going to keep in mind that the story is based on a daughter’s recollection of her father. One day, I was visiting some Civil War cemeteries near Fredericksburg, and while I was looking at some graves in the Union cemetery, across the road there was a family putting flowers on a Confederate grave. Let’s not make stereotypical assumptions about specific people we didn’t know who lived over a hundred years ago. Now as to the movie, this film was notable for me for two reasons. First, one of my favorite character actors was Frank Morgan. He turned in some wonderful supporting roles in many films. But unfortunately, when MGM put him in a lead, it was usually in a second rate comedy with a weak script. This film, on the other hand, was Morgan’s opportunity to star in a reasonably high quality production, and the film did him well, and he turned in an admirable performance. Others in the cast did well, also. If the basic family story is true, I guess it made sense for a little singing by “daughter” Kathryn Grayson, who did fine here. Spring Byington was always a delightful character actress, and she was a perfect match for Frank Morgan. Douglass Newland (Johnny Mitchell) was decent as the love interest for Grayson. Another fine character actress — Elizabeth Patterson — was just fine as “Grandma”. The ill-fated Scotty Beckett was perfect as the son…always a fine child actor who met a tragic end. Leigh Whipper was excellent as Uncle Josh, an African-American servant, as was the venerable Louise Beavers. Don’t get me wrong. No family is this perfect. But after all, it’s the remembrance of a loving daughter for her father and mother. It’s a heartwarming film, and it you’re into that type of movie — and I often am — this is really well done. It’s better, I think, than another movie I really admire: “Life With Father”
Duration: 97 min
Genre: Biography, Comedy, Drama
Also known as: The Vanishing Virginian,El caballero del sur,Mr. Yancey of Virginia,Un caballero del sur,Snurriga familjen,Um Cavalheiro do Sul