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  • By 1959, Paul Newman's career was moving into high gear, with CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF, THE LONG, HOT SUMMER, and SOMEBODY UP THERE LIKES ME all critical and commercial successes. Even his harshest critics grudgingly admitted he was far more than just a "Brando look-alike" (as he had been labeled in his first films), but his contract to Warner Bros. forced him to also appear in potboilers (THE HELEN MORGAN STORY), and misguided comedies (RALLY 'ROUND THE FLAG, BOYS!), and Newman was chafing at the bit to be able to pick and choose his own projects.

    Vincent Sherman's THE YOUNG PHILADELPHIANS, the last film under Newman's WB contract, proved to be one of the best, and he showed the dazzling sexuality and near-arrogant confidence that would mark many of his films of the next decade. As Anthony Judson Lawrence, illegitimate son of Brian Keith (performed with a brogue and a wink, as Keith was, actually, less than 4 years older than Newman), and social climbing mother Diane Brewster, he carried the name of an 'upper crust' father (Adam West, as wooden as he would be in "Batman"), whose homosexuality had been carefully hidden and whose inability to 'perform' and suicidal death on his wedding night would result in a 'deal' between mother and in-laws; the boy could keep the name, but would not have access to the family fortune.

    Flashing ahead a few years, Lawrence is a strapping, 'blue collar' kind of guy, much to the chagrin of his mother, who hopes that his name will gain him inroads into Philadelphia 'society'. Working construction with his (yet unknown to him) birth father, between semesters at law school, he meets pretty socialite Joan Dickinson (Barbara Rush), who quickly falls for his sweaty, sexy charm. Lawrence's best friend, to his mother's relief, is alcoholic fellow student 'Chet' Gwynn (Robert Vaughn, in an Oscar-nominated role), heir of another elite family, who sees in Lawrence a personal courage he lacks. Vaughn's performance is a film highlight, quite similar to Lew Ayres' role in HOLIDAY, twenty years earlier, through the early part of the film.

    Young Lawrence is fighting his mother's battle for acceptance, and, in the first of several 'upwardly mobile' decisions, he postpones a quick marriage to Joan, in return for help in his law career. While he is convinced the delay would help the two of them, it costs him her love. Bitterly, he decides to 'play the game', using whatever means necessary to get ahead. With a brief interruption by the Korean War, his career flourishes, aided by a willingness to use 'inside' information to obtain a choice clerking appointment, while toying with a near-affair with the 'younger' wife of the aged lawyer he is studying with (Alexis Smith, gloriously beautiful at 38). When he achieves a spot in a prestigious law firm, he 'woos' a major client (Billie Burke) over to him. With unscrupulous ease, he reaches a pinnacle his mother had only dreamed of.

    But Lawrence's world is about to come crashing down, as Gwynn, his college friend, crippled in Korea, has been arrested for murder, and begs the lawyer to represent him. The trial promises to expose the seamy underbelly of Philadelphia society, revealing secrets that could destroy many lives, including his own.

    Lawrence faces a moral dilemma, whether to save his friend, or preserve the fiction of his own life...

    Entertaining and at times powerful, THE YOUNG PHILADELPHIANS is a fitting conclusion to the early stage of Paul Newman's career; ahead was EXODUS, and a decade of roles that would cement his position as a superstar!
  • It has commonly been said that full-fledged soap opera can never be a real work of art, but this excellent film proves to be a glorious exception to that rule. Director Vincent Sherman's luminous film adaptation of author Richard Powell's best-seller THE PHILADELPHIANS manages to tell the story of at least two generations in a single picture without ever feeling cramped, forced, or haphazard. The film's story line that begins as a romance, evolves into an underdog business story, and ends as a courtroom drama, and Sherman impressively manages to take all of these various story threads and create a completely coherent motion picture that never feels disjointed or episodic. Sherman also keeps things movie at a remarkably brisk pace – the film never feels even half as long as it's 136-minute runtime.

    The entire cast turns in superlative work, with Newman being particular well-suited to his role as a good-natured-but-flawed lawyer (he would return to this type of role with even better results in the 1982 classic THE VERDICT). Barbara Rush, Brian Keith, Dianne Brewster, Billie Burke, and Robert Vaughn are all excellent, and Alexis Smith is particularly memorable as sexy socialite. Speaking of sex, the film retains a surprisingly sensual aura throughout, which helps to keep it from aging for modern audiences. Inexplicably forgotten by many classic film fans, THE YOUNG PHILADELPHIANS is a moving, compelling motion picture that holds up remarkably well nearly fifty years after it's original release.
  • Absolutely agree about the high quality of Oscar-nominee Robert Vaughn's performance. It must be his finest movie moment. And Barbara Rush does herself proud, too. Film's reality holds up even 40 years later; one of the era's more credible dramatizations.
  • The Young Philadelpians which was made in 1959 is tame by today's standards; out-dated for sure. Yet, when it was made it was not only controversial, but very daring for it's time; dealing with homosexuality, child-birth out of wed-lock, mental illness, adultery, suicide and alcohol abuse.

    Paul Newman was out-standing in the role of Anthony Judson Lawrence, a career driven lawyer, whose mother is hiding a deep dark secret. Newman is at his physical prime; handsome and lean. Everyone in this classic black and white soap opera was great. Just a really entertaining rainy night movie.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    In Warners' "The Young Philadelphians," Newman plays a young lawyer who abandons all values in search of success… Directed by Vincent Sherman, who had made some of Joan Crawford's tough career-woman vehicles, this slick soap opera actually finds Newman in a Crawford role...

    Tony Lawrence is born into poverty, and his mother brings him up to believe that social position, good contacts and money are all that matter… At first he resists, but events harden him into a cynical opportunist, and he sets out on an amoral journey to the top of his law firm… He double-crosses, romances and ingratiates himself to success, but loses all his youthful idealism, and becomes unhappy with himself… Finally deciding that success isn't worth, the price, he chooses integrity, risking the enmity of a prominent family by defending an alcoholic friend…

    Tony, the ruthless opportunist, is superficially another Ben Quick ("The Long, Hot Summer"), but here the writing is superficially and Newman responds with an appropriately routine portrayal… He goes through the motions well, conveying the smiling, eager innocent at the beginning, and the intense, jaded conniver later on… But it's all on the surface, with no depth of feeling… Tony doesn't even have the underlying devilish charm, only an attractive face… And at crucial moments—when Tony's girl marries another man and when he finds out who his real father is—Newman falls back on heavy breathing, rapid blinking and feverish lip movements…

    Barbara Rush gives her best performance as the depressed, cynical, high society daughter of one of Philadelphia's most prominent attorney Gilbert Dickson (John Williams).

    Robert Vaughn is excellent as the alcoholic victim, cheated and inherited...

    Billia Burke is delightful as the old millionairess whom Tony wins her trust by persuading her to transfer the administration of her possessions to a firm that could save her 'some' taxes...

    "The Young Philadelphians" is Vincent Sherman's best film of the fifties, with excellent supporting cast specially by Alexis Smith as the dissatisfied wife of an aging lawyer collaborating in unifying the arguments of the dramatic action...

    With 3 Academy Award Nominations for Best Supporting Actor (Vaughn), Best Cinematography and Best Costume Design, the film is gleamingly done and acted with assurance...
  • The Young Philadelphians is a curious mixture of Ross Hunter like soap opera together with a Tennessee Williams like hero and surprisingly enough it works most of the time.

    Paul Newman is the hero whose very existence on the planet is a source of scandal. His mother Diane Brewster was disinherited by her husband's family when he killed himself on their wedding night. Newman's had to scrap for what's his in the world and isn't above using the bedroom to advance himself.

    He's got a friend in Robert Vaughn who's also a black sheep in his Philadelphia Main Line family who gets himself in a jackpot when he's arrested for murdering his uncle. Newman, who's a tax lawyer, gets some on the job training in a criminal case, in defending Vaughn.

    Like Katharine Hepburn in Suddenly Last Summer, characters like John Williams, Robert Douglas, and Frank Conroy seem above all to want to protect the family name. Hepburn was willing enough to have a lobotomy performed on Elizabeth Taylor and this crew seems ready willing and eager to send Vaughn to prison or the electric chair for the same reasons. Straight out of Tennessee Williams.

    Newman shows some of the flash in his courtroom scenes, especially in his examination of Richard Deacon that he later showed in his Oscar nominated The Verdict which is my personal Paul Newman favorite. He trips Deacon the witness up with a piece of legal wizardry worthy of Perry Mason.

    In the prologue of the film when the death of Adam West is shown on his wedding night to Diane Brewster the film is very discreet as to his reasons for doing what he did. It's explained this was a marriage arranged by his mother for the purpose of carrying on the family name even if it meant wedding a girl not from their crowd. He explains he has no interest in his wife and promptly goes out and dies in a speeding car crash. Today it would be far more explicit to say that maybe Adam West's character was gay. But we had the code in place back then and gay was invisible.

    Robert Vaughn got an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor and his harrowing scenes with Newman in the drunk tank got him that. He lost to Hugh Griffith for Ben-Hur, but it was the first real notice he got and the start of a long career. Look for good performances by Alexis Smith as the older woman Newman woos, Billie Burke as the daffy dowager, and Barbara Rush whose on and off relationship with Newman guides most of the film.

    The Young Philadelphians is kind of old fashioned today, somewhat dated, but still is good entertainment and recommended here.
  • Set in Philadelphia society in the 1940s/1950s. The two leads- Newman and Rush are excellent, but it is Vaughan as Newman's alcoholic buddy who gives the best performance- he was nominated for an Oscar. Billie Burke as the rich, eccentric little old lady is a delight. Alexis Smith as the attractive frustrated wife married to Newman's elderly boss gives a great performance. Several of the other supporting players- Keith, Picerni, John Williams as Rush's father, and Krueger as Newman's boss are excellent. I own the video and have watched the movie numerous times.
  • Building a Hollywood resume as outstanding as he did, actor Paul Newman selected roles which in one way or another tapped his enormous talent. This movie is a prime example of that legendary persona. The Film is called " The Young Philadelphians " and is the story of Anthony Judson Lawrence (Paul Newman) who is born into an upper social class family. Although raised as an up and coming Laurence, his mother Kate (Diane Brewster) and father (Brian Keith) keep from him a dark family secret which involved his biological father (Adam West). Having graduated from a prestigious Ivy league school, believes he can contribute to his family name. However ambitious he is, there are several outside influences which seek to bar his success. There is a young lady (Joan Dickinson) whom he wishes to marry, but who's father (John Williams) is against it. Then there are the In-laws who believe Lawrence's mother is a disgrace by fathering an illegitimate child. In addition, there are faltering friends like Chester Gwynn (Robert Vaughn) who calls on him when charged with murder. Then there are influential millionaire friends like Mrs. J. Arthur Allen (Billie Burke) who is impressed with Lawrence's ability to succeed when put in real jeopardy. This happens when he is chosen as defense counsel for his friend Chester in a real life drama which endangers his family, his friends and himself if he should fail. All in all, this is one film not to be missed by fans of Paul Newman. The end result is another milestone and a definite Classic for his career. ****
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Paul Newman at his best in this 1959 film dealing with a young lawyer's climb to the top and the woman who abandoned him for family considerations-he wasn't part of their social circle.

    After achieving social status, Newman discovers who his father really is, as he is becoming involved in defending a friend accused of murder.

    Barbara Rush is very good as the war widow who knew she made a mistake in spurning Paul and Robert Vaughn turned in an Oscar nominated supporting performance as the friend, who lost an arm in battle and came home as an alcoholic, accused of murder, he is being written off by this family. You feel Vaughn's torment, especially in the prison scenes. In a year that Hugh Griffith copped the coveted Oscar for "Ben-Hur," consideration certainly should have been given to Vaughn, if not Ed Wynn's memorable characterization in "The Diary of Anne Frank."

    Billie Burke, as the wealthy dowager looking to save on her taxes, was phenomenal here. With that high-pitched voice, I thought I was back with her 19 years before when she portrayed Glinda, the good witch, in "The Wizard of Oz."

    This film of love, social status and family intrigue, is quiet good.
  • The Young Philadelphians had all the ingredients to become the most horrid American melodrama, in the worst 1950's style. Instead, it was cooked up to be one of the fine 1950's movies.

    William Lawrence III (Adam West) was not, indeed could not be, the father of young Tony (Paul Newman). After William kills himself in a horrible car crash (suicide?), his Mother wants Kate (Diane Brewster) to give up the family name for her and her baby boy. Because she could reveal the reason for this horrid condition (Gasp! Is it possible that the marriage was not consummated because William the third could only "do it" with boys?), Kate secures the Lawrence name, if not the Lawrence money, to give Anthony a chance in Philadelphia society. Can you see the most awful melodrama developing?

    Well, it turns out that further developments provide us with a balanced mix of humor, cynicism, drama, real emotions. This movie shows first rate acting and directing, and superb black and white photography. It gives us a glimpse of what appeared to be a pretty gruesome society scene. Apart from the unlikely happy end (I'm not giving too much away by saying this about an American movie of the 1950's), this is an interesting incursion in the period, with a healthy dose of social realism. As a bonus, we get to see Paul Newman out of his shirt in a steamy scene with a frustrated woman married with Newman's much older boss, a delightful Billy Burke in one of her last screen appearances, a tortured Adam West trying to deal with... (Oh! no, I can't say it), and a whole cast of believable, if not overly subtle, characters. We even get a bit of courtroom drama, à la Perry Mason.

    This is an excellent way to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon...
  • This unbelievable (but no less enjoyable) legal soap opera comes complete with dark family secrets, coincidental encounters, tragic misunderstandings, and a courtroom finish Hitchcock might have loved, in which the fate of a man perhaps wrongly charged with murder waits to be decided by a butler's sense of smell. Paul Newman stars as a young lawyer rising through Philadelphia society using his wits, his charm, and a few unscrupulous tactics never taught in law school, and Barbara Rush is the hot-and-cold love interest. But Robert Vaughn steals the film playing an unfortunate friend who, in less than two hours of screen time, descends from an amiable barfly to a crippled war veteran to a skid row derelict facing the electric chair.
  • Vincent Sherman directed this long but interesting drama that stars Paul Newman as Anthony Judson Lawrence, an ambitious young man in Philadelphia society who rises from construction foreman to law school student with a good offer of employment that is interrupted by the Korean War, which sees Tony distinguish himself even more. After his discharge, he resumes his successful career, finding love along the way. There is a sad development when old friend(and fellow war veteran) 'Chet'(played by Robert Vaughn) has fallen on hard times, now an alcoholic accused of murder, and wanting Anthony to defend him, despite his inexperience... Despite the potential simple soap opera story, this is a well acted and written film that is surprisingly interesting. Glossy but entertaining.
  • I really love this movie. It's one of those that, while not one of my absolute favorites, I can enjoy it every time it comes on. This is in part due to the fact that I was a young Philadephian when it came out. We all aspired to be rich and sophisticated like those in the picture. But for the record, all the folks in Philadelphia high society do not speak with British accents, there actually are Philadelphians who are neither WASPS or brick contractors, and the general population is not enrapt with the daily doings of the "Main Liners".

    I'm glad Vaughn got his Oscar for this effort, he deserved it. Billie Burke and Richard Deacon are fun to watch, and Newman performs Tony Lawrence so effortlessly, you can almost overlook how good he is.

    A must-see, though slightly dated, minor classic.
  • "The Young Philadelphians" begins on an odd note. A lady marries--only to have her new hubby say that he CAN'T consummate the marriage! I THINK this was implying he was a homosexual--but it was so vague you wonder if the man just didn't have a penis. All I know is that she stormed out--and later that night he killed himself. In the time between, she met with her old boyfriend (Brian Keith) and I THINK they implied they had sex. And, if we are to believe this odd build up, she became pregnant that night. The lady's brand-new mother-in-law wants to take the child and raise him herself--but the mother vows to do it without her dead husband's family's money. Years pass and the child is now a good looking college student (Paul Newman) who works for Keith (who you assume is his biological father). All this vagueness thanks to 1950s standards--which, in the case of this film, tended to weaken the narrative. I just wish they'd been a lot more explicit and this is by far the worst aspect of the film.

    As for the rest of the film, it's very, very good. It's all about Newman and his rise as a lawyer in Philadelphia--and his dealings with the city's elite families. Much of the film simply chronicles his life events--his first love, his attending law school, military service and his rise through the ranks in the legal field. Despite this sounding rather pedestrian, it isn't--Newman did a great job and the script is very well written and with excellent dialog.

    Later in the film, Newman has finally worked his way to being a very well-respected and successful lawyer. He has a chance to go into politics, marry a gorgeous women from the best of families and he has every reason to be happy. However, out of the blue, a new case comes along--one that could upset all of his plans. What's he to do? Overall, it's a film that is very, very good but with a small re-write it could have been a lot better. Either making the first portion tighter would have helped or simply eliminating this soap opera-like plot would have made the film stronger. But, looking past this, the film is still a very good and often overlooked Newman vehicle.

    By the way, a few final points. My daughter saw this film with me and said that the small portion that takes place at the University of Pennsylvania looks like it was filmed at the school--as she recognized some of the buildings. Although IMDb doesn't say it was filmed there, it does say that the filmmakers did a good job making it look right. Also, to my knowledge, it's the only film I've ever seen about a tax attorney--and I'll have to tell my friend, Terri (a tax lawyer) about it! Finally, although I sometimes have disliked Billie Burke in films as she sometimes dominated the film too much with her ditsy act, here her bit part was fantastic--and used very effectively. I loved her in the film.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Directed by Vincent Sherman, and written by James Gunn who adapted Richard Powell's intricate novel, it features (supporting actor) Robert Vaughn's only Academy Award nominated performance. Harry Stradling Sr.'s B&W Cinematography received a nomination as did Howard Shoup's Costume Design. The story begins with wedding night jitters (allusion to homosexuality) followed by an illegitimate birth, but its focus is on class distinctions, lawyering, and sex. It ends with Vaughn's character on trial for murder and a courtroom drama. The plot is compelling; its pace and intricacy make the film's 135 minute runtime fly by.

    Kate (Diane Brewster) marries William Lawrence III (Adam West) for his money in lieu of the working class 'stiff' she really loves, construction worker Mike Flanagan (Brian Keith). But after a brief disillusioning moment on her wedding night - her newlywed husband seems ill equipped to consummate their marriage, says he's been living a lie and runs out on her after a brief, forced kiss - she returns to Mike, who apparently has no problem finishing the job. When Kate wonders home to her mother at 4 AM, she learns that she's a young widow - her husband had been killed when his too-fast- traveling car crashed. Nine months later when Kate is recovering from childbirth, Mrs. Lawrence (Isobel Elsom) visits her, knowing all too well that the baby can't be her son's child. But instead of taking a payoff, Kate informs her ex-mother-in-law that she'll be keeping the family name and calling her son Anthony Judson Lawrence. Later, when Mike arrives to propose to her, class conscious Kate won't have him and insists that he not return; over the years, she uses the Lawrence name to serve on high society committees, and sacrifices to provide the best for her son.

    When Anthony (Paul Newman) is in his early twenties, he's a scholar at Princeton about to graduate and enter law school; he does construction work for Mike during summers. On the job one day he meets and helps Joan Dickinson (Barbara Rush), who'd just been in a fender bender. Later, attending a society party with his inebriated best friend 'Chet' Gwynn (Vaughn), he bumps into her again. She's dating Carter Henry (Fred Eisley), who's worth $20 million but has yet to propose to her. Joan and Anthony hit it off and begin dating while Carter's away for the summer. They fall in love and at the end of the summer, when Anthony's about to return to college, Jane meets with Chet to ask him how she could keep him. He advises her to use the old fashioned way (get pregnant). Jane then succeeds in getting Anthony interested enough to propose but, on their way to eloping, they're stopped by her father, one of the city's most celebrated lawyers Gilbert Dickinson (John Williams). Dickinson manipulates the situation by volunteering to be Anthony's preceptor and then offering him a to-die-for future that includes a position with his firm that should eventually lead to a partnership if he'll only wait until June (the end of the next school year) to marry his daughter. Anthony jumps at the offer but allows Mr. Dickinson to explain the arrangement to Jane which, of course, he presents in a different light, making her feel like she'd been being used by Anthony.

    By Christmastime, Anthony meets with Dickinson and learns that Jane, who'd stopped writing him, has married Carter after all. Naturally, he then goes to get drunk with his pal Chet. Later, however, he decides to get even. He hears from a fellow student, Louis Donetti (Paul Picerni) that John Marshall Wharton (Otto Kruger), a partner in a prestigious law firm, is working on a Sherman Anti-Trust brief, so he schemes to get the internship in part by charming the old lawyer's much younger wife Carol (Alexis Smith). But an affair between Anthony and Carol never really develops and, realizing his pupil's restraint, Wharton offers the young graduate a position, which proves to be fairly boring for him until Mrs. J. Arthur Allen (Billie Burke) walks in one day with her small dog, the following Christmas.

    Burke is a delight, playing a wealthy widow, who's still managing her husband's oil company fortune, the way she played so many dizzy but "wise" roles in those 1930's screwball classics. Mrs. Allen had been a client of Dickinson's firm, but Anthony coyly wins her business by saving her money on taxes, impressing (her) and ultimately reconciling and reuniting with Dickinson's daughter Jane, now the widowed Mrs. Henry. Ten years had passed and Anthony had served in the war with Chet, who'd lost an arm; Carter had been killed in the conflict after he'd volunteered to serve per problems at home.

    Now Chet, who'd always been a problem - a spoiled and neglected youth of affluent but now deceased parents whose estate is controlled by his disapproving uncle Morton Stearnes (Robert Douglas) and Doctor Stearnes (Frank Conroy), a purveyor of the "genes vs. environment" theory - is accused of murdering his uncle. Of course Chet wants his ill-suited corporate lawyer friend Anthony to represent him against District Attorney Donetti. Even though trying the case may hurt his reputation and position in society, like running for the city council which had been proposed by Mike and Donetti some time earlier, Anthony is loyal to a fault and decides to do so against everyone but Jane's wishes. But Doctor Stearnes, who'd been privy to certain information from Mrs. Lawrence, visits Kate and more or less threatens to reveal her son's questionable past if Anthony stains their family's name in court. Still, Anthony is able to discredit the state's star witness, Morton's butler George (Richard Deacon), during cross examination. He then introduces the possibility of suicide with Doctor Stearnes on the stand to ultimately win the day, saving his friend while living up to Jane's high expectations, bringing her to tears, and the melodrama to a satisfactory conclusion.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This movie came a year after Newman became a big name in movies. With 4 films in 1958 and Newman actually is one of the few stars who really got started more on live television broadcasts. This was really Paul first starring role. Like his live television, he carries this film very well.

    With Barbara Rush and Alexis Smith on for powerful female support, there are some really great moments. I especially like the moment when he turns down the advances of a married woman by telling her if they are to connect, she must divorce her older husband. This moment is played well in this movie.

    There are lots of good moments, with the only weakness being the ending. Richard Deacon is the key witness in the trial but the testimony being proof for a murder is especially weak. Robert Vaughn as the Defendant is excellent in a small role, but an important one.

    Newman fans should check this one out, as it does show how good an actor he was, and if they really want to see him at his best, try and get a hold of his live television roles on DVD. He is at his best live, I wish other than US Steel -Bang The Drum Slowly, I have never gotten to see anything live from Newman though I highly recommend that one which is on DVD.
  • We begin with a prologue. In 1924, poor lower-class Diane Brewster (as Kate Judson) marries wealthy upper-crust Adam West (as William "Bill" Lawrence). On their honeymoon, he says, "I can't love you, Kate, I can't love anyone!" Apparently, he can't have sex. She goes crying to working class Brian Keith (as Michael "Mike" Flanagan), who she previously rejected as too poor, and becomes impregnated by him, instead. Though Mr. Keith wants to marry widow Brewster, she wants her son to grow up with the advantages of the "Lawrence" name. It doesn't make a lot of sense, but that's the back-story...

    Jumping to the present, we find Princeton class of 1947 student Paul Newman (as Anthony "Tony" Lawrence) working for Keith's construction company, while studying to become a lawyer. One of Mr. Newman's co-workers has fender-bender with beautiful Barbara Rush (as Joan Dickinson). Newman sides with Ms. Rush, probably because she is prettier than "big ape" Leonard Bremen, and they fall in love. However, Rush's upper-crust father John Williams (as Gilbert Dickinson) doesn't approve of lower-class Newman. Yes, this is a soap opera, revolving around the protagonist's climb to the top...

    Watch for Newman's alcoholic roommate and best friend Robert Vaughn (as Chester "Chet" Gwynn) to steal the movie. Taking center stage for the film's last, and most engaging, story, Mr. Vaughn received "Best Supporting Actor" consideration for his performance. The delightful Billie Burke entertains as a millionaire avoiding taxes, attractive Alexis Smith offers Rush some competition, and Richard Deacon makes a strong impression as a booze-sniffing butler. This probably should have been titled "The Young Philadelphian" (singular) as it is mainly about the character played by Paul Newman.

    ******* The Young Philadelphians (5/21/59) Vincent Sherman ~ Paul Newman, Barbara Rush, Robert Vaughn, Richard Deacon
  • In great form, Paul Newman plays a young lawyer doing what is needed to land a job with a big law firm. Another priority is to impress a woman blessed with beauty and money. Underhanded schemes are fair in love and law. A very interesting two hours of drama with excellent cast: Barbara Rush, Brian Keith, Alexis Smith and Robert Vaughn. Vincent Sherman directs.
  • Interesting, and ultimately quite gripping, drama.

    A young lawyer, Tony Lawrence (played by Paul Newman), embarks on a successful legal career in Philadelphia. He steadily climbs the social and corporate ladder, though with much personal baggage and bitterness.

    It's the last few scenes of this movie that make it so good. It was fine, but not fantastic, before. We see Paul Newman's character's trials, tribulations and success. It is interesting, but not overly engaging. However, the engagement factor is ratcheted up several notches toward the end, when he defends his friend in court. The story changes from a fairly standard drama to a very intriguing courtroom drama.

    Solid work by Paul Newman in the lead role. Good support from Robert Vaughn, Barbara Rush, Brian Keith and a host of others. Vaughn got a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for his efforts, the only Oscar nomination in his career.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    It's odd that a movie which received a great deal of publicity and controversy in its day is now virtually forgotten. The controversy centered on whether the original novel by Richard Pitts Powell had been justly treated in its screen adaptation. Most critics who had actually read the book agreed that the cinema version, despite its long running time, was but a pale, watered-down shadow which failed to come to grips with any of the social issues Powell had raised.

    However, I personally have never read the book (though I notice it is not one of these mammoth-sized epics, but has in its hardcover edition a modest 376 pages), so I can't comment on how far it's been corrupted in this slick screen version. However, expecting the worst, I was pleasantly surprised. All the principals bring a welcome charisma to their roles, whilst Sherman's direction is much more stylish than usual. Production values and technical credits are equally solid. And what's more important, the movie held my interest throughout.

    The director, Vincent Sherman, did receive a bit of attention from the auteur brigade, mainly because he replaced Robert Aldrich on The Garment Jungle (1957). A literate man whose best films were made for Warner Bros., Sherman managed to make his films sound much more exciting in retrospect than they actually were. His best films were those he made early in his career such as All Through the Night (1941), The Hard Way (1942), Old Acquaintance (1943), In Our Time (1944), Mr Skeffington (1945).
  • First you get Paul Newman who just owns screen time and rightfully so. then, a decent supporting cast making the movie gel and a soap-opera type story is upon you with all the ingredients that keep you interested. The perception that attorneys are all-knowing, all-powerful and rule their worlds is let loose here and each attorney handles if differently. Rich old people who have no life but put on airs that they do abound in this movie. When watching this you get your time and monies worth even though it shamefully feeds your dream-life and imaginations. The scenes are not drawn-out except in a couple of place otherwise the movie moves along and covers quite a bit of ground. High society, hypocrisy, power, love affairs, drinking, socializing, law, courtroom drama, war, orphan issues, mom, dad, ups and downs all resulting in ....
  • No need to detail a convoluted plot that basically involves Newman's character finding a moral compass and himself amid Philadelphia's upper-class.

    Aside from flat b&w photography (Technicolor seems more appropriate) and stilted direction, the screenplay tries to do too much with too many characters drifting in and out. Too many threads appear and then inexplicably lapse. For example, Anthony (Newman) is dropped into Korea as an officer for one scene, and then back to civilian life in the next, both without explanatory context, leaving me perplexed, to say the least. I suspect the screenplay's one of those adaptations from a lengthy novel that proved just too unwieldy to digest on film.

    And dare I say it—except for the opening blue- collar scenes, Newman delivers a flat, uninteresting performance. Maybe the upwardly mobile Anthony was intended to be a dull character, but either way, many lesser actors could have managed the same colorless turn. Frankly, Newman's high society attorney left me yearning for the lower-class charms of Hud, Hustler, and Cool Hand Luke.

    Then too, the upper-class types here are very upper-class, while the working class folks are very ethnic. Not a lot of subtlety or thought there. Also, looks to me like the women come off best, especially a spirited Barbara Rush, a nuanced Alexis Smith, and a pixilated Billie Burke, while on the male side a young Robert Vaughn gets the showy role. All in all, the cast is definitely better than the turgid material.

    Anyway, the film comes across as one of those steamy popular novels that Hollywood figures has built-in box-office, and all other factors be darned. And darn the material they did.
  • kenjha4 July 2010
    Rising young lawyer faces ethical and moral issues as he tries to defend a college buddy charged with murder. The movie wanders on too long, feeling like a season's worth of a soap opera condensed into a feature film. As soap opera, it's neither very absorbing nor deliciously trashy, but instead occupies the ho-hum middle ground. Newman is by turns earnest, ambitious, bitter, greedy, and noble. He heads a large cast featuring familiar faces, but the acting is uneven. With its episodic construction, the climactic courtroom scene is rather poorly executed and seems more like something that has been tacked on instead of something that the film builds towards.
  • Newlywed Kate Judson Lawrence can't consummate her marriage due to her husband's homosexuality. She has a night with former love Mike Flanagan. Her husband dies in a car wreck and she becomes pregnant. While she and her baby are disowned by her mother in-law, she insists on keeping the name Anthony Judson Lawrence. Tony (Paul Newman) grows up to be a hard working man and law student. He meets socialite Joan Dickinson (Barbara Rush) over a minor fender bender at his work site. While at a party with his upper crust college roommate Chester A. Gwynn (Robert Vaughn), he runs into Joan again. Her father convinces him to join the family law firm and postpone their marriage. Heartbroken, she decides to marry another.

    This is a fine melodrama and it doesn't hurt to have leading man Paul Newman. Adapted from a novel, it certainly has a lot of plot. It would help to distill the plot more to its essentials. Vaughn did get an Oscar nomination. Tony's character may be more compelling if it's performed as a more driven man. There is a darkness in the role that remains untapped. It would also help if Joan wouldn't marry another so quickly. She's too quick to judge. The movie keeps pushing his overly driven ladder climbing but he's not doing anything that outrageous. He does certain things and certain things happen to him. None of it is that crazy. While he does take another's job, that guy is no innocent. The wealthy Mrs. Allen walked into his office. It's not like he tracked down a big Dickinson client. It would be more poetic and compelling if he is more aggressive in his career. That would add to the thematic conflict between personal happiness and the pursuit of position. Overall, this is a fine melodrama with a great actor but it's not one of the greats.
  • Great film to watch on a lazy afternoon. Newman on track for movie stardom. Classic acting performing how the upper ions of society interact with each other with no regard for morals or ethical boundaries. Some of the same characteristics are displayed in everyday society at work, politics and various other institutions where people come together today.Fashions displayed and worn by men and women in film were every bit appropriate to display the elitist attitude. Anyone who is a Newman fan this film shows why he reached stardom.
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