|Index||4 reviews in total|
YOUNG IDEAS strains to be a smart screwball comedy but early on it
becomes apparent that this is strictly a trivial bit of fluff designed
to showcase some new talent in a cast headed by two older reliables:
MARY ASTOR and HERBERT MARSHALL. Astor is fine but Herbert Marshall is
painfully bad in a couple of his "comic" scenes. He was much more
suited to dramatic roles.
Astor went on record in later years saying that she regretted signing with MGM when all they did was cast her in mother roles in some less than distinguished films. This is one of them.
SUSAN PETERS and ELLIOT REID are her children with "young ideas" who decide to spoil her marriage to Herbert Marshall by making him believe her risqué books were really autobiographical in nature. It's all on the "cute" side and very predictable, although there's nothing terribly wrong with the performances.
RICHARD CARLSON, ALLYN JOSLYN and GEORGE DOLENZ provide some good support but it's simply not worth their combined efforts.
Under Jules Dassin's direction, it passes the time quickly in one hour and seventeen minutes, but is obviously just designed to showcase up and coming new talent like Susan Peters and Elliot Reid. Not long after this film, Susan had the hunting accident that left her paralyzed from the waist down, a tragic end to a brief career in the limelight.
It's too bad that Herbert Marshall was not a professor of English
literature as opposed to physics. If he had been he'd have recognized
Othello in the scheme that Susan Peters and Elliott Reid had to break
up the marriage between their mother Mary Astor and Marshall.
In Young Ideas Peters and Reid are caught off guard with the whirlwind courtship and sudden marriage of Astor to Marshall. Also caught off guard is Astor's literary agent Allyn Joslyn who cancels the book tour he has for his client.
Peters and Reid decide they don't like Marshall and are determined to break up the marriage. What they hit upon as a tactic is to convince Marshall that some of the spicy characters that Astor uses in her novels are autobiographical glimpses of her own racy life. Later on when Joslyn and a French friend from Europe George Dolenz come, courtesy of Peters and Reid, Marshall's suspicions are confirmed.
It's partially Marshall's own fault. He insists that she retire and be a homemaker and he will support them on his college salary. Kind of narrowminded I thought and I couldn't quite grasp Astor going along with him. This film could never be made today. Besides what would be wrong with Astor writing in her spare time and bringing in the bucks?
George Dolenz was an interesting character. He was so obviously gay, but that was not spoken of in those days. How Marshall considered him a threat is beyond me.
Later on Peters relents as she falls for English instructor Richard Carlson. Reid however is a spoiled kid and he doesn't relent until almost the end.
Young Ideas isn't all that young with Peters and Reid playing Iago to the hilt. Still it's a pleasant and entertaining comedy showing off a number of MGM's young female contract players as coeds. Look sharp and you'll see Ava Gardner in the crowd. Good, but dated viewing.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
YOUNG IDEAS was one of the first films Mary Astor made for MGM and also
one of her first roles as a mother, with a son and daughter of college
age. Her character "Jo Evans" is the successful author of hot romance
novels, so that much is similar to "Theodora Goes Wild" Early in the
film Jo Evans has departed from a promotion tour for her latest novel,
leaving her agent, her daughter Susan (Susan Peters) and her son Jeff
(Elliott Reid) behind in Manhattan.
It turns out Jo has fallen in love with Chemistry Prof. Michael Kingsley (Herbert Marshall) at a generic small, conservative rural college. As soon as Susan and Jeff arrive at the college and figure out the romance, they set out to break up the marriage.
Along the way Susan falls in love with "Tom Farrell" (Richard Carlson) a youngish lecturer in contemporary play-writing. Susan shows up Tom because she claims to know the first two playwrights he discusses. Who knew back then faculty/student romance was against the college rules?
Eventually Jo and Michael discover what Susan and Jeff were doing. By way of conclusion, Michael chases, catches and spanks Jeff. Jo catches and spanks Susan bent over her lap.
Although in 1943 spanking for comedy was fairly common, it is most unusual for an almost adult man to be spanked bent over by an adult man. Also, in both cases the spanker bends the victim to the right, then spanks with the right hand, which is awkward.
Despite all this I enjoyed the movie. Two years later Susan Peters suffered a hunting accident ending her brief career far too early.
"Young Ideas" is supposed to be a quirky comedy but it really annoyed
me because so many people in the film were utterly selfish jerks. A
comedy should NOT annoy the viewer.
The film begins with Jo Evans (Mary Astor) becoming a number one best selling author. Then, because she's fallen in love, she completely abandons her book tour--telling no one and simply not showing up for her book signings and lectures. Jerk.
You then meet Jo's kids--and they haven't fallen far from the proverbial tree. When these grown children learn that their mother has married and doesn't plan on writing any more, they are NOT happy for her and her new husband. Instead, they're only concerned that their free lunch (so to speak) might be coming to an end. So, they decide the best course of action is to try to destroy the marriage!
What is with these people and WHY is this considered funny? The only one I ended up caring about and feeling for was the man Jo married-- the Professor (Herbert Marshall). Again and again, her kids lie to him--telling him that the crazy characters in Jo's books are autobiographical AND contacting her old boyfriends and arranging for them to just 'drop by'.
Overall, this is a comedy with few laughs and is so mean-spirited and full of selfish people that it completely took me out of the story. I hated this film despite some good acting.
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