Stolen Paradise (December, 1940)
Released in December 1940: (running time 1 hour and 22 minutes) A 'coming of age' film about a young Catholic boy destined for Priesthood who falls in love with his step-sister and then goes to England to join the R.A.F. to fight in the new war in Europe.
Producec by George A. Hirliman
Directed by Louis J. Gasnier
Written by Arthur Hoerl and Lawrence Meade.
The Actors: Leon Janney (Richard 'Dick' Gordon), Eleanor Hunt (Patricia Morrow), Esther Muir (Mrs. Ellen Gordon), William Francis (Jerry Dean), Doris Blaine (Mary Hodge), Herbert Fisher (Father O'Malley), Roy Tracy (Tom Trowbridge), Fred Nielsey (Robert Gordon, Dick's father), Mamie Smith (Martha), Charles Shaw (Larry Hodge), Billy Vines (salesman on train), Gilda Lynch (Janet), Edna Mae Harris (the maid), Augustus Smith (Dixon), George Williams (Porter), George Cathrey (flight officer), James Ford (flying instructor)
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If you are over the age of, oh, say thirty, do you remember your journey from playful youth to responsible adult? Can you remember the excitement, confusion and strange feelings that your introduction into adult life brought your way? I must admit that I don't remember the 'turning points,' - the seminal points where childhood is left behind and I walked through a door to the future called 'adult.' I confess that when I was a teen becoming an adult, I believed that I was not only omniscient, but indestructible and perfect. I raced into the future without thinking or knowing that I was making momentous changes to the 'me' that I was becoming.
I remember dad often exclaiming wistfully, "Too soon old, too late smart," and now that I am old, I know what he meant. How often I have said that if I could only be a teen again, and know then what I know now, my life would be so drastically different. Ahhh, but that is the amazing conundrum of the transition from youth to adult. We are all for the most part ignorant of what the future will bring, and can only learn by trial and error - lots of error - what the correct path is. Watching a movie like this one is a wonderful way to go back in time as we see the journey of one young boy as he travels the hazardous journey from boy to man.
Dick Gordon is the son of a wealthy widower who lives in Florida. Dick has been attending a Catholic school and intends to become a priest, but one day he gets a letter from home saying that his father is going to re-marry again, and Dick must leave school to attend the wedding. Dick reluctantly leaves, and discovers that he will have a new step-sister who is ten years older than him.
He spends the summer with her, and slowly falls in love with her. But in the fall he must leave for college, where he learns to fly the new bi-planes, and learns to drink and date pretty girls. But he just cannot get his step-sister out of his mind. We watch Dick growing from boyhood into manhood, and see the struggles that most boys have with the brave new world that adults inhabit. While talking about his conflicts with his step-sister, he complains about how different the world has become since he went to college, but she reminds him that the world hasn't changed, it is him that has changed. Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter drizzled over it and enjoy the show.