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HISTORY

Title cards introduce the following prologue: “Dedicated to the Youth of the World--whether in cloistered college halls, or in the greater University of Life,” and “To the Plastic Age of Youth, the first long pair of pants is second only to--the thrill of going to college.”
       The 18 Oct 1924 Moving Picture World reported that Universal Pictures Corporation bought the film rights to Percy Marks’s best-selling novel, The Plastic Age, prompting the May 1925 issue of The Educational Screen to ask why any Hollywood studio “would dare purchase” such a scandalous book. The 23 Nov 1924 FD and 6 Dec 1924 Motion Picture World noted, respectively, that writers Will M. Ritchie and Melville Brown were preparing a script, and Clarence Brown was set to direct, but none of them were involved with the final film.
       Universal Pictures writers Eve Unsell and Frederica Sagor originally bought the film rights to The Plastic Age, and worked for months on the script. They later resold it to B. P. Schulberg of Schulberg Productions, according to the 21 Sep 1925 Exhibitors Trade Review. Three months earlier, the 20 Jun 1925 Exhibitors Trade Review announced that Marcel De Sano would direct, but he withdrew because of ill health. Louis J. Gasnier was also slated to direct, according to the 11 Apr 1925 Moving Picture World, but was ultimately not involved with the picture. The 12 Sep 1925 Exhibitors Trade Review listed David Torrence in the cast, but he was not in final credits. Clark Gable is clearly visible as an extra in a locker ...

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Title cards introduce the following prologue: “Dedicated to the Youth of the World--whether in cloistered college halls, or in the greater University of Life,” and “To the Plastic Age of Youth, the first long pair of pants is second only to--the thrill of going to college.”
       The 18 Oct 1924 Moving Picture World reported that Universal Pictures Corporation bought the film rights to Percy Marks’s best-selling novel, The Plastic Age, prompting the May 1925 issue of The Educational Screen to ask why any Hollywood studio “would dare purchase” such a scandalous book. The 23 Nov 1924 FD and 6 Dec 1924 Motion Picture World noted, respectively, that writers Will M. Ritchie and Melville Brown were preparing a script, and Clarence Brown was set to direct, but none of them were involved with the final film.
       Universal Pictures writers Eve Unsell and Frederica Sagor originally bought the film rights to The Plastic Age, and worked for months on the script. They later resold it to B. P. Schulberg of Schulberg Productions, according to the 21 Sep 1925 Exhibitors Trade Review. Three months earlier, the 20 Jun 1925 Exhibitors Trade Review announced that Marcel De Sano would direct, but he withdrew because of ill health. Louis J. Gasnier was also slated to direct, according to the 11 Apr 1925 Moving Picture World, but was ultimately not involved with the picture. The 12 Sep 1925 Exhibitors Trade Review listed David Torrence in the cast, but he was not in final credits. Clark Gable is clearly visible as an extra in a locker room scene.
       The 8 Aug 1925 Motion Picture News reported that filming would “start shortly” (the 22 Aug 1925 issue followed up by mentioning the film had already gone into production), and that The Plastic Age would be released the first week in Nov 1925. However, despite being finished on time, the film was held up until Dec 1925 because Schulberg, who had recently declared bankruptcy, left B. P. Schulberg Productions, Inc./Preferred Pictures to become a supervisor at Paramount, the 23 Oct 1925 FD noted. He took Clara Bow, Donald Keith, and Gilbert Roland with him.
       Reviews were generally positive. The 4 Oct 1925 FD acknowledged the press’s initial “skeptical outlook” on the film because of the “more or less risqué atmosphere of the book,” but found nothing offensive “even though there are some petting parties and a fraternity dance that is the last word in modernism.” The 17 Oct 1925 Exhibitors Trade Review critic commented that the “colorful romance” did not follow the book closely, but turned out to be more interesting.
       Another adaptation of Percy Marks’s novel was produced by Universal Pictures in 1928. That film, entitled Red Lips, was directed by Melville Brown, who had originally scripted The Plastic Age during its time at Universal, and starred Marion Nixon and Charles “Buddy” Rogers (see entry).

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SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Exhibitors Trade Review
20 Jun 1925
p. 62
Exhibitors Trade Review
12 Sep 1925
p. 13
Exhibitors Trade Review
21 Sep 1925
p. 17
Exhibitors Trade Review
17 Oct 1925
p. 38
Film Daily
23 Nov 1924
p. 4
Film Daily
4 Oct 1925
p. 5
Film Daily
23 Oct 1925
p. 1
Film Daily
25 Oct 1925
p. 3
Motion Picture News
8 Aug 1925
p. 549
Motion Picture News
22 Aug 1925
p. 932
Moving Picture World
18 Oct 1924
p. 598
Moving Picture World
6 Dec 1924
p. 558
Moving Picture World
11 Apr 1925
p. 594
Moving Picture World
10 Oct 1925
p. 501
New York Times
19 Jul 1926
p. 13
The Educational Screen
May 1925
p. 293
Universal Weekly
6 Dec 1924
p. 38
Variety
21 Jul 1926
p. 14
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
B. P. Schulberg Presents
Percy Marks'
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTOR
PRODUCER
WRITERS
Adpt
Continuity by
Continuity by
PHOTOGRAPHY
Al Siegler
Photog
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel The Plastic Age by Percy Marks (New York, 1924).
LITERARY SOURCE AUTHOR
DETAILS
Release Date:
15 December 1925
Production Date:
began early Aug 1925
Physical Properties:
Silent
Black and White
Length(in feet):
6,488
Length(in reels):
7
Country:
United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

Hugh Carver, a championship runner in prep school, goes off to Prescott College, his father’s alma mater, where he is expected to set track records. Instead, Hugh falls under the influence of his roommate, Carl Peters, who smokes cigarettes and chases women. During a fraternity hazing at a sorority house, Hugh meets Cynthia Day, one of several young women whose photographs grace Carl’s wall. The aggressively sexual Cynthia makes Hugh dance with her, and when upperclassmen send the freshman away for having too much fun, Cynthia blows him a kiss from the balcony. Despite the admonitions of his coach, James Henley, Hugh starts smoking and staying out late with Cynthia. During a visit to a roadhouse called the Log Cabin, Hugh gets in a fight with the jealous Carl and knocks him unconscious, but when police raid the place, he carries Carl, with Cynthia’s help, through a secret door to safety. When Hugh performs badly during his first big track meet, Coach Henley calls him “out of condition,” and his father tells him not to come home until he makes good. Realizing the deleterious effect she has had on Hugh, Cynthia refuses to see him any longer. Hugh regains his athletic prowess, but through his sophomore, junior, and senior years continues to pine for her. Hugh and Carl become rivals on the football field, vying for the quarterback position, and during training before “the big game” with Tremont College, Carl tackles Hugh, dazing him. During the game, Coach Henley replaces Hugh with Carl after he makes a mistake, but puts him back into the game with three minutes left. Hugh intercepts a pass and runs for the winning touchdown ...

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Hugh Carver, a championship runner in prep school, goes off to Prescott College, his father’s alma mater, where he is expected to set track records. Instead, Hugh falls under the influence of his roommate, Carl Peters, who smokes cigarettes and chases women. During a fraternity hazing at a sorority house, Hugh meets Cynthia Day, one of several young women whose photographs grace Carl’s wall. The aggressively sexual Cynthia makes Hugh dance with her, and when upperclassmen send the freshman away for having too much fun, Cynthia blows him a kiss from the balcony. Despite the admonitions of his coach, James Henley, Hugh starts smoking and staying out late with Cynthia. During a visit to a roadhouse called the Log Cabin, Hugh gets in a fight with the jealous Carl and knocks him unconscious, but when police raid the place, he carries Carl, with Cynthia’s help, through a secret door to safety. When Hugh performs badly during his first big track meet, Coach Henley calls him “out of condition,” and his father tells him not to come home until he makes good. Realizing the deleterious effect she has had on Hugh, Cynthia refuses to see him any longer. Hugh regains his athletic prowess, but through his sophomore, junior, and senior years continues to pine for her. Hugh and Carl become rivals on the football field, vying for the quarterback position, and during training before “the big game” with Tremont College, Carl tackles Hugh, dazing him. During the game, Coach Henley replaces Hugh with Carl after he makes a mistake, but puts him back into the game with three minutes left. Hugh intercepts a pass and runs for the winning touchdown as the clock runs out. At graduation, Carl apologizes to Hugh, and seeing that Cynthia has changed from a flapper to a responsible woman, arranges for her and Hugh to say goodbye. Realizing they love each other, Hugh and Cynthia embrace with mad kisses.

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Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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