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The Vanishing Virginian

The Vanishing Virginian (1942), starring Frank Morgan, Kathryn Grayson

Frank Morgan stars in a rare leading role in The Vanishing Virginian and does it well.  It’s a sweet, tender story – with moments of bitter-sweetness.  The funeral scene for Josh is truly touching, as well as giving Kathryn Grayson an opportunity to sing beautifully.

Cast of characters in The Vanishing Virginian

  • Robert Yancey (Frank Morgan, The Wizard of Oz).  The family patriarch, a long-term district attorney, who is resistant to the changes in his world.
  • Rebecca Yancey (Kathryn Grayson, Lovely to Look AtThousands Cheer).  Robert’s daughter, who is one of the changes.  She’s interested in not only driving a car (shocking!), and voting (worse!) and … dating!
  • Rosa Yancey (Spring ByingtonHeaven Can WaitWerewolf of London).  Robert’s loving wife, who doesn’t want him to run for re-election for a 9th term.  Out of concern for how he won’t be able to handle it if he loses.
  • Uncle Josh Preston (Leigh WhipperOf Mice and MenRoad to Zanzibar).  Robert’s old friend and farm hand.  An older man, very kind and sweet, who risks his own life to rescue a young child who stumbles into a dangerous place.

Editorial review of The Vanishing Virginian

Women lawyers? Women drivers? Women voters? The Yancey family of Lynchburg, Virginia, grapples with strange new ideas in this endearing film based on Rebecca Yancey Williams’ memoir of growing up in the early 1900s. Much more than the suffragette movement upsets the Yanceys’ well-ordered lives, from young romance to a sensational murder trial to that amazing contraption the automobile. Frank Morgan (The Wizard of Oz) stars as the Yancey paterfamilias, Lynchburg’s principled D.A.; Spring Byington (Little Women) is his gentle wife, much mystified by modern goings-on, and Kathryn Grayson, with her exquisite face and even more exquisite soprano, plays a Yancey daughter in this tender valentine to a bygone era.