Our Hearts Were Young and Gay (1944) Poster

User Reviews

Review this title
9 Reviews
Sort by:
Delightful, Sweet Comedy
theowinthrop23 June 2006
In the late 1920s Cornelia Otis Skinner and her friend Emily Kimborough decided to travel to England and France for a vacation. It was the first time they went abroad. Cornelia was the daughter of the notable stage star character actor Otis Skinner, and he agreed to their plans because he would be going to England with his wife shortly afterward and could meet them there and return with them. After the trip was over, the two friends wrote a book THERE HEARTS WERE YOUNG AND GAY about the trip. It became a best seller and was the basis for this 1944 film version.

It is a charming comic travelogue tale, bearing comparison to Jerome K. Jerome's THREE MEN IN A BOAT and ANITA LOOS' somewhat more cynical GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDS, except that this seems to be a true account (although Jerome's book has some elements of truth in it). We watch the two female Candides trying to prove themselves as capable of self-protection (and mutual protection) but not adverse to a little safe romance where they can.

But from the start things keep going awry for them. Nothing major, but all quite embarrassing. When Cornelia (Gail Russell) and Emily (Diana Lynn) are strolling the deck of the ocean liner taking in the cool evening air they pass wealthy, imperious, Alma Kruger. They happen to make a sharp turn while walking around Ms Kruger, and snag her loosely held pocketbook without Ms Kruger noticing. When they notice this they are in their cabin. Before they can return it safely, they hear that Ms Kruger is screaming about being robbed and wanting the thieves arrested. So they have one of their dilemmas: how to get the bag back to the old bat without getting arrested? It is like that (delightfully) throughout the story. When in a boarding house that is cheap but very old fashioned, they are told that if they want to get hot water they have to put a penny in the "Geyser" (pronounced "Geezer"). Naturally, when they see an elderly, crotchety gentleman near the washroom, they give him (the old geezer) a penny which he throws back at them.

Their misadventures follow them throughout the film, even involving their parents (Charlie Ruggles and - in a rare sound movie appearance - Dorothy Gish). Like many others they manage to get lost in the maze at Hampton Court, only managing to drag in Ruggles and Gish and others as well.

This was a nice film, too rarely seen on television (and not - apparently - on video or DVD). It also has it's period charms (the Skinners and Kimborough having dinner at a fancy restaurant, with Skinner/Ruggles ordering a bottle of Mumm's 1928 has a nice touch to it). I think that most of you would enjoy it.
10 out of 10 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
A delightful film for all ages.
rsda28 July 2004
A charming comedy which unfortunately has not been released on video or DVD. Both Gail Russell and Diana Lynn give lovely performances. It is a shame Gail did so few comedies as she had a wonderful style for it. The sequel was not as good and that is a shame because it could have rivaled the Henry Aldrich series. The sequence with the "geezer" and the sequence where they are stuck on top of Notre Dame at night are hilarious. the last scene with Beulah Bondi on the ship sailing back home from Europe has a wonderful kicker for the end of the film. Paramount should release this on DVD. it is a lost treasure.
9 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Hilarious fun travels overseas!
PrincessIncognita23 August 1999
They were just two American girls on vacation... who bring chaos wherever they go. What a fun movie. I love the little incident with the rabbit coats. You could never believe that anything in the movie was true until you read the book. It even states "Lest the reader should be in any doubt, we wish to state that the incidents in this book are all true and the characters completely non-fictitious." Once you see the film read the book! Like the film, it will keep you laughing!
8 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Even funnier because it's true!
NativeTexan4 January 2004
Wonderful film from the autobiographical novel by Cornelia Otis Skinner, and all the more hilarious because those crazy things happened to the real Cornelia. Gail Russell and Diana Lynn are perfect as the real-life friends Cornelia Otis Skinner and Emily Kimbrough. A habit-forming film about a sweeter, more innocent age when two young girls were allowed to spend a summer in Europe, more or less unchaperoned.
5 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
A lovely almost forgotten gem.
Gary Lewin4 June 2013
They really don't make movies like this one anymore. Which is a shame as it has such charm and wit. And there isn't a bad scene in the film.

Both Gail Russell and Diana Lynn are wonderful as the innocent girls abroad who end up in all manner of often awkward and funny situations. As has been stated before this was a true story. Which makes it all the funnier that everything you see actually happened.

I only came across this movie by chance as I had been reading about the short tragic life of Gail Russell after seeing one her other movies "Night Has A Thousand Eyes." She shows far more talent than she ever gave herself credit for, even if she had never really wanted to be an actress.

This movie is well worth seeing.
4 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Misadventures of Emily and Cornelia are nostalgic fun...
Neil Doyle19 September 2006
Based on Cornelia Otis Skinner's book about her misadventures in Paris during the 1920s, as she and Emily Kimbrough embark on an unchaperoned visit to Europe where they are to meet up with their parents at a later time.

Right from the start, the misadventures start--all tinged with humor as the naive girls cope with all manner of happenings, including an overnight stay on a Notre Dame balcony when they are locked out. Some of it seems a bit far-fetched but presumably much of it is based on real life events.

It's rose-tinted nostalgia and a fine period piece. It gives DIANA LYNN (as Emily) and GALE RUSSELL (as Cornelia) some wonderful bits of business that reveals they had a talent for light comedy. CHARLES RUGGLES, JAMES BROWN and BEULAH BONDI shine in supporting roles.

Trivia note: Gale Russell and Cornelia Otis Skinner would be re-united on screen in THE UNINVITED, in which Cornelia played Miss Holloway, the woman who hides a dark secret and keeps Russell locked away in a sanitarium.
3 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
It's OK
Alex da Silva31 January 2010
Cornelia (Gail Russell) and Emily (Diana Lynn) decide to go on a trip to Europe as Cornelia discovers that Avery (James Brown) is travelling there. On the ship, Cornelia meets Avery while Lynn meets Tom (Bill Edwards) and the four become travelling partners. They disembark in England and visit France before making their way back home.

There is no plot in this story. It's a sequence of incidents that take you from the beginning to the end. The acting is pretty wooden in parts, especially from Brown, Edwards and Russell. The acting honours go to Charles Ruggles (Otis Skinner), Dorothy Gish (Mrs Skinner) and Lynn. Brown is a typically brainless, lug-headed American and Edwards is even worse! The film alternates between funny moments and drawn out scenes.
1 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Quite funny, although unbelievable.
Charles-4323 April 1999
Very light-hearted movie with many funny situations. Not really believable, but fun.
1 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
unbelieveable, but fun!
Norm-3018 January 2000
This is a VERY funny & "cute" film about two young girls travelling abroad during the 1920's. even tho some of the situations they get into are a bit "unbelieveable", it is QUITE FUNNY! (I especially liked their run-in with the "Geezer"!).

The sequel to this film (I forgot the name!) is a BIG disappointment! sigh. One wishes that this could've become a series, but NO WAY...not after the 2nd film! (I especially dislike the "Bohemian" who does the "miming").

But, if you're looking for "fun, light-hearted films", check THIS out! Norm
0 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews