As Young As You Feel (Bilingual)
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When a gentleman (Monty Woolley) is forced to retire at age 65, he'll do just about anything to beat the system. Dying his hair black, he poses as the president of his former employer's holding company. Suddenly free to air his views on everything from company policy to national economics, comic craziness ensues when he meets not only the firm's top executives, but someone equally impressive - a beautiful secretary, played by Marilyn Monroe, in one of her first and funniest roles.
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TRANSFER: Something of a disappointment. Contrast levels are considerably lower than they ought to be. The result is a dull looking transfer in which fine details melt away and blacks blend into one another. Also, there is a considerable amount of grit and film grain present, as well as age related artifacts, for a picture that is not smooth. The audio has been remixed for stereo with predictably limited results.
EXTRAS: This isn't the sort of film you'd expect extras from and you won't be disappointed.
BOTTOM LINE: "As Young As You Feel" was one of the stones that paved the way for Monroe's super-stardom. But it's not one I'd recommend if you're only a casual admirer of Marilyn's charms.
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Monty Woolley (as John Hodges) carries the film as a printer who is pushed into retirement at age 65 and decides to impersonate the president of the holding company that owns the printing plant where he worked. This sets up a sort of 'Being There' effect, where his views on national affairs become an inspiration to the whole country. David Wayne (who would eventually play the Mad Hatter on "Batman") plays his prospective son-in-law and their scenes are all gems, partly because they have a real chemistry and partly because they got the best dialogue. The best scene is the opening, a very well staged scene of the company orchestra playing the "Nutcracker": the camera opens on a promotional poster, pans left and takes us into the concert hall as a little girl scurries her seat. The camera moves around in the crowd where we meet most of the main characters. Hodges is playing one of the piccolos and he soon launches into an impromptu solo, much to the annoyance of the guest conductor and an accurate preview of what his role will be throughout the film.
This film is fairly entertaining but is most valuable as a cultural artifact. Because it was not a high budget production the cast is almost entirely older stars at the very end of their careers (like Wooley and Constance Bennett) and young actors at the beginning (Wayne, Jean Peters, and Marilyn Monroe-in a small part). So there is a kind of torch passing at work. It is also hints at Monroe's special screen presence which somehow allowed her beat the Hollywood starlet system. She and Peters were the same age (both were born in 1926) and had both started too late in the movie business. By this film they had already lost all the youthful luster of their early 20's (check out how much better Peters looked two years earlier in 'It Happens Every Spring' and Monroe before she became a blonde), yet Monroe was somehow able to transcend this and become a big star.
Arthur Miller said of Monroe: "She was rarely taken seriously as anything but a sex symbol. To have survived, she would have had to be either more cynical or even further from reality than she was. Instead, she was a poet on a street corner trying to recite to a crowd pulling at her clothes."
Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child.
Today one is often "thrown on the scrap heap" long before one's 65th birthday. Many an experienced and/or highly intelligent worker then finds himself competing with high school dropouts, drug addicts, the psychosomatically and chronically sick, shirkers, and illegals for the most bovine and least-rewarding occupations.
A seasoned worker (a printing press operator) is forcibly retired at the height of his powers and while still in robust health. His cunning plan to get his old job back soon has him at his beloved press once more, while publicising the nation's need to retain and benefit from the most experienced and proven workers in the labour pool. The rest of the movie creatively and humorously sorts out the threatening legal problems and other consequences arising from the methods the film's hero has employed in reaching his goal.
With all the dubious causes and crusades that Hollywood collectively chooses to embark upon here, unusually, is a cause that all compassionate, fair-minded individuals can appreciate and support.
The humor is light and warm-hearted, the film's conclusion satisfactory. A refreshing and wholesome change of diet from the more typical fare of the film industry. A film well worth having and keeping.
Marilyn Monroe is absolutely wonderful in her small yet significant role as the secretary to the president of Acme Publishing, demonstrating the beauty, talent (both dramatic and comedic), and charm that would soon make her a superstar. Even though her screen time ranked far below that of several of her talented co-stars and her name appears sixth in the credits, Marilyn was actually featured most prominently in the publicity associated with the movie's release in 1951, which is a remarkable testament to her star potential at that time in Hollywood. Perhaps this role as much as any of her early movie appearances brought her to the attention of the public, the critics (who hailed her performance here), and the powers that be in Hollywood. No Marilyn Monroe fan should forego the privilege of watching her brilliant performance in this heart-warming comedy, and no fan of good movies in general should pass up the opportunity of enjoying a film that gives real meaning to the phrase, "They don't make them like this anymore."