Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Warner Archive Wednesday ~ Young Ideas (1943)

A screen cap of the title page of the film Young Ideas 1943

Young Ideas (1943) is a fun collegiate/family movie directed by Jules Dassin. Josephine Evans (Mary Astor) is a wildly popular author of novels. Her latest book, As I Knew Paris, is on its 10th edition and she's very in demand.

3 girls engrossed in Josephine Evans' latest novel.

Mary Astor plays Josephine Evans and this portrait hangs in her agent's office.

The trouble is, no one seems to know where she is. She's completely disappeared! And she won't tell anyone where she's hiding. Jo has been booked for many lectures and appearances but she has skipped them all. Her agent is at his wits end. 

Agent is frustrated as his prize author Josephine Evans (Mary Astor) has disappeared.

In comes Jo's kids Susan Evans (Susan Peters) and Jeff Evans (Elliott Reid). They've grown accustom to the lifestyle that their mother's very successful writing career. They have all the luxuries they need and get to socialize with the best authors and poets. And they don't want to give that up!

Elliot Reed and Susan Peters play the children of Mary Astor's Josephine Evans in Young Ideas 1943

They go to find their mother who has fallen in love with some mystery man. When they track her down to the last college town where she delivered a lecture. They find her there but things are a bit more complicated than they expected. Their mother Jo has secretly gotten married to Chemistry Professor Michael Kingsley (Herbert Marshall). And Michael's got it in his mind that he'll take care of Jo and she can give up her writing career.

Elliott Reed and Susan Peters in Young Ideas 1943

Jo: "For the past 10 tens I have been living with Michael as a respectable married woman."
Susan: "Mother! You ought to be ashamed of yourself."

Susan and Jeff hatch a plan. They'll become students at Michael's college. That will buy them time to work on splitting up their mom from Michael. And of course hilarity ensues.

Mary Astor and Herbert Marshall in Young Ideas 1943

Mary Astor, Herbert Marshall, Elliott Reed and Susan Peters in Young Ideas 1943.

This is a very fun movie. I adore early films with a collegiate theme. And because I'm such a book nerd that the literary theme was a plus for me as well. The cast works well together and you feel bad for Jo who is trapped in the middle of this drama. She loves her new husband but still wants to make her kids happy. While Susan and Jeff could come off as spoiled brats, their characters develop through the movie which helps immensely when it comes to connecting with their characters. I also enjoyed Herbert Marshall's portrayal of the uptight yet loving professor. Fans of Richard Carlson will be amused to see him here as Tom Farrell, a young poetry professor who is charmed by Susan's literary smarts.

Richard Carlson plays a poetry professor in Young Ideas 1943

As many of you know, I'm a devoted fan of actress Susan Peters. I just think she was simply wonderful and she's the reason I chose to rent this film to watch. It's interesting to note that she receives top billing in the movie over both Mary Astor and Herbert Marshall.

Susan Peters gets top billing next to Herbert Marshall and Mary Astor

MGM must have been really trying to build her up as an up and coming star. 

Susan Peters, Mary Astor and Elliott Reed at college.

They also made a lot of effort grooming her. Susan Peters has the best wardrobe, makeup and hair of the entire cast. 

Susan Peters wears a collegiate sweater with writing all over it.
One of the oddest things about the movie is the password siblings Jeff and Susan come up with in case Susan gets too emotional during their plan to break up their mother's new marriage. Of course Susan would be the weak emotional one being the female (ugh). Their choice for a password is strange.

Elliott Reed and Susan Peters in Young Ideas 1943

Jeff: "They scrape a ton of rust a year from a iron bridge over the Yukon."
Susan: "No doubt you're right."

Umm, why that line? Why not something more simple? Like "don't be silly" or something?

Young Ideas (1943) is available on DVD via Warner Archive.

Warner Archive Wednesday - On (random) Wednesdays, I review one title from the Warner Archive Collection. Movies selected are rented from Classicflix, watched on TCM or purchased from Warner Archive, Classicflix or TCM. This series is not sponsored by Warner Archive.


  1. This movie has a great cast. :) I especially love Peters and Carlson, they are big personal favorites, and I also always enjoy Allyn Joslyn (the agent). Your post makes me want to check this one out again! So glad you could add it to your collection.

    Best wishes,

    1. Laura - Oh yes! I should have mentioned Allyn Joslyn more. He was pretty funny as the frustrated literary agent. I haven't come across a Susan Peters film I didn't like so she's been my guide to a lot of great movies including this one.


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