Ah, Wilderness!

Watch Ah, Wilderness!

"The play that startled the nation!"
  • Passed
  • 1935
  • 1 hr 38 min
  • 6.9  (869)

Ah, Wilderness! is a classic American comedy-drama film released in 1935. It is based on a Pulitzer Prize-winning play by Eugene O'Neill, which initially premiered on Broadway in 1933. The story is set in a small town in Connecticut during the Fourth of July weekend in 1906. It revolves around the Miller family, who are preparing for their annual holiday celebrations.

The patriarch of the family, Nat Miller, is played by veteran actor Lionel Barrymore. He is a newspaper editor who believes in the traditional values of hard work and discipline. He is also a devoted father who loves his four children and wants the best for them. His wife Essie, portrayed by Aline MacMahon, is a kind-hearted woman who tries to keep peace in the family.

Their oldest son, Richard, played by Eric Linden, is a sensitive and romantic young man who is in love with his neighbor Muriel McComber, portrayed by Cecilia Parker. Muriel, however, comes from a wealthy family and has her sights set on a more prosperous potential mate, Arthur Murphy.

The middle son, Arthur, played by Mickey Rooney, is a troublemaker who rebels against his father's strict rules. He is involved in a pub brawl, drinks alcohol, and smokes cigarettes, much to his father's dismay. His antics cause much embarrassment to his family.

The youngest son, Tommy, is played by Jackie Cooper. He is the most innocent of the family and tries to emulate his older brother, Richard. He writes poetry, loves animals, and develops a fascination with the town's prostitute, Belle, played by Spring Byington.

The film's central conflict arises when Richard's romantic yearnings and youthful ideals conflict with his father's pragmatic and conservative values. Richard writes a letter declaring his love for Muriel and leaves it on her doorstep. However, the letter is intercepted by Muriel's mother, who demands that Richard stay away from her daughter.

Meanwhile, Arthur's rebellious behavior reaches a climax when he steals a neighbor's motorboat and crashes it into the town pier, causing significant damage. This act leads to his father's ultimate disappointment and disapproval. Arthur eventually sees the error of his ways and agrees to turn his life around.

Tommy's fascination with Belle leads him to visit her brothel, where he is caught by his older brother, Richard. Richard takes Tommy home and gives him a stern lecture about the dangers of such a life. Tommy ultimately accepts his brother's advice and renounces his infatuation with Belle.

Despite the conflicts and misunderstandings, the family manages to come together for the traditional Fourth of July celebrations. They participate in a parade, watch fireworks, and enjoy a family dinner. The film ends with Richard reconciling with his father and suggesting that they go fishing together.

Ah, Wilderness! is a heartwarming and nostalgic film that portrays a simpler time in American history. It showcases the joys and complexities of family life in a small town, as well as the generational conflicts that arise when different values clash. The film features iconic performances from legendary actors Lionel Barrymore, Wallace Beery, and Aline MacMahon, as well as early roles for future stars Mickey Rooney and Jackie Cooper. It is a must-watch for fans of classic American cinema and is a timeless reflection of family dynamics and the growth of youth into adulthood.

Ah, Wilderness! is a 1935 comedy with a runtime of 1 hour and 38 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.9.

Ah, Wilderness!
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 38 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.9  (869)