Cinema: The New Pictures, Jan. 8, 1951

The Magnificent Yankee (MGM) is an affectionate salute to the late Associate Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes of the U.S. Supreme Court, but not a very impressive one. Patterning the movie after his own 1946 Broadway play, Scripter Emmet Lavery sentimentalizes Holmes's life in Washington in the years between T.R. and F.D.R.

The portrait seems to owe less to the Supreme Court's Holmes than to Life with Father's Clarence Day. Understandably, the only real conflict in Holmes's later years, i.e., the clash of legal ideas, hardly lends itself to dramatization. But Lavery skimps even on...

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