Sunday, June 1, 2014

Silent Sundays: The Plastic Age (1925)


“The Plastic Age of youth, the first long pair of pants is second only to- the thrill of going off the college.”
            Gotta admit before I went away to college I always thought it would be crazy like Animal House and all those college movies I watched. I thought other students would be dumb as a stick like all the kids in the movies. I actually had a desire to go out and party and make friends and start drinking a bit but I am happy to report I did not do that. I did go to a frat house with my friend since her boyfriend at the time was in the frat but they were a frat that had been kicked off campus so they really could not advertise they were having parties. The party was nothing we all just sat around and did nothing. I did not really do anything in college. I was just there to work during the week and then go home and sleep in my own quiet room where the bed was more comfortable and there was no one stomping around on the floor above me or a train rattling by down the street.
            I do wish I had done a sport, though, and was good enough to have played in college. But alas that is not me and I would not be writing this post and this blog would exist. And it would not exist if I had been a partier either. It exists because I am a quiet nerd whose main satisfaction in life is watching movies.  Anyway, for this Silent Sunday post I watched The Plastic Age and got to see what college partying was probably like in the mid 1920s.
            Hugh Carver is the athletic pride of his hometown. He has graduated from high school and is ready to leave to become the new athletic star of Prescott College. He fully intends to study hard and train hard in track and football. When Hugh arrives at school he is a bumbling mess. He stumbles into his room where his new roommate Carl Peters (Gilbert Roland) has already set up shop. Carl is always with a girl. He has dozens of photographs of all the girls he has gone out with. His latest photograph is of a girl named Cynthia Day (Clara Bow). As part of being a new guy on campus Hugh dresses up in a night shirt and a top hat and is brought to a party at Cynthia’s. Everyone at the party makes Hugh sing thinking he would be bad but he winds up singing very nicely. Cynthia likes him and asks him to dance with her.
            Some time later Hugh is getting ready to go to a dance. He tells Carl he is going with Cynthia. Carl realizes Hugh is the reason she turned him down when he had asked her to go with him. Hugh did not realize, though, that Carl still really liked her. At the dance Cynthia dances with any guy who asks her to. Hugh does not like that too much.
            Since he had been spending his days and nights with Cynthia, Hugh had no time to study and to train for track. He underperforms at his first big track meet for the school. He goes home to his disappointed parents. His mother thought that he had been focusing on his athletics which was why his grades were not that good. This time she thought that Hugh had been focusing on his studies. His father is furious with his son and tells him not to come home until he does better.
            As soon as Hugh gets back to school he is back with Cynthia and they go to a party. The party is raided by the police but Hugh manages to get him and Cynthia, as well as a drunken Carl, out before the police can arrest them. When they get back to school Cynthia tells Hugh that she needs someone fast like her and she does not want to pull him further into her crowd and ruin him.
            Years pass by and Hugh still misses Cynthia. In his junior year he calls Cynthia asking her to meet with him. She tells him she cannot she has another engagement.
            Senior year Hugh is on the football team. Cynthia goes to the big game against a rival school. Hugh is not very good at taking big hits and gets hurt and struggles near the end of the game. Carl goes in but is taken out once Hugh feels better. Hugh winds up winning the game for the school. Everyone rushes out onto the field besides Cynthia.
            The day he graduates Hugh sees a guy trying to kiss Cynthia when she does not want him to. When the guy walks away Hugh punches him. The guy goes back to Cynthia to tell him what happened. She is happy thinking Hugh still loves her. Instead of going to her Hugh walks away. Hugh says goodbye to Carl. His roommate tells him that Cynthia has changed. She is quieter than she was before. Hugh responds that he has sworn off women. Hugh is at the car with his parents when he tells them he has “one more fellow” to say goodbye to. Carl went to talk to Cynthia. He winds up consoling her when she says she wants Hugh back she misses him and starts crying. Hugh sees them together and of course thinks the wrong thing about what he sees. Carl runs over to him and tells him what Cynthia has just said. Hugh excitedly runs to Cynthia and grabs her and tumbles to the ground off the bench.

            I was not thrilled with The Plastic Age. I thought the story was boring. The whole thing with Cynthia letting Hugh go I felt was not explained well at all. It did not even seem like Cynthia liked Hugh that much she just seemed to have been using him. I will only recommend watching The Plastic Age if you like Clara Bow.