Here’s a fun little movie: the 1938 comedy The Young In Heart, starring Janet Gaynor, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Paulette Goddard, Roland Young and Billie Burke.
In this movie, we follow the Carletons, a family of con artists. They are caught as the son, Richard (Douglas Fairbanks Jr.) prepares to marry into a rich family, and are forced to leave on a train. On the train, they meet Miss Ellen Fortune, a lonely old lady. When the train crashes, they save her, and she offers them her home as long as they are willing to stay. Hoping that she will include them in her will, they decide to act like the people she believes them to be, so Richard and his father, Col. Carleton (Roland Young) both reluctantly get jobs. Of course, the question becomes, whether it is all an act, or have they really changed, becoming better people?
To be fair, calling this movie a comedy isn’t quite accurate. It does have elements of comedy, yes, but it rarely focuses in on them enough that you’re constantly laughing (not necessarily a bad thing). The movie does have its sadder moments as well, allowing for some balance. The movie really does focus in on this family, and allows us to see that they are not completely bad, and are indeed capable of changing, especially when given a chance.
When this movie was originally announced for release on Blu-ray and DVD, it was one I had never heard of. And, quite frankly, I had little to no interest in it. However, I then came off of seeing actress Paulette Goddard in both Modern Times and The Great Dictator, along with a few of her other movies I had seen over the years, so I decided to try this movie because of her. Much to my surprise, in spite of being third-billed and fairly prominent in the posters I have seen, she actually doesn’t have that much of a part, not really appearing until about halfway through the movie, and even then, she doesn’t really do much outside of her scenes with Douglas Fairbanks Jr. Honestly, I hadn’t even realized at first that she was only just becoming a bigger star, as a result of being in Modern Times. Still, I did enjoy her performance in this movie (and everyone else’s, too, including Billie Burke as the ever daffy Marmy). So, I do recommend this movie. Maybe it’s only worth renting for most, but it is one I enjoy just the same, so I would at least suggest trying this movie if you get the chance!
The movie is available on Blu-ray and DVD from Kino Lorber.
Film Length: 1 hour, 31 minutes
My Rating: 7/10
List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections
Paulette Goddard – The Cat And The Canary (1939)
Merrily We Live (1938) – Billie Burke – Zenobia (1939)