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Young Man of Manhattan (1930)

Passed | | Comedy, Musical, Romance | 17 May 1930 (USA)
Two flappers (Claudette Colbert and Ginger Rogers) try to get their newspaper reporter boyfriends to pay attention to them.



(novel), (adaptation) (as Robert Presnell)


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Complete credited cast:
Ann Vaughn
Toby McLean
Puff Randolph
Shorty Ross
Leslie Austin ...
Dwight Knowles
Lorraine Aalbu ...
One of the Sherman Sisters (as Four Aalbu Sisters)
Aileene Aalbu ...
One of the Sherman Sisters (as Four Aalbu Sisters)
Fern Aalbu ...
One of the Sherman Sisters (as Four Aalbu Sisters)
Harriet Aalbu ...
One of the Sherman Sisters (as Four Aalbu Sisters)
H. Dudley Hawley ...


Toby McLean, a reckless sports writer on a New York City newspaper, covers the Gene Tunney-Jack Dempsey heavyweight-championship fight in Philadelphia. There he meets Ann Vaughn, a feature writer for another newspaper, and they get married after a whirlwind romance. The romance begins to wane nearly as fast as it blossomed but, directly and indirectly, is salvaged by Toby's writer pal, "Shorty" Ross, and a ditsy socialite, "Puff" Randolph. Artchive footage provides shots of the Tunney-Dempsey fight, and other sports events of the era. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A glamorous modern-day love story that takes you places; shows you things! (original ad) See more »






Release Date:

17 May 1930 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Inconstância  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


One of over 700 Paramount Productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since. However, because of legal complications, this particular title was not included in the original television package and may have never been televised. See more »


Puff Randolph: Cigarette me, big boy.
See more »


I've Got 'It' But 'It' Don't Do Me No Good
by Irving Kahal, Pierre Norman and Sammy Fain
Performed by Ginger Rogers
See more »

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User Reviews

Run of the mill
17 December 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This routine seriocomedy flirts with some interesting ideas but doesn't really follow through on them enough to distinguish itself. Colbert and Foster play reporters who marry, then find their careers are a problem--both of them have erratic hours, occasional late nights and out-of-town trips, so each is never there when the other wants them. His character isn't particularly sympathetic by today's standards, because he whines and moans whenever her work takes her away from him, but when the shoe is on the other foot he doesn't grasp the hypocrisy of his complaints one bit. Worse, he takes to drinking too much, isn't grateful when she pays the bills because he can't, and strings along a besotted ninny (Ginger Rogers in her early dark-haired, squeak-voiced phase as a flapper caricature) for idle diversion. Colbert meanwhile is courted by a rich patron/news source, but keeps him at a professional arm's distance.

In the early-talkie manner, there's a rather stilted, interior-bound quality to the action, with dead-air sound (actually downright poor sound in the transfer I saw, but that might just have been the fault of a poor dupe) and very little background music. This movie actually could have used a nightclub song or production number or two to liven it up; it's not quite serious enough to be involving as a drama, and not quite diverting enough to be a comedy. (Rogers does sing what might as well be the anthem for characters like hers, "I've Got 'It' But It Don't Do Me No Good," but just by herself at a living-room piano.) There's brief curiosity value in the appearance by "The Four Sherman Sisters," a quartet of pretty (alleged) siblings, but they don't perform, either; they just sling around a few weak quips and get drunk with Foster and his best pal Charles Ruggles (who's had better material, too).

There isn't anything very notably "pre-Code" about this feature unless you count the alcohol consumption, whose depiction would soon get cleaned up by the Production Code. Nor does the movie exactly capture much of a Manhattan feel, as there's little exterior footage. Foster plays a sports writer, so there's fleeting interest in (very brief) clips of various sporting events that were presumably shot for newsreels rather than specifically for this feature.

The movie's major plus is Colbert, who looks great and treats the goings on with a common- sense unflappability that suggests her heroine is considerably smarter than the callow husband she nonetheless stays loyal to. (Their marital conflicts are predictably resolved by a crisis that drops out of nowhere to re-strengthen their vows.) Co-star Foster would soon leave acting for a long, successful if seldom distinguished career directing mostly B movies and television episodes.

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