Young Man With Ideas has Glenn Ford playing a young attorney named Maxwell Webster who is not very aggressive. Max’ firm has just won a big case that he helped with. All the other lawyers’ names are in the paper except for his. He does not see the big deal in his name not being mentioned but his wife Julie (Ruth Roman) does. He worked hard to help win the case and even though he is not a partner he should get some mention. Max takes Julie out to dinner with the firm to celebrate. All the other lawyers are wealthy and older than Max. Julie cannot handle all the lawyers and their rich snobbish wives and keeps drinking champagne. After dinner, Julie drunkenly gets up and talks about Max about how he did not get any recognition. When they get home Julie is upset with herself. Max is not upset. She wants him to be so to show some kind of “anger” he throws a coffee cup on the floor.
Max believes that Julie thinks he is a failure. Julie tells him she does not think he is a failure she just thinks he is not appreciated she just wants him to get what he wants. Max got a little tough at work asking for a partnership and a raise and he lost his job. The family takes advantage of this setback and moves away from their small town Montana home out to California. They move into a bungalow that is a mess. Max signs himself up for law classes to learn about California law to pass the state’s bar. At the first class he meets Joyce Laramie (Nina Foch). Joyce tells Max that she has failed the bar twice and this makes him a little nervous. She comes up with the idea to share books and study together since Max cannot really afford the books. Max agrees to study with her but he is worried about studying with another woman. He tells Julie and she has no problem with his choice of study partner since, she trusts Max they have been married for ten years.
Since Max does not have a job, Joyce offers him one as a bill collector working part time. When he tells Julie about his new job she laughs because he is not tough enough. To prove he can be tough Max takes the job. One of the people he goes to to collect money is a woman. The woman talks him into paying the twelve dollars she owes.
Julie gets them into a bit of trouble. The previous owner of their house used to run a gambling ring. They keep getting phone calls for bets. One night Julie picks up the phone and says she will place a bet. Now the guy who placed the bet is looking for their address to look for them. When Max comes home that night Julie tells him she wants to move back to Montana she has written a letter to his former boss at the law firm to ask for his job back. Max is furious with his wife. The man who placed the bet comes by the house to collect his winnings. Max gets his frustration out over Julie and the phone calls by punching the guy.
Julie goes to see Joyce late one night. She tells Joyce about the twelve dollars that has been taken out of Max’s pay. Julie wanted to see if Joyce was the woman Max was paying for.
In the meantime, Max gets into a fight with the man who he punched all his henchmen. They think Max is a gangster. They all get into a huge fight outside his house and all of them are arrested. He decides to defend himself in court. Julie does not think this is a good idea because he is not aggressive. Max winds up winning the case and passing the bar the same day. After the trial he gets an offer to work in a law firm.
Glenn Ford was fantastic. Before this I was used to seeing him as Johnny Farrell from Gilda where he was young, tough, and unflappable that I was dying watching him as this bumbling mess of a man. He was so awkward and at time uncomfortably so but he was hysterical. Ford was adorable. After seeing Ford in this I can he see he had a great range as an actor. Ruth Roman I do not believe I have seen in a film before. She was very good as Julia. I like how she was the tough assertive, aggressive one. Nina Foch was also excellent. She was funny. I am used to seeing her in serious roles.
Young Man With Ideas was a cute film. I think if this film had been made in the thirties it would have come off better. While the actors were all great I think some actors from comedies from the thirties would have done a better job. Also I think one of the famous comedy directors from the thirties such as Howard Hawks or Leo McCarey would have done a better job and gotten more from the actors. Young Man With Ideas has its moments where it was really funny and some moments that did not need to be in it whatsoever but other than the occasional hiccup the story is good and the acting enjoyable.