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Ah Wilderness! (1935)

Ah, Wilderness! (original title)
Passed | | Comedy, Drama | April 1936 (Japan)
3:04 | Trailer
Story of small-town life in turn-of-the-century America, and a young boy's problems facing adolescence.


Clarence Brown


Frances Goodrich (screen play), Albert Hackett (screen play) | 1 more credit »





Complete credited cast:
Wallace Beery ... Sid Miller
Lionel Barrymore ... Nat Miller
Aline MacMahon ... Aunt Lily
Eric Linden ... Richard Miller
Cecilia Parker ... Muriel McComber
Spring Byington ... Essie Miller
Mickey Rooney ... Tommy Miller
Charley Grapewin ... Dave McComber (as Charles Grapewin)
Frank Albertson ... Arthur Miller
Edward J. Nugent ... Wint Selby (as Edward Nugent)
Bonita Granville ... Mildred Miller
Helen Flint ... Belle
Helen Freeman ... Miss Hawley


Young idealist Richard Miller is selected as valedictorian for his New England high school commencement class of 1906 and intends to inject modern anti-capitalistic ideas into his speech. His father, Nat Miller, accidentally learns of it and interrupts Richard's speech before he can make a fool of himself. The small town later celebrates the Fourth of July with customary fireworks, picnics and the like, with Richard spending time with his girl, Muriel McComber, who promises she will allow him to kiss her one day. When Richard sends poems of love to Muriel, quoting the likes of Omar Khayyám and Swinburne, her father prevents her from ever seeing him again and forces her to write a letter denouncing him. Heartbroken, Richard drowns his sorrow in a local bar, drinking and smoking with a vamp called Belle, and comes home drunk. Alcoholic uncle Sid, who is used to the effects of liquor, nurses Richard back to sobriety, but Richard still must face the uncertain punishment of his father as ... Written by Arthur Hausner <genart@volcano.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The play that startled the nation!


Comedy | Drama


Passed | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


The box office success of this film led MGM to use many of the cast in A Family Affair (1937), the first in the "Andy Hardy" series (1937-1946). See more »


Belle's mole on her cheek/upper lip disappears halfway through her scene, then reappears later. See more »


Richard 'Dick' Miller: How are you going to punish me, Pa?
Nat: Oh, well, I... thought of telling you you couldn't go to Yale.
Richard 'Dick' Miller: But, gee, that's great! Well, then I can get a job and marry Muriel. That's no punishment, Pa!
Nat: Well, then you'll go to Yale and stay there until you graduate.
See more »


Version of Hatsukoi (1939) See more »


The Glow Worm
(1902) (uncredited)
Music by Paul Lincke
Played at the high school dance
See more »

User Reviews

Well made...but I thought I'd like this one more.
10 December 2019 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

MGM apparently had very high hopes for "Ah Wilderness!" when it came to the Oscars and according to IMDB the studio put on a concerted campaign to get it nominated. But, apparently, the Academy voters were just not that impressed by the film and it didn't receive a single nomination. After seeing it, I think I can understand why.

While the basic story is engaging, as you see a family in early 20th century America during a summer, there is a problem with the main focus of the show. It focuses on the second child, Richard. Richard is about 17-18 and is very opinionated and full of himself...much like MANY 17-18 year-olds (trust me...I taught high school!). But Richard goes above and beyond...to the point of being irritating. Yes, he was full of himself...but also came off as an annoying jerk...at least to me. I loved the other characters...but considering most of the focus was on Richard, I just finished the film feeling a bit let down. I frankly expected much more...especially from MGM.

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Release Date:

April 1936 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

Ah Wilderness! See more »

Filming Locations:

Grafton, Massachusetts, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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