The only film ever to star Doris with Frank Sinatra. At the time, they were the world’s most popular singers, and they didn’t even sing any complete songs together! The soundtrack album only reached #15 because Sinatra had his own version (on a different label).
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. Her two sisters although seeing other men are infatuated with him as well. Soon Laurie and Alex 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 that of Alex's, but Laurie is infatuated with him. That infatuation leads her to run off with Barney on what was supposed to be her wedding day to Alex.
Meanwhile, Laurie's two other sisters, Fran (Dorothy Malone), and Amy (Elizabeth Fraser) each marry, despite still having feelings for Alex.
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 would be a better provider. Barney drives into oncoming traffic during a snowstorm with his windshield wipers off. But lives, and with a new found affirmation of life, and he finally writes the song he had been working on, finding his self-esteem in the arms of Laurie.
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), filmed before but released after Young at Heart 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 thus creating a corny instead of a believable ending. Happy Endings triumph once again. One of our favorite Doris films. The on-screen chemistry with Doris and Gig Young was really great to see...makes us wonder why they never costarred together. He was in other films with Doris, but always in a secondary role.
Directed by Gordon Douglas
Writing credits :
Julius J. Epstein and Lenore J. Coffee (screenplay)
Liam O'Brien (adaptation)
Fannie Hurst (story)
Cast (in credits order)
Doris Day ... Laurie Tuttle
Frank Sinatra ... Barney Sloan
Gig Young ... Alex Burke
Ethel Barrymore ... Aunt Jessie Tuttle (last film)
Dorothy Malone ... Fran Tuttle
Robert Keith ... Gregory Tuttle
Elisabeth Fraser ... Amy Tuttle
Alan Hale Jr. ... Robert Neary
Lonny Chapman ... Ernest Nichols
Frank Ferguson ... Bartell
Rest of cast listed alphabetically: Wanda Barbour ... Restaurant Patron (uncredited)
Marjorie Bennett ... Mrs. Ridgefield (uncredited)
Ivan Browning ... The Porter (uncredited)
Celeste Bryant ... Little Girl (uncredited)
Kathleen Casey ... Lightning (uncredited)
Cliff Ferre ... Bartender (uncredited)
Joseph Forte ... Reverend Johnson (uncredited)
Beth Hartman ... Restaurant Patron (uncredited)
Jay Lawrence ... Restaurant Patron (uncredited)
John Maxwell ... Doctor (uncredited)
Bill McLean ... Husband (uncredited)
Edward McNally ... Bit Role (uncredited)
Grazia Narciso ... Italian Wife in Car (uncredited)
Barbara Pepper ... Wife (uncredited)
Jack Perrin ... Restaurant Patron (uncredited)
Robin Raymond ... Restaurant Patron (uncredited)
Tony Taylor ... Child (uncredited)
Tito Vuolo ... Italian Husband (uncredited)
Harte Wayne ... Train Conductor (uncredited)
Steve Wooten ... Child (uncredited)
I saw some Doris Day movies at the theater as a kid and thought: "What a nice lady." "Young At Heart" is the movie that later reintroduced me to Doris Day as an adult in the early 1990s; and intrigued me to look further into her work . . . and I have been looking ever since!!! All thanks to Elliot Wilhelm, film curator of the Detroit Institute of Arts, for featuring it on the PBS Sunday Matinee. I just happened to hear his introduction to "Young At Heart" on that rainy Sunday afternoon, and his heartfelt comments compelled me to sit down and watch. He gave Doris such a glowing review about her acting career; which I knew little about at the time. He went on to talk about what a great actress she was, and how graceful and effortless her performances were. He said that he thought she was so good that it was sad that she never received an Oscar, which he thought she justly deserved. But he went on to explain that may have been because "Doris Day pictures" were usually light-hearted comedies or musicals; and the Academy Award were generally biased towards dramatic performances and for dramatic actors. However, he explained that she did give incredible dramatic performances in several movies that were overlooked - in his opinion. In closing, he stated that: "Today's movie, Young at Heart," was another of those performances that he felt Doris was worthy of an Academy Award, that sadly never came - but the performance is still there for all of us to see. I watched the movie . . . and was floored; both by the story, and Doris Day . . . it pushed all my buttons, her and Frank.
Elliot Wilhelm gives such thoughtful reviews - Thank you Mr. Wilhelm for reintroducing me to Doris Day. I wish I could find his review of "Young at Heart" - Here's an example of one of his intriguing introductions.
I wrote a nice thoughtful comment about the film and then pushed the wrong button and it was deleted. The wind has left my sails. Maybe later???
Interesting to note that this is the first time we see Doris with her famous stylized short haircut. Normally I wouldn't like the hairdo, but in her case, because she is so pretty, it works very nicely and just sets off her beautiful expressions in this movie. What a face!!!
This movie is right up there with "Love Me or Leave Me" in my book. I may even like it more; the more I watch it. It imitates real life. Sinatra is real life too. Gig's big disappointment is real too. Favorite songs, though they are all good: For Doris... "There's A Rising Moon." For Frank: "One For My Baby."
I absolutely adore this movie. I don't see how anyone can watch this movie and not come away being a Doris Day fan. I think like so many of her movies her real personality comes out in this film. So light hearted and gay and yet tender when she falls in love, and yes Mike I was kind of sad when Alex (Gig Young) got left at the altar for Barney. But it would be kind of sad to let him die at the end with Laurie being pregnant, and what an ending with Laurie swiping down the stairs holding the Easter rabbit to give to their beautiful baby they nicknamed (Lightning) And Frank (Barney) is setting at the piano playing the song he has finally finished, that Laurie has been trying to get him to finished. "You My Love" Was such a beautiful song and especially when Laurie scoots in beside him and helps him sing it. So the ending would not have been the same if they let Barney die at the end.
Another favorite song in the movie of mine was.
"There's A Rising Moon" ♫ ♪
And the beautiful song.
"You My Love" Doris has her own version of this song which I like better, because we get to hear her sing the whole song as only she can sing it. But this is the one from the movie.
I loved this movie too, not only b/c Frank and Doris needed to make a film together, but b/c it's a nice end to her 7 year Contract at Warners. She had a great start at Warner Bros with "Romance on the High Seas" and it's tied up neatly with this film, like the bows on her outfits in both films. (Am I dying for a ribbon dress like these or what??)
I hear what you are saying about the ending, b/c I was pulling for Gig to "win" Laurie throughout most of the film. However, I think this ending is the right end for this film, and am glad Frank insisted it be changed for personal reasons. Barney only deserves someone like Laurie after he went thru that, survives and starts to appreciate life. I haven't seen the original film this is based on "Four Daughters", but find the idea of an extra daughter and a different ending dizzying compared to this.
I love the duet of "You, My Love" though I wish they had sung it together longer. I adore both versions of them singing it separately. I feel like you can see the mutual respect they have for each other that was discussed at length on the Nancy for Frank Siriusly Sinatra interview recently. I also like the beach scene and the gingerbread man scene. I can see why Laurie fell for Barney in the bar scene with that light blue pleated dress esp when he asks "Why do you have to look so beautiful?" *swoons* Yes Doris, why??
Mike: I've always loved your synopsis. Even though most of us know most of the plots to these films, it's nice to have a refresher.
Nick: I so agree about Doris' hair. I love it so much I've seriously considered cutting my hair that way, but I've never had my hair that short since I was real little and am afraid I would hate it on me.
Love all the videos/photos everyone has posted! Like the "Change Shoes" comment in one of the costume test photos which made me think those strappy shoes were Doris' own pair. Her on-screen versus off-screen style is interesting.
"I think Doris is a very sexy lady who doesn't know how sexy she is. That's the integral part of her charm. Beautiful Doris with that fantastic body, all sweetness and charm up front, and that turns people on, and I don't think she could have had the success she's had if she didn't have this sexy whirlpool frothing around underneath her All-American-girl exterior."
"...she was the Fred Astaire of comedy."
"Making a movie with Doris was a piece of cake---a sexy ride on her coattails all the way.
Holly I am going to post the song that Mike did for us of Doris singing this beautiful song.
"YOU MY LOVE" ♫♪ It has always been a favorite of mine because she sings it with such emotion.
Also she has an album with this song on it, which of course I have.
Also Holly when you mention her short hair style, I counted, and there were 6 movies she made that she wore this same short hair style, so she must like short hair, as I do. In high school my hair was cut like this until my senior year, when I grew it out for my cap and gown picture.
Also Mike I love the scene on the beach in this movie where she is wearing those cute short shorts and sweater and singing the song you posted "Ready Willing And Able" such a cute song.
I had painted this black and white picture a while back, and put it in a scene like she is at the beach in Carmel.
One of my all time favorite films. I still enjoy the happy family environment, the pending love story between Laurie Tuttle (Doris Day) and Alex Burke (Gig Young), the scenes on the beach (personal remembrances of California beaches) . . .
However, now when the story turns to where Barney Sloan (Frank Sinatra) becomes the winner of Laurie Tuttle's affections - that just gripes me and I cringe every time it gets to those scenes.
As you know, I totally agree. Don't get me wrong...I DO like Frank Sinatra, just not in this film.
Besides...the chemistry is so great with Doris and Gig, it should have continued that way. Her infatuation with "Barney Sloane" is not believable.