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Mad Youth (1940)

 |  Drama  |  5 May 1940 (USA)
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A rich society mother hires a male escort, but he falls for her daughter instead. The mother-daughter conflict forces the daughter to run off to stay with a friend who is enslaved by a prostitution ring.


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Complete credited cast:
Marian Morgan
Lucy Morgan
Willy Castello ...
Count DeHoven
Betty Atkinson ...
Helen Johnson
Tommy Wonder ...
Lorelei Readoux ...
Margaret Fealy ...
Helen's Grandmother
Donald Kerr ...
Taxi Driver
Ray Hirsch ...
Jitter Bug
Patti Lacey ...
Jitter Bug
Eugene Taylor ...
Jitter Bug
Aileen Morris ...
Jitter Bug
Maxine Taylor ...
Jitter Bug
Pearl Tolson ...
Jitter Bug
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Monte Collins ...
Stewart, Singing Bridge Player (as Monty Collins)


A rich society mother hires a male escort, but he falls for her daughter instead. The mother-daughter conflict forces the daughter to run off to stay with a friend who is enslaved by a prostitution ring.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


FREE-LIVING MOTHERS! - NEGLECTED DAUGHTERS! - PAID ESCORTS! (original poster - all caps) See more »







Release Date:

5 May 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Girls of the Underworld  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Orchestra and all acts by courtesy of La Golondrina Cafe, Los Angeles. See more »


Lucy Morgan: I don't wanna grow old!
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Referenced in Playboy: The Story of X (1998) See more »


I'd Rather Be a Bum on Broadway Than an Angel in the Sky
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User Reviews

In the Mood for the Forties
9 April 2011 | by (Los Angeles) – See all my reviews

Shapely sweater-clad Mary Ainslee (as Marian Morgan) enjoys wild nights partying while "lonesome" mother Betty Compson (as Lucy) prefers quieter evenings playing bridge with "dedicated and refined" gigolos like accented immigrant Willy Castello (as "Count" DeKoven). With her alimony check spent, Ms. Compson can't afford the extra charge for Mr. Castello's "love" on their first date, but future funds mean "necking" sessions. Then, when Castello meets Ms. Ainslee, both mother and daughter desire the same man. Are Castello's intentions good, or "strictly dishonorable?"

"Mad Youth" takes an unexpected turn for a last act, after skirting with some actual depth. The performances of Ainslee and Compson become quite good, and intriguingly natural. It's nice to see women portrayed as interested in sex (for a change). After the rival mother and daughter share a marvelous scene, the story returns to its lurid roots. The dissolve and double exposures used for Ainslee's "drunk scene" and Compson's discovery of her daughter's diary are well done. The uninhibited dancing of Tommy Wonder and the "Jitter Bugs" is another highlight. Watch for the slinky blonde prostitute to stand in front of a revealing lamp, and one of the fighters to split his pants, in the film's final minutes.

****** Mad Youth (5/5/40) Melville Shyer ~ Mary Ainslee, Betty Compson, Willy Castello, Tommy Wonder

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