New Morals for Old


1h 14m 1932
New Morals for Old

Brief Synopsis

The generation gap almost tears apart a New York society family.

Film Details

Genre
Comedy
Drama
Adaptation
Release Date
Jun 4, 1932
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Distribution Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Distributing Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the play After All by John Van Druten (London, 2 Feb 1930).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 14m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
8 reels

Synopsis

Well-to-do wallpaper manufacturer Thomas and his wife still worry and fuss over their now grown children, Ralph and Phyl, even though the younger Thomases try to exert their independence and a "modern" moral outlook. Ralph, who designs wallpaper for his father's company, wants to become a serious painter, while Phyl wants to be free to pursue a relationship with Duff Wilson, an unhappily married man. Two months after Ralph has promised his father to turn down an offer to study art in Paris for a year, Phyl tearfully confesses to Mr. Thomas that she has been spending every weekend with Duff and wants to get her own apartment to be with him. Though shocked, Thomas gently comforts his daughter, but the next day dies of a stroke. After the funeral, Mrs. Thomas, who does not approve of Phyl's behavior, begs Ralph to keep his promise to stay a year so that she will not be alone. When the year is up, Ralph finally goes to Paris to study with famed art teacher Bodvin, despite his mother's pleadings. Some time later, Phyl tells her mother that Duff's wife has agreed to a divorce and they soon will marry. Though still uneasy with each other, Mrs. Thomas and Phyl reconcile, and Mrs. Thomas tells her maid Alice that she will no longer interfere in her children's lives. On Phyl and Duff's honeymoon in Paris, they go to see Ralph, who has sunk lower and lower since being told by Bodvin that as an artist he could only be successful as a designer or decorator. Though impoverished and homesick, he refuses to go with Phyl, saying that he can't go home yet. Several months later, Ralph does return, though, unaware that Phyl had sent him a telegram saying that their mother is very ill. Mrs. Thomas is overjoyed when Ralph says that he is going to stay, but dies after they drink a toast to his return. About a year later, Phyl and Duff and their twin babies are happily living in the Thomas family home. While Ralph and stuffy old Aunty Doe visit for dinner one evening, one of the twins puts a button up his nose. As Phyl, Duff and Ralph become panic-stricken, Aunty Doe calmly helps the baby sneeze the button out. With the resolution of the momentary crisis, Ralph realizes that he has missed family life, and Duff and Phyl happily invite him to live with them. As he and Duff leave to get his things, Phyl tells them not to be out too late, and they laughingly realize that history is repeating itself as the younger generation starts to act like their parents.

Film Details

Genre
Comedy
Drama
Adaptation
Release Date
Jun 4, 1932
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Distribution Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Distributing Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the play After All by John Van Druten (London, 2 Feb 1930).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 14m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
8 reels

Articles

New Morals for Old


Myrna Loy wasn't always a star at MGM. Even though she worked as hard as any other contract player (up at 5:30, in makeup at 7, on set at 9), the naturally shy actress just couldn't "lift the veil" (as Thalberg put it) that walled off her charm from the audience. As a result, she spent the early '30s being underused by the studio (often perplexingly cast as ethnicized vamps). New Morals for Old was one picture she made during this casting-about period, a light, jaunty drama about the Jazz Age comings and goings of a sister (Margaret Perry) and brother (Robert Young) whose parents (Lewis Stone and Laura Hope Crews) cluck in disapproval at this modern morality. (The plot revolving around the seduction of a married man paralleled Loy's own affair with the then-married Arthur Hornblow, Jr., soon to be her first husband.) New Morals for Old made few ripples, but two years later, director W. S. Van Dyke discovered how Loy's shyness, when lit and shot right, could instead look like bulletproof cool. When he cast her in The Thin Man (1934), she lifted the veil forever after.

By Violet LeVoit
New Morals For Old

New Morals for Old

Myrna Loy wasn't always a star at MGM. Even though she worked as hard as any other contract player (up at 5:30, in makeup at 7, on set at 9), the naturally shy actress just couldn't "lift the veil" (as Thalberg put it) that walled off her charm from the audience. As a result, she spent the early '30s being underused by the studio (often perplexingly cast as ethnicized vamps). New Morals for Old was one picture she made during this casting-about period, a light, jaunty drama about the Jazz Age comings and goings of a sister (Margaret Perry) and brother (Robert Young) whose parents (Lewis Stone and Laura Hope Crews) cluck in disapproval at this modern morality. (The plot revolving around the seduction of a married man paralleled Loy's own affair with the then-married Arthur Hornblow, Jr., soon to be her first husband.) New Morals for Old made few ripples, but two years later, director W. S. Van Dyke discovered how Loy's shyness, when lit and shot right, could instead look like bulletproof cool. When he cast her in The Thin Man (1934), she lifted the veil forever after. By Violet LeVoit

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

John Van Druten's play opened in New York on December 3, 1931. Madeleine Carroll played the role of "Phyl" in the London production, and Margaret Perry, who made her motion picture debut in the film, played the role in the New York production. According to a news item in Film Daily, David Newell took over the role of "Duff" from Donald Cook, who had an auto accident just after filming began. Another news item noted that Tully Marshall had been added to the cast, however, he was not in the released film and it has not been determined at what point his role was removed. The church used in the opening scene of the film is the First Methodist Church on Franklin Blvd. in Hollywood.