Over 21 (1945)

103-105 mins | Comedy | 23 August 1945

Director:

Charles Vidor

Writer:

Sidney Buchman

Producer:

Sidney Buchman

Cinematographer:

Rudolph Maté

Editor:

Otto Meyer

Production Designers:

Stephen Goosson, Rudolph Sternad

Production Company:

Sidney Buchman Enterprises, Inc.
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HISTORY

In the opening onscreen credits, the phrase "The New York Stage Success" precedes the film's title. According to a Mar 1944 news item in HR , Columbia paid $350,000 for the screen rights to Ruth Gordon's play, which had been totally financed by Twentieth Century-Fox. According to an Aug 1944 HR news item, Rosalind Russell was considered for the lead in this picture but dropped out of the competition to get an early start on Sister Kenny (see below), which was later delayed until 8 Nov 1945. According to a news item in HCN , the United States War Department assigned Lt. Tom Harding to the production to insure the authenticity of the soldiers' appearance and ... More Less

In the opening onscreen credits, the phrase "The New York Stage Success" precedes the film's title. According to a Mar 1944 news item in HR , Columbia paid $350,000 for the screen rights to Ruth Gordon's play, which had been totally financed by Twentieth Century-Fox. According to an Aug 1944 HR news item, Rosalind Russell was considered for the lead in this picture but dropped out of the competition to get an early start on Sister Kenny (see below), which was later delayed until 8 Nov 1945. According to a news item in HCN , the United States War Department assigned Lt. Tom Harding to the production to insure the authenticity of the soldiers' appearance and behavior. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
21 Jul 1945.
---
Daily Variety
23 Jul 45
p. 3.
Film Daily
25 Jul 45
p. 7.
Hollywood Citizen-News
22 Jan 1945.
---
Hollywood Reporter
23 Mar 44
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Aug 44
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Jul 45
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Aug 45
p. 10.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
20 Jan 45
p. 2279.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
28 Jun 45
p. 2565.
New York Times
17 Aug 45
p. 20.
Variety
25 Jul 45
p. 20.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
Gowns
MUSIC
Mus score
Mus dir
SOUND
Mus mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
PRODUCTION MISC
Research dir
Research dir
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the play Over 21 by Ruth Gordon, as produced by Max Gordon (New York, 3 Jan 1944).
DETAILS
Release Date:
23 August 1945
Production Date:
9 January--4 April 1945
Copyright Claimant:
Sidney Buchman Productions, Inc.
Copyright Date:
13 June 1945
Copyright Number:
LP13398
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
103-105
Length(in feet):
9,449
Country:
United States
PCA No:
10485
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Deciding that his responsibility to his newspaper and his country dictate that he experience the war first hand, Max Wharton, editor of the New York Bulletin , resigns his post to enroll in Officers' Candidate School. Max's decision infuriates Robert Drexel Gow, the Bulletin's owner, who declares that Max is wasting his talents. Max's wife, celebrated novelist and screenwriter Paula "Polly" Wharton, is in Hollywood adapting her novel into a screenplay, but after completing her task, she joins him at the Tetley Field officers' school in Florida. Although Max must live in the army barracks, he rents a delapidated bungalow for Polly. Polly arrives just as the former tenant, Jan Lupton, is about to leave with her husband Roy, who has just completed his training. After telling her about the primitive living conditions of the bungalow, Jan advises Polly to pray that Max is not sent to Crocker Field when he graduates because wives are not allowed there. Soon after, Max arrives at the bungalow to greet Polly, and when he confides that he is having difficulty memorizing the multitude of details contained in the army manual, Polly remembers Jan's assertion that after the age of 21, the brain is unable to absorb facts. When Gow phones demanding to speak to Max, Polly refuses to allow him to talk to him and tells her husband that the call is from Hollywood producer Joel I. Nixon. On the night that Max invites Frank MacDougal, the most knowledgeable soldier on the post, to dinner, Polly's neighbors pitch in and prepare the meal for the undomesticated Polly. Over dinner, Frank discusses ... +


Deciding that his responsibility to his newspaper and his country dictate that he experience the war first hand, Max Wharton, editor of the New York Bulletin , resigns his post to enroll in Officers' Candidate School. Max's decision infuriates Robert Drexel Gow, the Bulletin's owner, who declares that Max is wasting his talents. Max's wife, celebrated novelist and screenwriter Paula "Polly" Wharton, is in Hollywood adapting her novel into a screenplay, but after completing her task, she joins him at the Tetley Field officers' school in Florida. Although Max must live in the army barracks, he rents a delapidated bungalow for Polly. Polly arrives just as the former tenant, Jan Lupton, is about to leave with her husband Roy, who has just completed his training. After telling her about the primitive living conditions of the bungalow, Jan advises Polly to pray that Max is not sent to Crocker Field when he graduates because wives are not allowed there. Soon after, Max arrives at the bungalow to greet Polly, and when he confides that he is having difficulty memorizing the multitude of details contained in the army manual, Polly remembers Jan's assertion that after the age of 21, the brain is unable to absorb facts. When Gow phones demanding to speak to Max, Polly refuses to allow him to talk to him and tells her husband that the call is from Hollywood producer Joel I. Nixon. On the night that Max invites Frank MacDougal, the most knowledgeable soldier on the post, to dinner, Polly's neighbors pitch in and prepare the meal for the undomesticated Polly. Over dinner, Frank discusses a planned summit meeting of the Allied leaders, arguing in favor of a policy of distrust and isolationism. After Frank leaves, Max, angered by his opinions, confides his fear of failing officer's training school to Polly and questions his worth to the army. When the army newspaper asks him to write a column, Max, spurred by his distate for Frank's views, accepts. While shopping at the army store one day, Polly meets Mrs. Gates, the mother-in-law of post commander Colonel Foley. When Mrs. Gates gushes her admiration for Polly's work, Polly, hoping to help Max, invites the family over for drinks. Upon returning home, Polly finds Gow waiting there with a stack of Bulletins , the paper that has been banned from the Wharton household. After showing Polly the insipid columns written by his new editor, Gow states that circulation has dropped and threatens to sell the paper unless Max returns. In reply, Polly admonishes Gow not to burden Max with his problems and hides the paper. When the Foleys arrive, the colonel tells Max that Washington has been monitoring his columns, causing Gow to gloat and opine that Max is wasting his talent by playing soldier. After the Foleys leave and Max returns to the post, Polly assures Gow that Max will flunk out soon and promises to approach him about writing a weekly editorial. Deciding to placate Gow by writing the column herself under her husband's name, Polly goes to work. When Max pays a surprise visit, she claims to be busy rewriting scenes for Nixon. As the weeks pass, Polly's editorials appear in the Bulletin under her husband's byline. After passing his final exams at the bottom of his class, Max goes to tell Polly the news and finds Nixon waiting at the bungalow. When Max mentions Polly's rewrites, Nixon, baffled, denies haven spoken to her since she left Hollywood. Realizing that Polly has been lying to him, Max goes to the library and sees "his" editorials in the Bulletin . Gow, meanwhile, frantically calls Polly to learn the outcome of Max's exams. Finally answering the phone, Polly tells Gow that her husband passed and begs him not to sell the paper just because Max will be sent overseas. Max overhears the conversation but doesn't tell Polly. Soon after, Max accepts Foley's invitation to address the graduating class. On graduation day, Gow joins Polly in the stands and they listen as Max ascends the podium and reads one of Polly's editorials. Polly runs out of the stands in shame, and when she returns home, she finds Max and Gow waiting for her. When Gow declares that the paper is worthless without Max's opinions and he intends to sell it, Max informs him that Polly wrote the editorials and suggests he hire her. Polly refuses to accept the job until she learns that Max has been assigned to Crocker Field and, realizing that she will not be able to accompany him, agrees to go to New York and become the Bulletin's new editorial writer. +

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

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.