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Seventeen (1940)

Approved | | Comedy, Drama | 1 March 1940 (USA)
Willy Baxter is now 17, which is practically 18, so he prefers "William". William is supposed to be studying for college entrance exams, but a sophisticated Chicago girl arrives in town. ... See full summary »



(screenplay), (screenplay) | 4 more credits »


Cast overview, first billed only:
Jane Baxter (as Norma Nelson)
Edward P. Parcher (as Thomas Ross)
George Cooper (as Peter Hayes)
Buddy Pepper ...
Donald Haines ...
Wally Banks


Willy Baxter is now 17, which is practically 18, so he prefers "William". William is supposed to be studying for college entrance exams, but a sophisticated Chicago girl arrives in town. She's the cat's meow with her singing, dancing, and big city catchphrases. "But definitely!" William doesn't have any money and his old jalopy won't impress anybody. His allowance is already up to $1 and his baby sister won't lend him any money from her piggy bank. But he needs a new car, and white tie, tails, and top hat so he can take the doll to the swank nightclub he's been told about. And she won't go anywhere without that dog of hers... Written by David Steele

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Drama


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

1 March 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La edad feliz  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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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. It's initial telecast took place in Chicago Sunday 4 January 1959 on WBBM (Channel 2); because of a lack of sponsor interest, it was only infrequently shown, but popped up in Grand Rapids 5 August 1959 on WOOD (Channel 8), in Milwaukee 30 September 1959 on WITI (Channel 6), in Omaha 20 November 1959 on KETV (Channel 7), in Hartford 26 November 1959 on WTIC (Channel 3), and in San Francisco 31 December 1959 on KPIX (Channel 5). See more »


William Sylvanus Baxter: Ye Gods!
See more »


Version of Seventeen (1916) See more »


The Lady's in Love with You
Words by Frank Loesser
Music by Burton Lane
Sung in part by Betty Field and later by Jackie Cooper
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User Reviews

Oh the woes of the young and in love...
15 April 2014 | by (New York City) – See all my reviews

For "Willie" Baxter (or Silly Bill as his friends nickname him), becoming a young man requires a change in identity along with his voice. No overly boisterous Andy Hardy in Booth Tarkington's creation. He's a basically nice young man, but confused about the ideals of life and love. Other than dealing with a nosy younger sister (Norma Nelson) and old fashioned idealistic parents (Otto Kruger and Anne Shoemaker), he also now must deal with a crush on the "sophisticated" visitor next door (Betty Field), a pretentious young lady who strings him along while flirting with every available young man in town and a sophisticated beau in Chicago. To impress the young beauty, Cooper sells off his old jalopy for a newer model (with payments he can't make) and "borrows" his father's tuxedo.

While Love Finds William Baxter, maturity finds Jackie Cooper, no longer the brooding kid pining for the love of dad Wallace Beery in "The Champ" and other sappy dramas. Cooper is far more likable than his MGM pal Mickey Rooney, whose ego controlled his sometimes frenetic performances. Cooper is far more identifiable and even with parents almost exactly like Judge and Ma Hardy, he's living a more realistic life than the Louis B. Mayer vision of the ideal family. Betty Field's pretentious character is the type of batty teen that may turn heads but ultimately seems phony in retrospect. Norma Nelson, as the snoopy sis, is funny in spite of being a pest, and there's never any doubt that the lives of this family are closer to reality than the Hardys.

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