Danny is a content truck driver, but his girl Peggy shows potential as a dancer and hopes he too can show ambition. Danny acquiesces and pursues boxing to please her, but the two begin to spend more time working than time together.
Fiona, Evelyn and Susanna are sisters. Their mother dies on the Lusitania, their father is killed in France, they must manage their Fifth Avenue mansion by themselves. Fiona marries Charles... See full summary »
Mae Doyle comes back to her hometown a cynical woman. Her brother Joe fears that his love, fish cannery worker Peggy, may wind up like Mae. Mae marries Jerry and has a baby; she is happy but restless, drawn to Jerry's friend Earl.
Navy Lt. Richard Perry becomes an undercover man out to discover the leaders of a group of well connected men who pull off bank robberies during the McKinley administration (early 20th ... See full summary »
William A. Seiter
Uncle Rollo finally retires to the house he was brought up in. Lost in thoughts of his lost love, Lark, he does not want to be disturbed in his last days. However, the appearance of his ... See full summary »
Successful middle-aged businessman Steve Bradford returns to the town where he attended college many years previously. His conscience has been bothering him since whilst a student, he fathered an illegitimate son who was given away to the local orphanage. He returns to the orphanage and meets its current head, Ann Dempster, hoping to persuade her to help him find his son. She refuses but Steve finds himself getting more involved at the orphanage and learns many lessons life had failed to teach him. Written by
Col Needham <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Upon James Cagney exiting lawyer Leland G. Spottsford's office building, a theater marquee and film posters can be seen advertising Meet Me in Las Vegas (1956), which was the previous film directed by _These Wilder Years (1956)_ director Roy Rowland. See more »
When Cagney rings doorbell on his first visit to Stanwyck's house, the bell rings before he actually presses the button. See more »
Stanwyck, Cagney at half-throttle in thoughtful not-quite-weeper
Not quite a weeper, These Wilder Years is one of those small-scale, thoughtful dramas that rarely if ever are made nowadays. It's about a steel tycoon (James Cagney) who, in mid-life crisis, tries to find the son he abandoned, along with the mother, twenty years earlier. Used to getting his own way by means of money and mouthpieces, he runs into the head of a home for what once were called "wayward girls" (Barbara Stanwyck). She refuses to bend to his charm, his money, or, finally, his legal talent (Walter Pidgeon).
The story -- possibly more resonant today than when it was released -- takes some unexpected (not to say far-fetched) turns; it's sentimental, all right, but stays on the dry side of mawkish. Its main problem is one of audience expectations. Starring two of the most powerful actors in the history of movies -- Stanwyck and Cagney -- it keeps them at half-throttle throughout. Of course they acquit themselves admirably: they're both seasoned troupers with a wide range. But the confrontational fireworks we hope for and expect never quite come. Nonetheless, These Wilder Years remains a solid and fairly credible film.
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