The Young Philadelphians


2h 16m 1959
The Young Philadelphians

Brief Synopsis

A young lawyer from the wrong side of town tries to break into society.

Film Details

Also Known As
The City Jungle, The Philadelphian
Genre
Drama
Adaptation
Classic Hollywood
Release Date
May 30, 1959
Premiere Information
Philadelphia opening: 19 May 1959; New York opening: 21 May 1959; Los Angeles opening: 22 May 1959
Production Company
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Location
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel The Philadelphian by Richard Powell (New York, 1956).

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 16m
Sound
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.85 : 1

Synopsis

On her wedding night, Kate Judson Lawrence, the granddaughter of an Irish servant, learns that her wealthy, Philadelphia Main Line society husband, Bill, is impotent. After Bill flees from their hotel room, Kate seeks comfort from childhood friend Mike Flanagan, a second-generation Irish laborer, and the next day, learns that Bill died in an automobile accident. When Kate gives birth to Anthony Judson Lawrence, Bill's martinet mother, guessing the child is not Bill's, threatens to disown the baby. Uninterested in the Lawrence fortune, but determined to climb Philadelphia's social ladder, Kate threatens to make public what happened on their wedding night and taint the Lawrences' reputation, unless Tony is allowed to keep the Lawrence name. Despite Mike's coarse appearance, he is determined to get rich and marry Kate. Instead, Kate chooses to live a life of genteel poverty, saying that Mike can never "open the right doors" for Tony. Twenty years later, Tony is studying pre-law at Princeton University and working summers at Mike's successful construction company, when he has a chance encounter with Joan, daughter of attorney Gilbert Dickinson. Although not engaged, she is "expected" to marry Carter Henry, but sees folly in the arranged marriages of her social class. Although Tony can afford no more than "hamburger and chili," she dates him, falls in love and becomes troubled that Tony's pride and her family's prejudice will delay their marriage for years until he is settled into his profession. Heavy-drinking Chester "Chet" Gwynne, Tony's Princeton buddy and distant relation to Joan, is the bitter victim of a manipulative family, who have tried to marry him off against his will and who control his fortune through his guardian and uncle, Morton Stearnes, who works with Dickinson. Chet advises Joan to get pregnant to force the marriage and warns her not to let the family "buy off" Tony. When Joan later attempts to seduce him, Tony, unwilling to take advantage of her, instead agrees to elope, but before they leave, Gilbert intervenes and offers to mentor Tony through law school by giving him a job at his firm, if he waits to marry Joan until he graduates, asserting that Tony will then be in a more advantageous position from which to support Joan. Then, Gilbert slyly convinces Joan that Tony placed his ambitions ahead of his love for her. Disappointed in Tony, Joan travels to Europe and finds Carter, unaware that Gilbert arranged to reunite them. Weeks later, when Tony learns that Joan and Carter have married, he assumes that she gave herself to "the highest bidder." After a drunken binge from which he is rescued by Chet and Mike, Tony becomes more competitive and manipulative. When he learns that fellow student Louis Donetti, a second generation Italian, is vying for a summer job, living on an estate and helping the older, esteemed attorney John Marshall Wharton write a book, Tony maneuvers to get the job for himself. Thus, he is able to break off with the Dickinson firm, while widening his sphere of future connections. His intelligence and hard work is appreciated by Wharton, and Wharton's wife Carol, who is older than Tony but much younger than her husband, becomes attracted to him. When she comes to his bed one night, Tony, not wanting to offend her with rejection, nor alienate himself from Wharton and thwart his ambitions, begs her to divorce Wharton and marry him. As he has planned, Carol is unwilling to "start over," but nevertheless flattered by his offer, and Tony maintains the good opinion of both husband and wife. Soon after, Wharton offers him a job at the firm and Tony decides to specialize in tax law, a growing subfield of the profession, but the Korean War disrupts his plans. Tony is drafted into a non-combat commission, but Chet loses an arm in a battle and Carter, who joined to escape his unhappy marriage, is killed. After the war, Tony takes his place as the lowest junior partner of Wharton's firm. The successful Louie, who now represents unions and holds no grudge against Tony, meets by happenstance Mrs. J. Arthur Allen, the eccentric, but kind and shrewd, widow of a millionaire oilman, and sends her to Tony's office to make a will for her dog. Knowing that Mrs. Allen, who is Joan's aunt, is a key client at Dickinson's firm, Tony develops a proposal that will save her $200,000 a year in taxes, using information from the county clerk that was secretly acquired through Mike's connections. Throughout his presentation to Mrs. Allen, Tony carefully avoids any behavior that can be construed as stealing another firm's client, as it would cost him his career. Mrs. Allen and Joan, whose opinion she trusts, approve of his plan, forcing Morton to turn over her affairs to Wharton's office without censuring him. Tony moves up to senior partner at Wharton's firm, and Joan noncommittally agrees to date him again, although she still believes he is driven only by ambition. At a dinner party with Joan, Tony witnesses a disagreement between Dr. Shippen "Ship" Stearnes, a relative of Chet who, as executor of the Lawrence estate, knows about Tony's illegitimacy, and Morton, who leaves the party early in anger. When Morton is murdered later that night, a drunken Chet, who is being held for the murder, calls Tony from the city jail. Chet admits to visiting Morton that night, but claims Morton was alive when he left in an angry mood. Although Tony is not a trial lawyer, Chet wants him to represent his case. Ship, too, pressures Tony to take the case, to assure that the presumably guilty Chet is institutionalized with little publicity or scandal for the family. Joan, who is loyal to Chet, believes the family will sacrifice him to assure that their mistreatment of him does not become public. Fearing that Tony will either "sell out over the long run" or lose status, she offers to pay for an out-of-town attorney, who is free of Main Line influence, to represent Chet. When Tony vows to investigate fully the murder and free Chet, Ship threatens Kate that he will publicly reveal Tony's real father, forcing Mike and Kate to tell Tony the truth about his past. Mike explains that he and Tony could weather society's disapproval, but Kate's reputation would be ruined irreparably. Mike fears there is no way to protect Chet without hurting his family, but Tony, though worried about his mother, feels it is his duty to help Chet. Louis is the prosecutor of a seemingly airtight case, which hinges on the testimony of Morton's butler, who did not see or hear Chet leave the house, but claims he can pin down the time Chet left by an empty glass, which he insists smelled of Chet's cheap liquor. During a courtroom wine-tasting, to test the butler's sense of smell, Tony pours three liquids into separate glasses, then tricks him into identifying a glass of brandy as water. After discrediting the witness, Tony calls Ship to the stand to testify about the argument he had with Morton on the night of the party, forcing Ship to admit that Morton had been mishandling his financial duties. Producing evidence that Morton knew he had a brain tumor, Tony suggests that Morton committed suicide. When the jury concurs, Chet is acquitted and taken under the wing of Mrs. Allen. Joan, now realizing that Tony will sacrifice his career for matters of principle, reconciles with him.

Videos

Movie Clip

Young Philadelphians, The (1959) - Some Kind Of Social Position Wrapping up the 1920’s prologue and introducing the star, Diana Brewster as widowed Philadelphian and new mom Kate, whose high-society husband died, possibly by suicide, on their wedding night, with the rough-hewn immigrant Mike (Brian Keith), who is the real father of her son Anthony, who grows up to be Paul Newman, in The Young Philadelphians, 1959.
Young Philadelphians, The (1959) - If You Brought A Shotgun... Respectable but poor Tony (Paul Newman), a semester short of finishing Princeton, and Joan (Barbara Rush), his affluent lovestruck girlfriend, have decided to elope but get intercepted by his long-widowed mother (Diane Brewster), and her high-powered lawyer father (John Williams), in The Young Philadelphians, 1959.
Young Philadelphians, The (1959) - I Always Used A Diagram Law student Tony, now cynical due to earlier setbacks, is spending the summer helping rich retiring lawyer Wharton (Otto Kruger) write a book, drawing all the attention of his young wife Carol (Alexis Smith), the three of them then receiving guests Carter and Joan (Fred Eisley, Barbara Rush), who was once, secretly, Tony’s fianceè, in The Young Philadelphians, 1959.
Young Philadelphians, The (1959) - Pleasant Or Unpleasant Still in his first scene and semi-shirtless, Paul Newman as summering Princeton man Tony, who has no idea his construction company owner boss is his real father, has to step in when his driver Carson (Lennie Bremen) crashes into Barbara Rush, making probably her best entrance ever, as society gal Joan, in The Young Philadelphians, 1959.
Young Philadelphians, The (1959) - Interesting Heredity On summer break from Princeton, pre-Law roommates Robert Vaughn, as ultra-rich party animal Chet, and Paul Newman as respectable but under-funded Tony, at the polo club, meet Chet’s guardian uncles, Robert Douglas, then Frank Conroy, who appears to know the secret of Tony’s lineage, in The Young Philadelphians, 1959.

Trailer

Hosted Intro

Film Details

Also Known As
The City Jungle, The Philadelphian
Genre
Drama
Adaptation
Classic Hollywood
Release Date
May 30, 1959
Premiere Information
Philadelphia opening: 19 May 1959; New York opening: 21 May 1959; Los Angeles opening: 22 May 1959
Production Company
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Location
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel The Philadelphian by Richard Powell (New York, 1956).

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 16m
Sound
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.85 : 1

Award Nominations

Best Cinematography

1959

Best Costume Design

1959
Howard Shoup

Best Supporting Actor

1959
Robert Vaughn

Articles

The Young Philadelphians


Old Hollywood and young Hollywood met for this 1959 tale of sex, sin and scandal in the city of brotherly love. On one side were such veterans as director Vincent Sherman, forties star Alexis Smith and, making her first film in six years, Glinda the Good Witch herself, Billie Burke. Representing youth were hot new star Paul Newman, leading lady Barbara Rush, up-and-comer Robert Vaughn and, in his film debut, future Batman Adam West. For once, the generations blended perfectly, producing an intelligent melodrama that fed Newman's matinee idol status.

Newman was interested in lots more than that. In fact, he was forced to do the film under the Warner Bros. contract he'd signed when he first started making movies in 1955. Although he'd won an Oscar¿ nomination the year before for Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, he hadn't been happy with most of his film work and wanted to go back to the stage. The only way he could get there was by giving Warner's another film. But despite his disappointment with Hollywood, he gave The Young Philadelphians (1959) all he had, creating a memorable portrait of a young man who'd do anything to get to the top - 'including sleeping with his boss's wife (Smith).

For Sherman, The Young Philadelphians marked a return to Warner Bros. after eight years of not even speaking to studio head Jack Warner. After going freelance in the early fifties, Sherman had been out of work for four years and could not understand why Warner had done nothing to help him. He finally had to go to Europe to re-establish his reputation. Then Warner visited him on location in London and invited him back to the studio - 'at a third of his former salary. Sherman finally accepted when Warner agreed to give him a handsome bonus if he completed a film during his first year. The Young Philadelphians brought him that bonus.

Robert Vaughn came to the picture fresh from the title role in Roger Corman's low-budget Teenage Caveman (1958). He knew his meaty role - 'as a mixed-up young man who loses an arm in Korea, turns to drink, then faces a murder charge - 'could spell better things. Just to make sure it did, he launched a vigorous advertising campaign that helped him win an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor. The award went to Hugh Griffith for Ben-Hur, but Vaughn's performance launched him on a solid career that included The Magnificent Seven (1960) and the television series The Man From Uncle (1964-68).

Director: Vincent Sherman
Screenplay: James Gunn, based on the novel 'The Philadelphian' by Richard Powell
Cinematography: Harry Stradling Sr.
Editor: William Ziegler
Art Direction: Malcolm Bert
Music: Ernest Gold
Cast: Paul Newman (Tony Lawrence), Barbara Rush (Joan Dickinson), Alexis Smith (Carol Wharton), Brian Keith (Mike Flanagan), Diane Brewster (Kate Lawrence), Billie Burke (Mrs. J. Arthur Allen), John Williams (Gilbert Dickinson), Robert Vaughn (Chester A. 'Chet' Gwynn). Otto Kruger (John Marshall Wharton), Adam West (William Lawrence III).
BW-137m. Letterboxed. Descriptive Video.

by Frank Miller
The Young Philadelphians

The Young Philadelphians

Old Hollywood and young Hollywood met for this 1959 tale of sex, sin and scandal in the city of brotherly love. On one side were such veterans as director Vincent Sherman, forties star Alexis Smith and, making her first film in six years, Glinda the Good Witch herself, Billie Burke. Representing youth were hot new star Paul Newman, leading lady Barbara Rush, up-and-comer Robert Vaughn and, in his film debut, future Batman Adam West. For once, the generations blended perfectly, producing an intelligent melodrama that fed Newman's matinee idol status. Newman was interested in lots more than that. In fact, he was forced to do the film under the Warner Bros. contract he'd signed when he first started making movies in 1955. Although he'd won an Oscar¿ nomination the year before for Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, he hadn't been happy with most of his film work and wanted to go back to the stage. The only way he could get there was by giving Warner's another film. But despite his disappointment with Hollywood, he gave The Young Philadelphians (1959) all he had, creating a memorable portrait of a young man who'd do anything to get to the top - 'including sleeping with his boss's wife (Smith). For Sherman, The Young Philadelphians marked a return to Warner Bros. after eight years of not even speaking to studio head Jack Warner. After going freelance in the early fifties, Sherman had been out of work for four years and could not understand why Warner had done nothing to help him. He finally had to go to Europe to re-establish his reputation. Then Warner visited him on location in London and invited him back to the studio - 'at a third of his former salary. Sherman finally accepted when Warner agreed to give him a handsome bonus if he completed a film during his first year. The Young Philadelphians brought him that bonus. Robert Vaughn came to the picture fresh from the title role in Roger Corman's low-budget Teenage Caveman (1958). He knew his meaty role - 'as a mixed-up young man who loses an arm in Korea, turns to drink, then faces a murder charge - 'could spell better things. Just to make sure it did, he launched a vigorous advertising campaign that helped him win an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor. The award went to Hugh Griffith for Ben-Hur, but Vaughn's performance launched him on a solid career that included The Magnificent Seven (1960) and the television series The Man From Uncle (1964-68). Director: Vincent Sherman Screenplay: James Gunn, based on the novel 'The Philadelphian' by Richard Powell Cinematography: Harry Stradling Sr. Editor: William Ziegler Art Direction: Malcolm Bert Music: Ernest Gold Cast: Paul Newman (Tony Lawrence), Barbara Rush (Joan Dickinson), Alexis Smith (Carol Wharton), Brian Keith (Mike Flanagan), Diane Brewster (Kate Lawrence), Billie Burke (Mrs. J. Arthur Allen), John Williams (Gilbert Dickinson), Robert Vaughn (Chester A. 'Chet' Gwynn). Otto Kruger (John Marshall Wharton), Adam West (William Lawrence III). BW-137m. Letterboxed. Descriptive Video. by Frank Miller

TCM Remembers Paul Newman (1925-2008) - Important Schedule Change for Paul Newman Tribute
Sunday, October 12


In Honor of Paul Newman, who died on September 26, TCM will air a tribute to the actor on Sunday, October 12th, replacing the current scheduled programming with the following movies:

Sunday, October 12 Program for TCM
6:00 AM The Rack
8:00 AM Until They Sail
10:00 AM Torn Curtain
12:15 PM Exodus
3:45 PM Sweet Bird of Youth
6:00 PM Hud
8:00 PM Somebody Up There Likes Me
10:00 PM Cool Hand Luke
12:15 AM Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
2:15 AM Rachel, Rachel
4:00 AM The Outrage


TCM Remembers Paul Newman (1925-2008)
Paul Newman, with his electric blue eyes and gutsy willingness to play anti-heroes, established himself as one of the movies' great leading men before settling into his latter-day career of flinty character acting. Born in Shaker Heights, Ohio, in 1925, Newman studied at the Yale Drama School and New York's Actors Studio before making his Broadway debut in Picnic.

Newman's breakthrough in films came in Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956), in which he played boxer Rocky Graziano. He quickly reinforced his reputation in such vehicles as The Rack (1956) and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958), for which he won the first of nine Oscar® nominations as an actor.

In 1958, while shooting The Long Hot Summer (1958) - which earned him the Best Actor award at the Cannes Film Festival - in Louisiana, he became re-acquainted with Joanne Woodward, who was the film's female lead. The two soon fell in love, and after divorcing Jackie, Newman and Woodward were married in Las Vegas in 1958. The couple appeared in numerous films together and had three daughters, which they raised far from Hollywood in the affluent neighborhood of Westport, CT.

The 1960s was a fruitful decade for Newman, who starred in such hits as Exodus (1960), Sweet Bird of Youth (1962) and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969); and scored Oscar® nominations for The Hustler (1961), Hud (1963) and Cool Hand Luke (1967).

Newman's political activism also came to the forefront during the sixties, through tireless campaigning for Eugene McCarthy's 1968 presidential campaign. His association with McCarthy led to his being named on future President Richard Nixon's infamous "Opponents List;" Newman, who ranked #19 out of 20, later commented that his inclusion was among the proudest achievements of his career.

Newman's superstar status - he was the top-ranking box office star in 1969 and 1970 - allowed him to experiment with film roles during the 1970s, which led to quirky choices like WUSA (1970), Sometimes a Great Notion (1971), Pocket Money (1972), and The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean (1972) - all of which he also produced through First Artists, a company he established with fellow stars Sidney Poitier and Barbra Streisand.

After coming close to winning an Oscar® for Absence of Malice (1981), Newman finally won the award itself for The Color of Money (1986). He also received an honorary Oscar® in 1986 and the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award in 1994. A producer and director as well as an actor, Newman has directed his wife (and frequent costar) Joanne Woodward through some of her most effective screen performances [Rachel, Rachel (1968), The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds (1972)].

He remained active as an actor in his later years, playing the Stage Manager in Our Town on both stage and television, lending his voice to the animated features Cars (2006) and Mater and the Ghostlight (2006). Off-screen, Newman set the standard for celebrity-driven charities with his Newman's Own brand of foods, which brought $200 million to causes, and the Hole in the Wall Gang camp for seriously ill children.

TCM Remembers Paul Newman (1925-2008) - Important Schedule Change for Paul Newman Tribute Sunday, October 12

In Honor of Paul Newman, who died on September 26, TCM will air a tribute to the actor on Sunday, October 12th, replacing the current scheduled programming with the following movies: Sunday, October 12 Program for TCM 6:00 AM The Rack 8:00 AM Until They Sail 10:00 AM Torn Curtain 12:15 PM Exodus 3:45 PM Sweet Bird of Youth 6:00 PM Hud 8:00 PM Somebody Up There Likes Me 10:00 PM Cool Hand Luke 12:15 AM Cat on a Hot Tin Roof 2:15 AM Rachel, Rachel 4:00 AM The Outrage TCM Remembers Paul Newman (1925-2008) Paul Newman, with his electric blue eyes and gutsy willingness to play anti-heroes, established himself as one of the movies' great leading men before settling into his latter-day career of flinty character acting. Born in Shaker Heights, Ohio, in 1925, Newman studied at the Yale Drama School and New York's Actors Studio before making his Broadway debut in Picnic. Newman's breakthrough in films came in Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956), in which he played boxer Rocky Graziano. He quickly reinforced his reputation in such vehicles as The Rack (1956) and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958), for which he won the first of nine Oscar® nominations as an actor. In 1958, while shooting The Long Hot Summer (1958) - which earned him the Best Actor award at the Cannes Film Festival - in Louisiana, he became re-acquainted with Joanne Woodward, who was the film's female lead. The two soon fell in love, and after divorcing Jackie, Newman and Woodward were married in Las Vegas in 1958. The couple appeared in numerous films together and had three daughters, which they raised far from Hollywood in the affluent neighborhood of Westport, CT. The 1960s was a fruitful decade for Newman, who starred in such hits as Exodus (1960), Sweet Bird of Youth (1962) and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969); and scored Oscar® nominations for The Hustler (1961), Hud (1963) and Cool Hand Luke (1967). Newman's political activism also came to the forefront during the sixties, through tireless campaigning for Eugene McCarthy's 1968 presidential campaign. His association with McCarthy led to his being named on future President Richard Nixon's infamous "Opponents List;" Newman, who ranked #19 out of 20, later commented that his inclusion was among the proudest achievements of his career. Newman's superstar status - he was the top-ranking box office star in 1969 and 1970 - allowed him to experiment with film roles during the 1970s, which led to quirky choices like WUSA (1970), Sometimes a Great Notion (1971), Pocket Money (1972), and The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean (1972) - all of which he also produced through First Artists, a company he established with fellow stars Sidney Poitier and Barbra Streisand. After coming close to winning an Oscar® for Absence of Malice (1981), Newman finally won the award itself for The Color of Money (1986). He also received an honorary Oscar® in 1986 and the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award in 1994. A producer and director as well as an actor, Newman has directed his wife (and frequent costar) Joanne Woodward through some of her most effective screen performances [Rachel, Rachel (1968), The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds (1972)]. He remained active as an actor in his later years, playing the Stage Manager in Our Town on both stage and television, lending his voice to the animated features Cars (2006) and Mater and the Ghostlight (2006). Off-screen, Newman set the standard for celebrity-driven charities with his Newman's Own brand of foods, which brought $200 million to causes, and the Hole in the Wall Gang camp for seriously ill children.

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The working title of the film was The Philadelphian. After the opening credits, Paul Newman as "Tony Lawrence" is heard in voice-over, saying, "A man's life...is the sum of all his actions, but his actions are sometimes the result of the hopes, dreams and desires of those who came before him. In that sense, my life began even before I was born." The film then commences in June 1924. As noted in the Hollywood Reporter review, Richard Powell's original novel, The Philadelphian, spanned three generations, but the film "all but eliminates the first two...but manages to imply their story content."
       Although an August 1958 Hollywood Reporter news items names Richard Landau as a writer of the screenplay, his name is not mentioned elsewhere and his contribution to the final film has not been confirmed. An August 1958 Hollywood Reporter news item adds Diane Varsi to the cast, but she did not appear in the film. After completing the 1959 film, Compulsion, Varsi abruptly left Hollywood to retire in Vermont and did not appear onscreen again until 1967. Although contemporary Hollywood Reporter news items add Howard Woodward, Frankie Van and J. Anthony Hughes to the cast, their appearance in the film has not been confirmed. Modern sources add Jack Mower and Forbes Murray to the cast.
       According to a November 1958 Hollywood Reporter news item, actress Alexis Smith fell off a horse during shooting and was unable to work for three weeks due to her injuries. Warner Bros. studio publicity notes reported that twenty-seven-year-old actress Diane Brewster was required to spend up to two hours a day in makeup as her character progressively aged thirty years. A September 1958 Hollywood Reporter news item reported that Barbara Rush's commitment to filming The Young Philadelphians caused her to lose two other film roles, due to conflicting production schedules. According to the Motion Picture Herald review and Hollywood Reporter news items, Warner Bros. sent several of the studios' contracted actors, among them Connie Stevens and Troy Donahue, by Greyhound bus to the Philadelphia premiere, stopping at several cities to publicize the film. The film's premiere in Philadelphia was emceed by television personality Dick Clark.
       According to a June 1959 Hollywood Reporter news item, the film was released in England as The City Jungle, purportedly because the American city's name was too obscure to hold meaning to the British. The Young Philadelphians marked the film debut of actor Adam West. For his role in the film, Robert Vaughn was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, but lost to Hugh Griffith in Ben-Hur. Harry Stradling, Jr., and Howard Shoup were nominated for Academy Awards for Best Cinematographer (Black and White) and Best Costume Design, respectively.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States 1959

Released in United States 1959