The Truth About Youth


1h 7m 1930
The Truth About Youth

Brief Synopsis

A gold digging cabaret singer is unaware that her latest love is penniless.

Film Details

Genre
Romance
Drama
Adaptation
Release Date
Jan 1930
Premiere Information
release: 19 Oct or 3 nov 1930
Production Company
First National Pictures
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the play When We Were Twenty-One by Henry V. Esmond (New York, 5 Feb 1900).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 7m
Sound
Vitaphone
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
6,235ft (7 reels)

Synopsis

Richard Carewe, the guardian of Richard Dane, plans for him to marry Phyllis Ericson, the daughter of Carewe's housekeeper; Dick, however, falls for Kara, a nightclub entertainer. Mrs. Ericson finds a note implicating Dick, The Imp, with The Firefly and shows it to Phyllis, who in turn, shows it to Carewe. Not wanting the note to destroy his plans for Phyllis and The Imp, Carewe claims the note as his and offers Kara $5,000 to simulate being in love with him, unaware that she has married The Imp the day before. But when gambler Jim Green wins enough money to claim Kara again, she dismisses young Dick. Kara returns the $5,000, and all parties agree on a divorce in 6 months. The Imp confesses his escapade to Phyllis and decides to go west, leaving Phyllis free to declare her love for Carewe, whom she has long loved.

Film Details

Genre
Romance
Drama
Adaptation
Release Date
Jan 1930
Premiere Information
release: 19 Oct or 3 nov 1930
Production Company
First National Pictures
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the play When We Were Twenty-One by Henry V. Esmond (New York, 5 Feb 1900).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 7m
Sound
Vitaphone
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
6,235ft (7 reels)

Articles

The Truth About Youth (1930) - The Truth About Youth


Four years away from her breakthrough comedy role at MGM in The Thin Man (1934), Myrna Loy played one of the femme fatale roles that characterized her early career in The Truth About Youth (1930). This pre-Code drama was directed by William A. Seiter and produced by Warner Bros. subsidiary First National Pictures. The film is based on a 1900 play, When We Were Twenty-One, by Henry V. Esmond. The Truth About Youth is one of three films (the others being 1929's The Squall and 1930's The Devil to Pay! ) in which Loy plays the sexy "other woman" to Young's virtuous ingénue. This time around, Young is Phyllis Ericson, a pretty young thing who is engaged to marry playboy Richard Dane (David Manners). As it happens, Phyllis's mother (Myrtle Stedman), is the housekeeper of Richard's mentor Richard Carewe (Conway Tearle), who raised the boy from childhood after the death of his father. The action begins on the occasion of Dane's 21st birthday, for which Carewe has planned a surprise birthday party. Dane, whose nickname is "The Imp," fails to show up as he has gone to a nightclub to see Kara (Loy), a gold-digging showgirl who sings and dances under the name "The Firefly." Returning home the worse for wear, Dane accidentally drops a note from Kara that is found the next morning by the housekeeper and shown to Phyllis. In an effort to smooth things over, Carewe tells Phyllis that the note was actually his - a believable lie since the note was addressed to "Richard," the first name shared by Dane and Carewe. Phyllis is distraught, because she is actually in love with Carewe even though he is old enough to be her father. More entanglements ensue when Kara agrees to marry Dane under the mistaken notion that he is wealthy, and Carewe unwittingly hires Kara to pretend to be his lover in public. Despite the age difference, the movie attempts a happy ending by allowing Carewe and Phyllis to pair off in a final clinch. With Young a dewy-eyed 17 and Tearle a rather dissipated 52, they form a questionable May-December couple. The truth about youth, indeed! Loy was actually a professional dancer, having trained with Ted Shawn (husband of modern dancer Ruth St. Denis and her co-leader with the Denishawn dance company), and The Truth About Youth is one of the few films in which she gets to show off this ability. At the nightclub, she performs such songs as "Playing Around" and "I Have to Have You." She sings in a light, clear voice (apparently her own) and struts about nimbly. Young gets top billing, but it is Loy who steals the film as the flashy and amoral "Firefly," whose taste in men runs to those "who crush the life out of me and make me like it!" The teenaged Young was admittedly intimidated by the older and more experienced Loy, but the two actresses became friendly on an equal footing after both emerged as first-tier Hollywood stars. Young would recall Loy as "one of the substantial, one of the very important, people in the motion-picture industry. Even when she started out, she had a quality about her, but by the time she got to MGM she was so well-seasoned. I loved that part of her career. That had real elegance, I thought. That's when she realized her full potential, because Myrna's one of those rare people with humor in our business... She was always a little bit wiser, more compassionate and sophisticated." The Truth About Youth was preserved intact at the Library of Congress and, in addition to its showings on TCM, is available on DVD from the Warner Archive Collection, where it forms a double feature with another Loretta Young movie, The Right of Way (1931).

By Roger Fristoe
The Truth About Youth (1930) - The Truth About Youth

The Truth About Youth (1930) - The Truth About Youth

Four years away from her breakthrough comedy role at MGM in The Thin Man (1934), Myrna Loy played one of the femme fatale roles that characterized her early career in The Truth About Youth (1930). This pre-Code drama was directed by William A. Seiter and produced by Warner Bros. subsidiary First National Pictures. The film is based on a 1900 play, When We Were Twenty-One, by Henry V. Esmond. The Truth About Youth is one of three films (the others being 1929's The Squall and 1930's The Devil to Pay! ) in which Loy plays the sexy "other woman" to Young's virtuous ingénue. This time around, Young is Phyllis Ericson, a pretty young thing who is engaged to marry playboy Richard Dane (David Manners). As it happens, Phyllis's mother (Myrtle Stedman), is the housekeeper of Richard's mentor Richard Carewe (Conway Tearle), who raised the boy from childhood after the death of his father. The action begins on the occasion of Dane's 21st birthday, for which Carewe has planned a surprise birthday party. Dane, whose nickname is "The Imp," fails to show up as he has gone to a nightclub to see Kara (Loy), a gold-digging showgirl who sings and dances under the name "The Firefly." Returning home the worse for wear, Dane accidentally drops a note from Kara that is found the next morning by the housekeeper and shown to Phyllis. In an effort to smooth things over, Carewe tells Phyllis that the note was actually his - a believable lie since the note was addressed to "Richard," the first name shared by Dane and Carewe. Phyllis is distraught, because she is actually in love with Carewe even though he is old enough to be her father. More entanglements ensue when Kara agrees to marry Dane under the mistaken notion that he is wealthy, and Carewe unwittingly hires Kara to pretend to be his lover in public. Despite the age difference, the movie attempts a happy ending by allowing Carewe and Phyllis to pair off in a final clinch. With Young a dewy-eyed 17 and Tearle a rather dissipated 52, they form a questionable May-December couple. The truth about youth, indeed! Loy was actually a professional dancer, having trained with Ted Shawn (husband of modern dancer Ruth St. Denis and her co-leader with the Denishawn dance company), and The Truth About Youth is one of the few films in which she gets to show off this ability. At the nightclub, she performs such songs as "Playing Around" and "I Have to Have You." She sings in a light, clear voice (apparently her own) and struts about nimbly. Young gets top billing, but it is Loy who steals the film as the flashy and amoral "Firefly," whose taste in men runs to those "who crush the life out of me and make me like it!" The teenaged Young was admittedly intimidated by the older and more experienced Loy, but the two actresses became friendly on an equal footing after both emerged as first-tier Hollywood stars. Young would recall Loy as "one of the substantial, one of the very important, people in the motion-picture industry. Even when she started out, she had a quality about her, but by the time she got to MGM she was so well-seasoned. I loved that part of her career. That had real elegance, I thought. That's when she realized her full potential, because Myrna's one of those rare people with humor in our business... She was always a little bit wiser, more compassionate and sophisticated." The Truth About Youth was preserved intact at the Library of Congress and, in addition to its showings on TCM, is available on DVD from the Warner Archive Collection, where it forms a double feature with another Loretta Young movie, The Right of Way (1931). By Roger Fristoe

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