Ah, Wilderness! (1935)

Passed  |   |  Comedy, Drama  |  April 1936 (Japan)
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 490 users  
Reviews: 14 user | 6 critic

Story of small-town life in turn-of-the-century America, and a young boy's problems facing adolescence.



(screen play), (screen play), 1 more credit »
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Complete credited cast:
Aline MacMahon ...
Cecilia Parker ...
Mr. McComber (as Charles Grapewin)
Edward J. Nugent ...
Wint (as Edward Nugent)
Helen Flint ...
Helen Freeman ...


Young idealist Richard Miller is selected as valedictorian for his New England high school commencement class of 1906 and intends to inject modern anti-capitalistic ideas into his speech. His father, Nat Miller, accidentally learns of it and interrupts Richard's speech before he can make a fool of himself. The small town later celebrates the Fourth of July with customary fireworks, picnics and the like, with Richard spending time with his girl, Muriel McComber, who promises she will allow him to kiss her one day. When Richard sends poems of love to Muriel, quoting the likes of Omar Khayyám and Swinburne, her father prevents her from ever seeing him again and forces her to write a letter denouncing him. Heartbroken, Richard drowns his sorrow in a local bar, drinking and smoking with a vamp called Belle, and comes home drunk. Alcoholic uncle Sid, who is used to the effects of liquor, nurses Richard back to sobriety, but Richard still must face the uncertain punishment of his father as ... Written by Arthur Hausner <genart@volcano.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The play that startled the nation!


Comedy | Drama


Passed | See all certifications »




Release Date:

April 1936 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Ayer como hoy  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


That gazebo is still in place in Grafton, MA as of December 2010. See more »


The "Stanley Steamer" automobile is depicted as chugging and back-firing, which are not possible with steam engines. These are characteristics of internal combustion engines. See more »


Richard 'Dick' Miller: I'm afraid I was born a hundred years before my time.
Muriel McComber: I was born ten days ahead of mine.
See more »


Version of Oh, divljino (1967) See more »


The Glow Worm
(1902) (uncredited)
Music by Paul Lincke
Played at the high school dance
See more »

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User Reviews

In a word, enchanting
4 April 2012 | by (New York, NY) – See all my reviews

MGM's four big movies of 1935 were "Mutiny on the Bounty," "A Tale of Two Cities," "David Copperfield," and this one. It's the quietest of the four but to me the most impressive, a distillation of Eugene O'Neill's memory play (not his childhood, he said, but his childhood as he wished it were) that's bathed in nostalgia that's more potent and poignant than ever. Screenwriters Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett get it past the Hays Office without really whitewashing its racier aspects (and Helen Flint's superb as the floozie who nearly corrupts our hero), and Eric Linden, who's entirely up to it, never again had this good a part. Top-billed Wallace Beery perhaps overdoes his drunken- charmer shtick, but Lionel Barrymore nicely underplays opposite him, and Aline MacMahon, always perfection, has one of her best roles--watch her reactions, how she plays love, disgust, and pity simultaneously. The rest of the family--Spring Byington, Mickey Rooney, Frank Albertson, Bonita Granville--are all exactly right. The MGM engineering--always-appropriate music, photography, costumes--helps rather than standardizes the material, the pacing's beautiful, and the warmth is unforced. You can weep at it and not feel like you're being manipulated.

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