For as long as there have been families there has always been that battle between the generations. My dad for instance thinks that because there is email it should be easier for my brothers and I to get jobs and that we should call and check up on our resumes. I think he almost threw a fit when I told him two jobs I applied for did not have phone numbers because they did not want the applicants to call them. He worked in business and sales all his life he does not understand that today it is very hard to get in contact with actual people and that if jobs are posted online it means that it is easier to find jobs. He has no idea the stress he puts me under when he tells me I need a real job because the job I work at pays minimum wage. There is no way he would be able to manage being my age today. He also thinks it is my fault for getting an F in a graduate class even though I worked my behind off. He refuses to listen to me that the teachers for the one class were to blame for not helping me out at all. Because he is a teacher who has won numerous awards he thinks teachers can never be the part of the fault of the student failing.
Alright, sorry for my bitching but I am trying to just get a point across…. Onto the film review.
New Morals For Old deals with a generation gap in the 1930s. The parents are of the Victorian Age with strict moral and family values. They do not understand how their daughter Phyl and their son Ralph (Robert Young) can be such free thinking and free spirited people.
Ralph and Phyl come from a rich family. They laze around and sleep until late in the afternoon. Ralph is trying to sleep and his parents and sister keep barging into his room and opening his blinds. Mrs. Thomas tells her friend that her children treat the house like a hotel coming in and out of the house at all hours of the day and night.
Ralph works for his father’s business designing wall paper but his real ambition is to be a painter. He goes to a party hosted by a Mrs. Wharton who is a patron of the arts. Phyl goes along with him. She is introduced to Duff Wilson. They have met before and like each other. Ralph comes home without his sister. His mother comes down the stairs she never goes to bed until they get home. She is worried that Phyl has gone out with a “strange man” and should be chaperoned.
The next day Ralph tells Phyl that an artist friend of Mrs. Wharburton’s likes his work and may invite him to Paris to work at an illustration firm. Mr. and Mrs. Thomas do not like the idea of Ralph going to Paris. They know he wants to get away but they think he will just loaf around. Ralph lets them know that he will go with or without their consent. His father makes him a bargin, if Ralph still wants to go to Paris after working with him he will let his son go.
Their mother is always nagging them to stay home. Neither father nor mother can understand why their children do not want to stay home. Phyl talks to her father. She wants to go out on her own she cannot go on lying anymore. Phyl confesses that Duff is married and that he wife will not let him go. Phyl does get her own place and Duff comes to see her. She has not seen her family in months. Ralph calls Phyl up one day to tell her that their father has had a stroke. When she gets to the house she is too late her father has died. Mrs. Thomas tries to manipulate Ralph into staying with her instead of going to Europe. He tells her the year is up and again she tries to make him stay. Ralph gets fed up with his mother and leaves.
As soon as Ralph arrives in Paris he heads to the studio he wants to study at. He does not even get his bags from the station. At the studio Ralph meets two other students Zoe and George. They help him find a place. Ralph bangs on the wall to hang up pictures and his neighbor comes by yelling at him. His neighbor is a young woman named Myra (Myrna Loy). She yells at him in French and when he says he does not understand French Myra speaks English. She is happy to see another American. They start seeing each other.
Back in America, Phyl tells her mother that she and Duff are going to get married. His wife has finally granted him a divorce. Mrs. Thomas wanted Phyl to come back to the house for appearances sake. After this was said Phyl leaves the house.
The French artist Ralph has been working with tells him he has no talent as a real painter he would do better in the decorative arts. Ralph is absolutely crushed. Phyl and Duff go to see Ralph in Paris. They go to his apartment but Ralph’s landlady tells them that he has been gone for some time and that he owes her money. Eventually they track Ralph down to a hotel. He has been selling his drawings in the café of the hotel for rent money. Ralph and Phyl reminisce about home and their money. Ralph wants to go home but he does not want to go home and be manipulated and to go home a failure.
Several months later Ralph returns home. When he arrives home Phyl tells him that their mother has been sick. Ralph goes to see his mother. Mrs. Thomas tells her son that she is happy to see him. As Ralph talks to her she dies.
Phyl and Duff are happily married with twins. They live in the old family house and invite Ralph to come live with them.
The cast was very good. I do not believe I have ever seen Robert Young in a film before this. I enjoyed him so much. He was perfect as a free spirited young man who wanted to be an artist. I have never heard of Margaret Perry before. She was very good as Phyl and had a good chemistry with Robert Young. Myrna Loy was in the film for like two seconds but goodness gracious did she look seductive! I liked her scene it was funny.
New Morals For Old is a film that I think many people could relate to today. I certainly can I deal with generational gaps all the time either at home or at work. I also liked watching Ralph live out his dream of being a painter and going to Paris. I wish I could do that but I am scared to death of having no money and he just went around barely scraping a living by selling his drawings. New Morals For Old is definitely worth watching especially if you have ever disagreed with your parents, which, let’s face it, who hasn’t