The Young in Heart
Cast & Crew
Bogus Colonel Anthony Carleton, known to his wife and children as "Sahib" because he pretends to have served in India, heads a clan of high class con artists working on the French Riviera. While he cheats at cards, Marmy, his wife, helps their children, Richard and George-Anne, promote profitable marriages. After Sahib wins a large amount of money from Richard's prospective future father-in-law, Jennings, the Monte Carlo police expose Sahib and the now destitute family is is forced to take the boat train to London using tickets provided by the police. Although George-Anne is in love with her suitor, Duncan Macrea, she will not marry him because he is not rich enough, even when he tells her that he does not care what her past has been. On the train, George-Anne meets Miss Ellen Fortune, a kind but lonely spinster who, in her old age, inherited a lot of money from a man who was once her fiance. Miss Ellen invites them into her first class compartment, buys them dinner, and then, after they care for her during a train wreck, she asks them to stay with her in London. Because they are desperate, they decide to stay and, to convince her suspicious lawyer, Felix Ansthruther, that they are not what they actually are, go to work. Richard becomes a mail clerk in an engineering firm and Sahib becomes a salesman for the Flying Wombat motor car. Soon Miss Ellen's sweet nature begins to change all of them. Richard and Sahib are successful at their jobs and George-Anne begins to feel guilty about their plan, certain that the others are still only after the money. When Miss Ellen collapses on her birthday and they learn that she has changed her will in their favor, they not only do not care about the money any longer, but offer to support her themselves when Mr. Anstruther says that her fortune has eroded to nothing. Finally changed, Richard marries Leslie Saunders, his boss, George-Anne marries Duncan, Sahib becomes the London sales manager for the Flying Wombat and Ellen comes to live with them in a country cottage.
Irvin S. Cobb
Hal C. Kern
William Cameron Menzies
David O. Selznick
William H. Wright
The Young in Heart (1938)
Gaynor was fresh from her triumph in A Star Is Born (1937), which had earned her an Academy Award nomination (her second - she was a winner in the first Oscar® year, 1928) and revived her faltering career. Gaynor had been the top star at Fox in the silent and early sound years. Yet the studio had apparently lost interest in her as a new generation of stars like Loretta Young got the best roles. A Star Is Born was Gaynor's first film after she left Fox.
Selznick originally wanted stage legend Maude Adams (Broadway's original Peter Pan) to play Miss Fortune, and she made a screen test, but eventually declined the role. He then turned to another legendary stage actress, Laurette Taylor who also tested and also declined. (Both tests still exist. Adams' test, which she made with Gaynor, was shown in 2007 at a Gaynor centenary retrospective at film archives and museums around the country.) The role went to another theater veteran, Minnie Dupree, who had made her stage debut in 1887 at the age of 12, and had played her first starring role in 1900. The Young in Heart was Dupree's feature film debut. She would appear in only one other film, Anne of Windy Poplars (1940), in a minor role, before returning to the stage.
Two other newcomers of note also appeared in The Young in Heart. The film introduced Richard Carlson as Gaynor's love interest. He would go on to a long career in film and television. Paulette Goddard, who plays Fairbanks' boss and girlfriend, had been playing bit parts for years when Charlie Chaplin cast her in the lead of Modern Times (1936). The Young in Heart was her next film.
The Young in Heart was one of several films in production at Selznick International Studios as the producer prepared for his magnum opus, Gone With the Wind (1939) and searched for his Scarlett O'Hara. Goddard tested for Scarlett, as had many actresses in Hollywood, and for awhile, she seemed to have the inside track. She certainly had the looks and the spirited personality, if not the acting experience. More worrisome was Goddard's private life. She was living with Chaplin, but both were evasive about whether or not they were married. Selznick's publicity expert Russell Birdwell warned his boss in a memo that the couple's questionable marital status was "dynamite waiting to explode." Still, Selznick felt that director George Cukor could coach Goddard into giving a good performance, and he was leaning towards giving her the role anyway. That was before Vivien Leigh sauntered onto the set of the burning of Atlanta sequence and blew everyone away.
As was the case with all Selznick productions, The Young in Heart had a first-class production design. Art director Lyle Wheeler created some lavish sets, including a glamorous nightclub. Wheeler even custom-designed the Flying Wombat, placing it on the body of a Chrysler that belonged to the son of pickle magnate H.J. Heinz. The finished vehicle cost $12,000.
The original ending of the film, like that of the Saturday Evening Post serial on which it was based, was downbeat. But preview audiences hated that ending, so Selznick reassembled the cast and shot a new, happy ending. Critics were pleased with the results. Variety called it "a beautiful and deeply touching picture.... the fragile story is never permitted to lapse into bathos." According to Time magazine, "The Young in Heart never permits its audience much doubt about how the lion & lamb relationship of its major characters will resolve itself. However, if it has often been told before, the story has rarely been told better.... [It is] the wittiest and most civilized cinema comedy of the year."
Producer: David O. Selznick
Director: Richard Wallace
Screenplay: Paul Osborn; Charles Bennett (adaptation); I.A.R. Wylie (serial "The Gay Banditti")
Cinematography: Leon Shamroy
Art Direction: Lyle R. Wheeler
Music: Franz Waxman; Heinz Roemheld (uncredited)
Film Editing: Hal C. Kern
Cast: Janet Gaynor (George-Anne Carleton), Douglas Fairbanks Jr. (Richard Carleton), Paulette Goddard (Leslie Saunders), Roland Young (Col. Anthony 'Sahib' Carleton), Billie Burke (Marmy Carleton), Minnie Dupree (Miss Ellen Fortune), Henry Stephenson (Felix Anstruther), Richard Carlson (Duncan Macrae), Lawrence Grant (Mr. Hutchins), Walter Kingsford (inspector), Eily Malyon (Sarah), Tom Ricketts (Andrew), Irvin S. Cobb (Mr. Jennings), Lucile Watson (Mrs. Jennings), Margaret Early (Adele Jennings).
by Margarita Landazuri
The Young in Heart (1938)
It cost $12,000 to build the "Flying Wombat" car.
A news item in Motion Picture Daily on February 14, 1938 noted that producer David O. Selznick purchased the I. A. R. Wylie novel before its serialization in Saturday Evening Post from 26 February-March 26, 1938. In the cast and character credits, which appear immediately before a brief, written prologue establishing the setting and theme, Dupree is listed first, followed by Goddard, Carlson and the supporting players. Gaynor, Fairbanks, Young, and Burke are listed separately, below the others, as "The Carleton Family." Opening credits, however, list Gaynor, Fairbanks and Goddard before the title. According to Variety it was also the screen debut of theatrical actress Dupree. The picture was Life magazine's "Movie of the Week" on November 14, 1938 and was the subject of an illustrated article which mentioned that the "Flying Wombat" car in the film cost $12,000 to make. Modern sources state that the car, which was actually called the Phantom Corsair, was an experimental vehicle built by Rust Heinz of Pasadena, CA, with a body design by Maurice Schwatz. Although Heintz intended to manufacturer a limited number of the cars through the Bohman & Schwartz car design firm, also of Pasadena, production stopped shortly after Heinz's death the same year.
The Life article also noted that there was widespread speculation that Goddard was presently married to Charles Chaplin and that she was also the current favorite to play Scarlett O'Hara in Selznick's production of Gone With the Wind. Pre-production news items in Film Daily and ^MPD noted that stage star Maude Adams had originally been sought for the role of Miss Fortune by Selznick, who hoped to convince her to come out of her twenty-year retirement. Variety, in its review mentioned that in the original Wylie story Miss Fortune dies, but when preview audiences responded unfavorably to that ending for the film, Selznick recalled his actors to shoot the released ending in which she lives and remains with the Carletons. According to Film Daily, Alan Marshall was originally cast in the role of Duncan.
The Young in Heart was Gaynor's last film before her retirement from pictures to marry noted costumer Gilbert Adrian. Although she did appear on television a few times in the 1950s and 1960s, her only other film appearance was in Twentieth Century-Fox's Bernadine, in 1957. The film also marked the first time that noted artist William Cameron Menzies received the onscreen credit "production designer." The picture was nominated for three Academy Awards: Best Music (Scoring), Best Music (Original Score) and Best Cinematography. Wylie's story was also the basis for a Lux Radio Theatre broadcast on February 5, 1940, starring Don Ameche, Ida Lupino and May Robson, and an NBC television drama, also called The Young in Heart, in 1951.
Released in United States 1938
Released in United States 1938