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The Young Philadelphians (1959)

Approved | | Drama | 30 May 1959 (USA)
Up and coming, young lawyer Anthony Lawrence faces several ethical and emotional dilemmas as he climbs the Philadelphia social ladder. His personal and professional skills are tested as he ... See full summary »

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(screenplay), (novel)
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Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Joan Dickinson
...
Carol Wharton
...
Mike Flanagan
Diane Brewster ...
Kate Judson Lawrence
...
Mrs. J. Arthur Allen
...
Gilbert Dickinson
...
...
John Marshall Wharton
...
Louis Donetti
...
Uncle Morton Stearnes
Frank Conroy ...
Doctor Shippen Stearnes
...
Bill Lawrence
...
Carter Henry (as Fred Eisley)
...
George Archibald
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Storyline

Up and coming, young lawyer Anthony Lawrence faces several ethical and emotional dilemmas as he climbs the Philadelphia social ladder. His personal and professional skills are tested as he tries to balance the needs of his fiance Joan, the expectations of his colleagues and his own obligation to defend his friend Chester on a murder count. Written by Mike Welsch <mike.welsch@bull.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

murder | lawyer | irish | trial | law | See All (49) »

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Guilty secrets. Shocking scandals. All in a day's work for on Philadelphian lawyer.

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

30 May 1959 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Philadelphian  »

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 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to the author of the book "The Philadelphian", Richard Powell, the cross examination of the butler and the sniff test of different kinds of alcoholic spirits was based on a real court case. See more »

Goofs

Tony asks Mike to give him access to "county records" and the reports on Mrs. Allen's county personal property tax liability. Mrs. Allen had earlier described taking the train into town, which would make her a resident of a suburban county - not Philadelphia County. Philadelphia County would not have her county tax records. See more »

Quotes

[Mrs. Allen welcomes Anthony Lawrence to a society cocktail party]
Mrs. J. Arthur Allen: Well, here you are at last. Everyone's here to meet you, including some I thought were dead.
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Connections

Featured in Hanging with Batman (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

The Kiss Waltz
(uncredited)
Music by Joseph A. Burke
Played on piano at the Dickinson party
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User Reviews

 
The Philadelphia Way of Life
28 November 2006 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

The Young Philadelphians is a curious mixture of Ross Hunter like soap opera together with a Tennessee Williams like hero and surprisingly enough it works most of the time.

Paul Newman is the hero whose very existence on the planet is a source of scandal. His mother Diane Brewster was disinherited by her husband's family when he killed himself on their wedding night. Newman's had to scrap for what's his in the world and isn't above using the bedroom to advance himself.

He's got a friend in Robert Vaughn who's also a black sheep in his Philadelphia Main Line family who gets himself in a jackpot when he's arrested for murdering his uncle. Newman, who's a tax lawyer, gets some on the job training in a criminal case, in defending Vaughn.

Like Katharine Hepburn in Suddenly Last Summer, characters like John Williams, Robert Douglas, and Frank Conroy seem above all to want to protect the family name. Hepburn was willing enough to have a lobotomy performed on Elizabeth Taylor and this crew seems ready willing and eager to send Vaughn to prison or the electric chair for the same reasons. Straight out of Tennessee Williams.

Newman shows some of the flash in his courtroom scenes, especially in his examination of Richard Deacon that he later showed in his Oscar nominated The Verdict which is my personal Paul Newman favorite. He trips Deacon the witness up with a piece of legal wizardry worthy of Perry Mason.

In the prologue of the film when the death of Adam West is shown on his wedding night to Diane Brewster the film is very discreet as to his reasons for doing what he did. It's explained this was a marriage arranged by his mother for the purpose of carrying on the family name even if it meant wedding a girl not from their crowd. He explains he has no interest in his wife and promptly goes out and dies in a speeding car crash. Today it would be far more explicit to say that maybe Adam West's character was gay. But we had the code in place back then and gay was invisible.

Robert Vaughn got an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor and his harrowing scenes with Newman in the drunk tank got him that. He lost to Hugh Griffith for Ben-Hur, but it was the first real notice he got and the start of a long career. Look for good performances by Alexis Smith as the older woman Newman woos, Billie Burke as the daffy dowager, and Barbara Rush whose on and off relationship with Newman guides most of the film.

The Young Philadelphians is kind of old fashioned today, somewhat dated, but still is good entertainment and recommended here.


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