Monday, October 5, 2009

'In' is not 'At'

Tomorrow morning at 6:15 AM, TCM is showing the movie The Young in Heart. Pay attention to the title carefully; this is a completely different movie from Young at Heart and has a totally different plot.

Janet Gaynor gets top billing as the daughter of a family of professional moochers, playing their trade along the French Riviera. However, they're found out, and forced to leave the country for England. They have barely a sou to their collective names, but fortune smiles upon them, literally, in the form of a rich lonely old lady named Ellen Fortune (played by Minnie Dupree). She lets them sit in her compartment, and when they all get back to London, she's so taken by the family that, not realizing they're phonies, decides to bequeath her considerable estate to them, since she doesn't have any natural heirs. Her solicitor isn't so sure, though, and to convince him that they're honest people, they actually have to start working, which produces a profound change in them: they (especially the daughter) start to become more honest people.

The Young in Heart is a too-rarely seen movie with a surprisingly good cast. Gaynor's brother is played by Douglas Fairbanks Jr., while the parents are played by Roland Young and Billie Burke, playing a couple as they did a year earlier in Topper. The job that Fairbanks takes is as a car salesman, leading to some humorous scenes with cars being driven much too fast for the good of the people in the cars. As for the humor, the movie is supposed to be a comedy and for the most part is, although with a story revolving around a lonely old lady, there's also more than a fair bit of sentimentality. Watch also for Paulette Goddard and Richard Carlson as the love interests of Fairbanks and Gaynor.

The Young in Heart is a movie that is not without its flaws, but is nevertheless quite enjoyable. It also seems to have made its way to DVD already.

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