Already in trouble with the law, Arthur and his friend Nutty break into a drugstore to get medicine for Nutty's grandmother. The druggist's wife, Mrs. Doray, asks for custody. When he hears... See full summary »
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W.S. Van Dyke
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Already in trouble with the law, Arthur and his friend Nutty break into a drugstore to get medicine for Nutty's grandmother. The druggist's wife, Mrs. Doray, asks for custody. When he hears them arguing over him, Arthur runs away. When he returns Mr. Doray is being held up by bandits at the drugstore. Written by
Ed Stephan <email@example.com>
The adult cast in Young America takes a definite back seat to the young players. That includes future two time Oscar winner Spencer Tracy who is first billed.
The film belongs to Tommy Conlan and Raymond Borzage. Tommy comes from a real white trash background and he's got a lot of anger issues and who wouldn't if I lived as an orphan with his aunt Sarah K. Padden who is hardly the nurturing type. Conlan finds it a lot more congenial with his friend Borzage's family which is his grandmother Beryl Mercer. Conlan by a certain consensus is supposedly the worst kid in the city. Yet people like Judge Ralph Bellamy and Doris Kenyon wife of pharmacist Spencer Tracy see something good and salvageable.
In a new biography of Spencer Tracy it's states that while Tracy was glad to work with director Frank Borzage he was clearly not happy with Fox Studios assigning him to a supporting role in reality if not in billing. Later on when he was assigned and billed accordingly such a role in Captains Courageous to Freddie Bartholomew he walked off with his first Oscar. But he's given little opportunity or time on the screen to do that here.
Conlan and young Borzage (he's the director's nephew) really register well. Borzage is what today would be termed a nerd yet he and Conlan because of Mercer's affection for Conlan form a very nice Tom Sawyer/Huck Finn type bond. Frank Borzage has come down to us as a director of tender and sometime tragic love stories. He puts that skill to work with great effectiveness here. Tommy and Raymond enact a tender death scene that would rival what Borzage did with Margaret Sullavan in Three Comrades and The Mortal Storm a couple of better known Borzage works at MGM. I was deeply moved by it.
Fox Studios was having its financial problems during the Great Depression and didn't invest much in production values for Young America. Spencer Tracy was a B picture star for the most part. In the last days of Fox Films before they merged with 20th Century Pictures the A list stars were Will Rogers and Janet Gaynor. Still Young America is a poignant story and credit goes to the great chemistry and great acting of Tommy Conlan and Raymond Borzage.
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