“What chance does a girl have these days, if she won't do this, and doesn't do that?”
In America turning twenty-one is like a rite of passage. You are now legal to go out to bars and drink. My twenty-first birthday I was away at school and it was on a Tuesday and I had a class. I made it up that weekend by going out with my cousins to a few bars in Hoboken and two months later for my friend’s twenty-first we went out with my cousins to a bar in New York City. I am not a big drinker I do not go out all the time (I run a movie blog I would rather spend my time sober watching movies. I am a bore I know). That was five years ago! Where has that time gone to? Even in the 1920s and 1930s turning twenty-one was a rite of passage. In the 1930 film The Truth About Youth a young man comes of age and shows that he is still in so many ways a naïve young boy.
Dick Carewe’s young ward Richard, or as he is affectionately known as The Imp, is late for a small party for his twenty-first birthday. The Imp is engaged to the housekeeper’s daughter Phyllis (Loretta Young). She worried about why he is so late coming home from his class in New York City. The Imp has no idea that Dick and Phyllis have planned a party for him. He calls to say that he will not be home until late claiming to have a seminar to attend. Although upset by the call Dick has everyone pretend that The Imp is there to celebrate with them.
The Imp is really at a club someone gave him an invitation to. At the club there is a singer there called The Firefly. Her real name is Kara (Myrna Loy) and The Imp is in love with her. After the performance The Imp goes backstage to see Kara. He leaves a guy and a girl at his table. The girl asks the guy about The Imp lying to Kara about having money. The guy just brushes her off. Kara and The Imp know each other pretty well. He asks her to marry him.
Very early in the morning The Imp comes home roaring drunk. Two of his other guardians help him up the stairs to his room and make a pact not to tell Dick about this incident. The following morning at breakfast Dick and Phyllis ask The Imp what his lecture was about. Naturally The Imp lies about the subject. Dick reads allowed a write up in the paper about Kara’s performance the night before. The Imp is nervous that his name will be mentioned. Fortunately it was not one of the included names. When The Imp leaves the table to get to class Phyllis has a talk with Dick about how throughout the years he has always given her and The Imp money for anything they want while he has never spent it on himself and wears the same clothes he has had for years. Dick tells her he has never minded providing for them he enjoys having them around.
Later that day Phyllis and her mother find a letter from Kara and addressed to Richard. It talks about being married and spending the rest of her life with him. The Imp’s real name is Richard but both women believe it is addressed to Dick. They would not even think the letter would belong to The Imp since he is engaged to Phyllis. Phyllis and her mother bring the letter to Dick. He reads it and lies to them saying it was in fact written to him. Dick talks to his friends The Imp’s other guardians. They all agree that something has to be done. The Imp walks in the room during their conversation. He becomes upset and insists on marrying Kara.
The Imp marries Kara. On their wedding night he tells her he is not rich. Kara becomes upset she thought all this time that he was rich. He tells her he lied because he had to have her. Dick goes to Kara that night at the club. He wants to pay her to like him for at least a month to make people think they are married. Phyllis and the other guardians go to the club with Dick to see Kara perform. She is incredibly jealous of Kara thinking she is really with Dick. Phyllis gets up from the table she can no longer stand seeing the object of her true affection with another woman. Kara says aloud she thinks Dick is using her to make Phyllis jealous. The Imp goes into the club totally drunk. He overhears people at the next table talking about how Kara has a new man.
Kara goes back to her dressing room. There is a man waiting for her when she walks in and hugs and kisses him. Dick walks in. Kara hugs the man again and says to Dick that her hug is evidence for a divorce and gives him money to send The Imp away.
The next day The Imp comes home. He plans on moving out after all he has done. He is surprised to hear that Dick forgives him. Dick just says that he made a mistake, a big mistake, but he has learned from it. The Imp goes to Phyllis in the dining room where she is writing out wedding invitations. He tells her the letter really belonged to him. Phyllis is excited and very happy to hear that the letter did not belong to Dick. She goes to dick and tells him she loves him. They kiss.
The only way I ever sought out The Truth About Youth was for Myrna Loy (if you have been following this blog for some time you will know I have an undying love for Myrna Loy). This was one of her early roles when she was at Warner Bros. In her early career Loy was known for playing vamps and the other woman. I like seeing Loy in her vamp roles she was so good at them and she had the look. Loretta Young was alright her acting was not too great at this time. The actors who played Dick and The Imp were nothing to write home about. The story was boring. It was funny to see how even back in the 1920s and 1930s guys went out and got drunk and went to clubs on their twenty-first birthday. Back then I want to say going out drinking and to a club was a little classier than it is now. At least now guys do not fall in love with a woman so fast and marry them two days later. The Truth About Youth is not a film I would recommend watching unless you are a Myrna Loy or Loretta Young fan.