1 January 2015 | AlsExGal
Being a college graduate in the Depression could be so depressing...
... and this fast moving little film using Warner Brothers' contract talent hits all of the important points of young people starting out with big dreams and what becomes of them all in the first couple of years after graduation. Young people today can probably see many parallels in the experience of the seven young people followed in this film versus what they experience today trying to elbow their ways into careers.
The story starts out on graduation day for four college seniors and buddies. Franchot Tone plays Bob, a guy who wants to be a newspaperman and has a crush on the sister (Margaret Lindsay) of fellow graduate Fred (Robert Light), who is all set up to go into the stock brokerage firm of his father. Tom (Ross Alexander) aspires to be an architect and marry his girl Trudy (Jean Muir) as soon as possible. Finally there is "Smudge" (Dick Foran) who has been the big college football player for four years and wants to parlay that into a coaching job.
Some of them - with difficulty and perseverance - get jobs in New York City - strangely enough this is the destination of all of them, none of the jobs pay that well, and roommates are a necessity in such austere times, often in boarding houses with a great view of the brick wall across the alley. Romance is found for all but Fred - he has the least screen time - but money is the roadblock for matrimony for all of them.
The film does a great job of interweaving the stories of all of the graduates, but the focus stays mainly on Tone's character, Bob, as a couple of times he has the distasteful task of being the action reporter on the scene of some tragedy related to his friends or their families. It is a harrowing journey but it has a rather upbeat ending with, ironically, Ross Alexander's character telling Bob to keep a stiff upper lip. This is ironic because Ross Alexander ended his own life just a little more than two years after this film was released.
If you liked the gritty reality of "Wild Boys of the Road" I think you'll like this film too. Highly recommended.