Young America (We Humans) - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Young America (We Humans) Reviews

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Super Reviewer
May 14, 2014
Uneven but entertaining drama has teen Arthur (Tommy Conlon) being accused of being the worst kid in town. Trying to help a friend's grandmother, he breaks into a store to steal some medicine but is caught. In court the judge (Ralph Bellamy) is about to send him to a juvenile jail but the store owner (Spencer Tracy) and his wife (Doris Kenyon) end up taking the kid home. The store owner is against it but the wife believes a good home can change a bad kid. This is a fast paced and entertaining little film even though the subject matter brings up some rather false notes as well as being too heavy at times. The biggest fault I had with the movie is that it tries to argue that bad kids can be good if they have a loving family and a nice place to live yet the main guy here, Arthur, isn't ever shown as a bad kid. He gets in trouble two separate times but both times he does so for the good of another person. Since he's doing good deeds it's hard for the film to argue about what bad kids need. With that said, the movie still works due in large part to some very good performances. Tracy gets top-billing but he's basically just here in a supporting role. He offers up another fine performance as he has no trouble playing the jerk who wants to see the young kid thrown in jail. Kenyon is equally good as the woman who wants to change the kid. Conlon never had much of a career, which is somewhat a surprise since his performance is better than many other child stars of his time. The director's son plays Arthur's best friend and does a nice job as well. Ralph Bellamy gets third viewing but this is pretty much his film as a judge who tries to understand troubled kids. The caring nature of the character is really brought out by Bellamy who sadly has been forgotten as an actor, which is a shame because he was one of the best character actors out there. 3-16-14
July 23, 2012
A very worthy film about delinquent youths in 1930s America, directed by the great Frank Borzage, that overeggs its tale and becomes a tad preachy. There is, however, some wonderful outside photography and the child actors aren't all that bad. There are better films about youth problems and crime, though, such as Angels with Dirty Faces etc.
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