The Magnificent Yankee is a 1950 American biographical film adapted by Emmet Lavery from his play of the same title, which was in turn adapted from the book Mr. Justice Holmes by Francis Biddle. The story examines the life of United States Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes.
The film was directed by John Sturges, with stars Louis Calhern, Ann Harding, Eduard Franz, and Philip Ober. Calhern created the role of Oliver Wendell Holmes in the play's original Broadway production, and the part was his only starring role in a sound film. A grateful Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer purchased the film rights of the play specifically as a reward to Calhern for playing many fine supporting roles for the studio for years.
The film was nominated for Academy Awards for Best Actor in a Leading Role (Louis Calhern) and Best Costume Design, Black-and-White.
A Hallmark Hall of Fame television production of the same title was broadcast in 1965 starring Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne.
Louis Calhern - Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
Ann Harding - Fanny Bowditch Holmes
Philip Ober - Mr. Owen Wister
Eduard Franz - Justice Louis Brandeis
Ian Wolfe - Mr. Adams
Edith Evanson - Annie Gough
Jimmy Lydon - Clinton
Richard Anderson - Reynolds
Herbert Anderson - Baxter
Hayden Rorke - Graham (uncredited)
Dan Tobin - Dixon (uncredited)
The film was made on a relatively small budget but only earned $487,000 in the US and Canada and $76,000 elsewhere, resulting in a loss to MGM of $471,000.
For his score for this film David Raksin incorporated the songs "The Battle Hymn of the Republic", "Auld Lang Syne," and a portion of "A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square." Raksin also conducted the score.
The complete score was issued on CD in 2009, on Film Score Monthly records.