Our Hearts Were Young and Gay


1h 21m 1944

Brief Synopsis

In 1923, two young ladies depart unescorted for a tour of Europe, meeting two eligible men aboard ship. Their great naivity and efforts to seem grown-up lead them into many comic misadventures.

Film Details

Release Date
Jan 1944
Premiere Information
New York premiere: 12 Oct 1944
Production Company
Paramount Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
Paramount Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the book Our Hearts Were Young and Gay by Cornelia Otis Skinner and Emily Kimbrough (New York, 1942).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 21m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
7,364ft (9 reels)

Synopsis

In 1923, on the eve of her high school graduation dance, Cornelia Otis Skinner, daughter of famous actor Otis Skinner, visits her best friend, Emily Kimbrough, who cannot attend the dance because she has the measles. Cornelia bemoans the fact that her "heartthrob," Avery Moore, who barely is aware that she exists, is leaving for a European vacation. Eager to help her friend, Emily suggests that she and Cornelia travel to Europe together at the same time as Avery, and Cornelia convinces her parents to allow her to go without a chaperone. The girls embark on their voyage after booking passage on the same ship on which Avery is traveling, and are unaware that Mr. and Mrs. Skinner have booked passage on another cruise, which will deliver them to Great Britain in time to meet up with the girls. Emily encounters Avery on deck and learns of his recently broken engagement. When he invites her to the ship's dance that night, she claims to already have a date, and he agrees to go with Cornelia. That night at the dance, Cornelia is thrilled to finally be with Avery, and Emily boldly approaches Tom Newhall, a handsome young doctor who is sitting alone, and talks him into being her date. Avery, who had been feeling bitter about women, falls in love with Cornelia and gives her his club pin. Tom falls in love with Emily, and they promise to meet in Europe after the ship docks. As the ship draws close to England, Cornelia is stricken with the measles, and Tom reluctantly agrees not to report the case so that she will be allowed into the country. Cornelia passes the health inspection by painting over her measles spots with shoe polish, and when her parents meet her at the dock, they take her to a hotel. Cornelia loses contact with Avery, who was unaware of her illness and felt rejected when she refused to see him. After she recovers from her illness, the family sightsees in London. When Emily glimpses Avery at the Hampton Court Palace, she becomes lost in the garden maze while trying to follow him, but Cornelia and Avery eventually find each other and reunite. Avery soon comes down with the measles because he had kissed Cornelia, but is unable to notify Cornelia and misses a family dinner. Later Cornelia and Emily go to Paris alone, and get stuck on a balcony of Notre Dame cathedral because Emily runs for a last minute photograph at closing time. The girls drop various articles of clothing off the balcony, hoping to attract attention, but stop when they are down to their slips, having fully clothed the gargoyles below them. Avery and Tom, worried that their dates are missing, meet up at the hotel and spend the night in the lobby waiting for the girls. The next morning, Cornelia and Emily return to the hotel in their slips, and encounter Mr. Skinner's friend, actor Monsieur Darnet, and his friend, Pierre Cambouille, in front of the hotel. To help the girls maintain some respectability, Darnet and Cambouille escort them inside, but Avery gets the wrong idea and hits Cambouille. A brawl erupts just as Mr. and Mrs. Skinner arrive from England, and Mr. Skinner insists that it is time for his daughter to return home. After bidding fond farewells to Avery and Tom, Cornelia and Emily board the ship home.

Film Details

Release Date
Jan 1944
Premiere Information
New York premiere: 12 Oct 1944
Production Company
Paramount Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
Paramount Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the book Our Hearts Were Young and Gay by Cornelia Otis Skinner and Emily Kimbrough (New York, 1942).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 21m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
7,364ft (9 reels)

Quotes

Trivia

Cornelia Otis Skinner and Emily Kimbrough, on whose memoirs the film is based, worked on the script but were not credited.

Notes

The book Our Hearts Were Young and Gay is based on the real-life teenage adventures of Emily Kimbrough and Cornelia Otis Skinner and on their autobiographical book of the same name. Kimbrough acted as technical advisor on the film and also played a bit part. Hollywood Reporter news items noted that Katharine Hepburn was initially considered for the role of "Cornelia," and that Jane Withers and Mimi Chandler were tested for roles in this film. Paramount News reported that the college dance scenes were shot at the Los Angeles YMCA gymnasium. Gail Russell, Diana Lynn, James Brown and Bill Edwards reprised their roles in the sequel to this film, Our Hearts Were Growing Up. According to a January 25, 1945 Hollywood Reporter news item, Skinner and Kimbrough took legal action against Paramount to prevent a sequel; however, a judge ruled in favor of the studio. Our Hearts Were Young and Gay was silent screen star Dorothy Gish's first speaking film role.