Monday, August 12, 2019

The Young at Heart (1938): A Sentimental Tale About a Band of Grifters

Billie Burke, Janet Gaynor and Roland Young
The Young at Heart (1938) involves a family of con artists who set out to bilk an old woman of her fortune, but come away rehabilitated by the woman's kindness, compassion and encouragement.  I have a soft spot for this sort of redemption arc and this film handles it very well.

Douglas Fairbanks Jr. and Janet Gaynor

Janet Gaynor gives a heartfelt performance.  It's a shame that the actress retired from the screen only months after completing this film.

Richard Carlson and Janet Gaynor

Raquel Stecher of Out of the Past wrote:
I was utterly enchanted by The Young in Heart.  It's just the sort of feel good movie that isn't sickly sweet with its message.  Rather it gently tugs at your heart strings. . . I loved watching the evolution of the Carleton family. They're an endearing foursome and I enjoyed watching them transform from no-good con artists to upstanding citizens.
Paulette Goddard and Douglas Fairbanks Jr.
Rotten Tomatoes spoiler!
[Miss Fortune is] played with showstopping relish by Broadway veteran Minnie Dupree. . . Young in Heart originally ended with Miss Fortune passing away while surrounded by the repentant family; preview audiences hated this denouement, obliging [producer David O.] Selznick to film a new ending, with Minnie Dupree joyously tooling about on a motorcyle!
I have a few leftover images from the film.


Reference source

Raquel Stecher, "The Young in Heart (1938)," Out of the Past (January 15, 2018).

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