'Cass Timberlane' was Sinclair Lewis' best novel in a decade. After the alcohol haze that produced his worst books ~ 'Work of Art' and 'The Prodigal Parents' ~ he surprised everyone with a vault upwards. The novel was a departure for him: about a May-December romance/marriage between a 41-year-old judge and a 26-year-old 'new woman,' it had, dotted in its seemingly stolid tale, outbreaks of three-to-six page descriptions of various marriages, some good, some horrific.
When brought to the screen, MGM sanded away all the darkness of the original. The cast doesn't work, either. Tracy is too bucolic; Lana Turner is stretched way beyond her meager capabilities; and Zachary Scott is serviceable but not the slick charmer Lewis had created. The strength of the novel was its --quite successful-- depiction of a midwest city's community, and that's nowhere to be found here.