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Based on a play be Rachel Crothers, WINE OF YOUTH is a solid drama about "the modern young generation" and how they think they know it all. It's also a play about love and marriage.
Eleanor Boardman stars as Mary. She lives at home with her mother, father, brother, and grandmother. The three women (all named Mary) battle and argue over the "younger generation" and what is was like when the older women were girls. Boardman sees no relevance and argues back that's it a different world.
Boardman is pursued by two men (William Haines and Ben Lyon) and can't decide which she wants or even IF she wants them because marriage seems so old fashioned to her. All her friends seem to be party crazy, and no one is very serious. They hit upon an absurd idea that if Boardman is to get to really know either of the guys they need to go away for 2 weeks (no sex) and live together. Her girlfriend (Pauline Garon) thinks it's a swell idea and drags along her boyfriend (William Collier, Jr.).
She makes the mistake of telling her mother and grandmother and all hell breaks lose at home. So they all sneak away after a party and head for a remote camp. She's very serious but the others all go nuts with drinking and midnight swims. When Haines forces his way into her tent she pretends to pass out so they drag her back home.
At home there is a battle going on between the parents. He blames the mother for the wild daughter and as Boardman listens, the parents declare their disappointments in their marriage etc. The drama builds as the parents discover they can't possibly live together and the mother (Eulalie Jensen) goes upstairs to pack her bags. She grabs a bottle from the medicine cabinet and collapses.
They rush upstairs and discover her on the floor with a smashed bottle of poison next to her. The father goes into a panic that she has died and he declares his love and sorrow over the argument. The mother comes to and the crisis is over as she never swallowed the poison.
Boardman calls up Lyon and she decides that "intelligence" has nothing to do with love and marriage.
Boardman is excellent. Haines and Lyon are terrific as the rivals. Jensen is also excellent as the mother and was terrific in UNCLE TOM'S CABIN as well. E.J. Ratcliffe is the father. Gertrude Claire is the grandmother, and Jean Arthur plays one of the party guests.
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