Wine of Youth

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Wine of Youth
Wine of Youth.jpg
Film poster
Directed byKing Vidor
Written byCarey Wilson
Based onWine of Youth
by Rachel Crothers
Produced byKing Vidor
Louis B. Mayer
StarringEleanor Boardman
William Haines
Creighton Hale
Niles Welch
CinematographyJohn J. Mescall
Distributed byMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
  • September 15, 1924 (1924-09-15)
Running time
72 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageSilent (English intertitles)

Wine of Youth is a 1924 American silent comedy drama film directed by King Vidor,[1] and released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, shortly after the merger which created MGM in April 1924. Vidor did not consider it important enough to mention in his autobiography,[2] although it did advance the careers of three young stars-to-be: Ben Lyon, Eleanor Boardman, and William Haines.

An early “flapper” romance of the Roaring Twenties, Vidor tested the limits of presenting unconventional social behavior among American youth in the Jazz Age which ends with a paean to parental authority.[3]


Mary (Eleanor Boardman) is a girl wooed by two suitors but made afraid of marriage by the quarreling of her parents.



Vidor's arrival at the newly amalgamated Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer would mark the beginning of a 20-year association with the studio. Wine of Youth is his first film appear under M-G-M.[4]


Wine of Youth is the first of four films that preceded Vidor's groundbreaking war epic The Big Parade (1925). In substance these four “Jazz Age flaming youth pictures” of which three survive bear little resemblance to work to emerge in the late 1920s.[4]

Vidor opens the film by contrasting the courtship rituals that characterized the mothers and grandmothers of the female “flappers” in the post-WWI period. The young women of the earlier Victorian Era swoon while reclining in their parent's parlor with their beaux, declaring “there's never been so great a love as ours.” The liberated flappers reject these conventions and organize a faux honeymoon with their boyfriends in the forest. Here they drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes and cavort sexually, images very appealing to urban youth of that era. (Vidor described the movie as an “exploitation piece”).

Having defied conventionality and flirted with her virginity, the protagonist, Mary, discovers a new and genuine desire for her future husband that returns her to the fold: “there's never been so great a love as ours.” Ostensibly an effort to present the virtues of a trial marriage - to discover “how a man is in every day life before you give him your all” - Vidor contended that “there were so many restrictions and inhibitions that it really took the guts out of the idea.”[5]


The film is preserved at George Eastman House, Rochester New York.[6] In February 2020, the film was shown at the 70th Berlin International Film Festival, as part of a retrospective dedicated to King Vidor's career.[7]


  1. ^ "Progressive Silent Film List: Wine of Youth". Silent Era. Retrieved December 13, 2008.
  2. ^ Eames 1988 p. 12
  3. ^ Durghat and Simmon 1988 p. 54 and p. 56: The film is “overridden with reassuring morality [where] a conscientious parent” intervenes.
    Baxter 1976 p. 19 “One of the earliest ‘flapper’ romances...”
  4. ^ a b Durghat and Simmon 1988 p. 52-53
  5. ^ Durghat and Simmon 1988 p. 54 and p. 56
    Baxter 1976 p. 19
  6. ^ The Library of Congress American Silent Feature Film Survival Catalog: Wine of Youth
  7. ^ "Berlinale 2020: Retrospective "King Vidor"". Berlinale. Retrieved February 28, 2020.


  • Baxter, John. 1976. King Vidor. Simon & Schuster, Inc. Monarch Film Studies. LOC Card Number 75-23544.
  • Durgnat, Raymond and Simmon, Scott. 1988. King Vidor, American. University of California Press, Berkeley. ISBN 0-520-05798-8
  • Eames, John Douglas (1988). The MGM Story: the Complete History of Fifty Roaring Years. Crown Publishers. ISBN 0-517-52613-1

External links[edit]