Kathy leaves the newspaper business to marry homicide detective Bill but is frustrated by his lack of ambition and the banality of life in the suburbs. Her drive to advance Bill's career soon takes her down a dangerous path.
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>
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.
31 of 31 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this