Temple's last Fox musical
Byron Kolln | the corner where Broadway meets Hollywood | 06/25/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"YOUNG PEOPLE (1940) was, despite it's mix of the regular Temple movie trappings, an even bigger flop at the box office than THE BLUE BIRD, released earlier that same year. Back in black-and-white, and with the "child star" cuteness becoming a slightly uncomfortable fit for the rapidly maturing twelve-year-old Temple, it lacks a certain zest; although Temple gives a great performance and is matched every step of the way by her co-stars Jack Oakie and Charlotte Greenwood.
The story follows vaudeville team Joe and Kitty Ballantine (Oakie and Greenwood) and their adopted daughter Wendy (Temple) as they attempt to retire on a farm in New England, only to find hostility and scorn from their old-fashioned, small-minded neighbours.
This was Shirley's last movie for Fox. After her two failures in 1940 (and with no scripts on the immediate horizon), it was decided, in an agreement between producer Darryl F. Zanuck and Temple's parents, to finally terminate her contract. Oddly enough, one of the songs in the film ("Young People") contains lyrics that keenly reflected Temple's personal situation at the time. Audiences wanted Shirley to remain a curly-haired moppet, Temple wanted to grow up. Something had to give...
YOUNG PEOPLE features a clever prologue in which we actually "see" the Wendy/Temple character grow up whilst performing in the Ballantine's act. This was achieved by using a body double for long-shots, intercut with footage of Shirley herself performing "The Beaches of Waikiki" from 1935's CURLY TOP, and "Baby, Take a Bow" from 1934's STAND UP AND CHEER! Despite it's shortcomings, YOUNG PEOPLE is a solid movie and a worthy and touching coda to Shirley Temple's Fox years."
Awkward Transition for Temple; few extras on DVD
Dave | San Diego, CA | 04/26/2008
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Fox continues to release the Temple films without any real extras; this one appears to be no exception. According to the Fox press release, this film underwent a restoration. The video is pleasing enough as well as the audio. As a departure from the other releases in this series, there is NO colorized version to choose from here. For film buffs, this is a plus!
"Young People" (1940) Story: Wendy (Temple, in her final film at Fox) is adopted as an infant by the husband and wife vaudeville team of Joe and Kit Ballantine (Jack Oakie and Charlotte Greenwood), she grows into childhood as a vital part of their act. As she approaches school age, the couple feels that life on the road is not the best thing for Wendy and decide to settle down on a farm in Vermont. However, the locals openly express their doubts about the morality of show business people. A few pleasing tunes ("On Fifth Avenue" and "Tra La La La") and some solid performances, but it comes off as an enjoyable B-Movie version of the Judy Garland & Mickey Rooney backyard musicals...WITHOUT a Mickey. Shirley shows the awkwardness of a teen; her acting and dance routines do not look natural; they seem very mannered and over-rehearsed. With a higher quality director and better script, Shirley could have had a more successful transition into the teen years (as witnessed by her later films during the Selznick years). Greenwood is great in this film, but Oakie comes off as an oaf. His dancing in the finale ("Tra La La") is plain horrible; instead of dancing, he looks like he is fighting off a bad case of gas. Original black and white film in its original theatrical aspect ratio with English Stereo and English and Spanish Mono and includes English, French and Spanish subtitles and a theatrical trailer that really would have benefitted from a little digital stabilization. 78 minutes.
If you're looking for a value, this film is also sold with "Stowaway" and "Wee Willie Winkie" as Volume 6 in Fox's Shirley Temple series."