6.8/10
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Ah Wilderness! (1935)

Passed | | Comedy, Drama | April 1936 (Japan)
Story of small-town life in turn-of-the-century America, and a young boy's problems facing adolescence.

Director:

Clarence Brown

Writers:

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

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 Helen Freeman ... Miss Hawley
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

The play that startled the nation!

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

April 1936 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

Ayer como hoy See more »

Filming Locations:

Grafton, Massachusetts, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film was the first to have media ads taken out campaigning for an Academy Award. The ads depicted MGMs Leo the Lion holding an Oscar, reading "You've given so much, Leo - now get ready to receive!" Despite the ads (or perhaps because of them) the film received no Academy Award nominations. See more »

Goofs

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

Quotes

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 »

Connections

Version of Ah, Wilderness! (1938) See more »

Soundtracks

Under the Bamboo Tree
(1902) (uncredited)
Music by Rosamond Johnson
Played on a player piano in the bar
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Like a Cool Summer Breeze from the Past
11 March 2012 | by drednmSee all my reviews

Eugene O'Neill's gentle comedy about an American family living in a small town in 1906 shows us that our problems haven't changed, only the way we deal with them.

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.


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