Review: The Young In Heart (1938)

The Young in Heart concerns a family of con artists working their way into the heart, and home, of a wealthy old lady and though it tries hard to be a witty comedy, it continually comes up short. I doubt an actress in the lead with a bit more fire and spunk, a Jean Arthur or Barbara Stanwyck, rather than Janet Gaynor, could have helped; the script is just that lackluster.

My hope for the film peaked at one point when I thought the story was about to take a clever turn–the flim-flam family conned by the quaint oldster–but alas, it played out predictably, with the interminably good-hearted biddy reforming the family through love and friendship.

Roland Young and Billie Burke stand out as the senior con artists in the family, with Burke doing her trademark space cadet routine to the hilt. The film’s real highlight surprisingly comes in the form an ultra-modern car, the wonderfully named Flying Wombat, that even today looks way cool. (It’s actually a prototype car, the 1938 Phantom Corsair.)  [**1/2 out of 5]

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