Story of small-town life in turn-of-the-century America, and a young boy's problems facing adolescence.Story of small-town life in turn-of-the-century America, and a young boy's problems facing adolescence.Story of small-town life in turn-of-the-century America, and a young boy's problems facing adolescence.
The story centers on Richard (Eric Linden) as he's about to graduate from high school. His summer is spent courting Muriel (Cecelia Parker) and planning to go to Yale in the fall. But he's restless without knowing why. His older brother (Frank Albertson) treats him like a kid, and his father (Lionel Barrymore) is having business troubles. And then there's drunken Uncle Sid (Wallace Beery) who breezes in and out of the house.
The mother (Spring Byington) is busy with the younger children (Mickey Rooney, Bonita Granville) and the spinster aunt (Aline MacMahon). Feeling alienated and alone, Richard goes to town with a friend (Edward Nugent) and gets mixed up with a woman from another city (Helen Flint) who's passing through town. Richard has his rite of passage and learns something important about himself.
Linden is excellent as the callow youth caught between adolescence and adulthood. His bravado shows itself in spouting poetry and speeches from plays. He's all talk. Beery gets top billing because of his box-office pull but plays a supporting role here. He's quite good as the boozy uncle who's sort of courting MacMahon (always good). Barrymore, Byington, Granville, Rooney, and Parker are solid.
But it's Helen Flint as Belle who nearly steals the film as the fast-talking city woman. She's excellent.
- Mar 11, 2012