Young at Heart (1954 film)

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Young at Heart
Young-at-Heart-1954-Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Gordon Douglas
Produced by Henry Blanke
Written by Lenore J. Coffee
Julius J. Epstein
Starring Doris Day
Frank Sinatra
Gig Young
Ethel Barrymore
Cinematography Ted D. McCord
Distributed by Warner Brothers
Release date(s)
  • December 1954 (1954-12)
Running time 117 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $2.5 million (US)[1]

Young at Heart is a 1954 musical film starring Doris Day and Frank Sinatra, directed by Gordon Douglas, and featuring a supporting cast including Gig Young, Ethel Barrymore, Alan Hale, Jr. and Dorothy Malone. The picture was the first of five films that Douglas directed with Sinatra and was a remake of the 1938 film Four Daughters.

Plot[edit]

When song-writer Alex Burke (Gig Young) enters the lives of the musical Tuttle family, each of the three daughters falls for him. The family lives in the fictional town of Strafford, Connecticut. Alex's personality is a match for Laurie Tuttle (Doris Day), as both she and Alex are seemingly made for each other. Soon they are engaged, but when a friend of Alex's, Barney Sloan (Frank Sinatra), comes to the Tuttle home to help with some musical arrangements, complications arise. His bleak outlook on life couldn't be any more contradictory to Alex's, and Laurie falls in love with him. Meanwhile, Laurie's two other sisters, Fran (Dorothy Malone), and Amy (Elisabeth Fraser) each marry, despite still having feelings for Alex. Although the family welcomes Barney into their lives, a feeling of genuine self-worth escapes him, even after both he and Laurie marry. Barney, with a black cloud perpetually hanging over his head, decides one evening to kill himself, feeling Laurie would be better off with Alex, as he was a better provider. Barney drives into oncoming traffic during a snowstorm with his windshield wipers off. Barney lives, and with a newfound affirmation of life, finally writes the song he had been working on, finding his self-esteem in the arms of Laurie and their new baby.

Original ending[edit]

The character of the self-destructive Barney Sloan was originally written to die at the end of the film when Sloan drives into on-coming traffic during a snow-storm. Sinatra, whose characters in his two previous films (From Here to Eternity [1953] and Suddenly [1954]) perished at the end, thought Sloan should live and find happiness. Sinatra's growing influence in Hollywood was enough to have the ending re-written to accommodate his wishes.

Cast[edit]

Score and soundtrack[edit]

When this film was released, the conductor Ray Heindorf was not given credit, because of the new ruling at that time that stated that he had to be credited as a "Music Supervisor and conducted by" policy, which he disliked. This is one of the Warner musicals that bears no credit to any composer or conductor.

Songs from the soundtrack were released as an album by Frank Sinatra and Doris Day, also titled Young at Heart. The album peaked at #11 on Billboard while the single reached #2 and was considered as Sinatra's comeback single after several years away from the top of the pop singles chart. So popular was the song "Young at Heart" that the film was also titled Young at Heart, having had no title until the song's success. The song's popularity led to its being used not only for the title, but also for music over the opening and closing credits.

Iconic resonance[edit]

Frank Sinatra's persona in the film Young at Heart helped somewhat cultivate the image of the romantic loner that was often personified in the singer's albums. Sinatra's outstanding musical solo-pieces alone at a piano with shot glass, tilted hat and dangling cigarette, helped establish an oft-identified image with the singer/actor.

References[edit]

  1. ^ 'The Top Box-Office Hits of 1955', Variety Weekly, January 25, 1956

External links[edit]