Photoplay Studies (1940)

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oJJU A GUIDE TO THE DISCUSSION OF THE SCREEN VERSION OF BOOTH TARKINGTON'S \> SEVENTEEN n Prepared By Carolyn Harrow Julia Richman High School, Neiv York City 7-3 In a recent survey of fifty thousand students who were asked to vote for their ten favorite novels, the book which won fifth place on the list was Booth Tarkington's Seventeen. This lasting popularity of a story which was written almost a quarter of a century ago, combined with its intrinsic literary merits, has raised Seventeen to the rank of a modern classic. Undoubtedly Hollywood was choosing both popular and permanent material in selecting this cherished novel for transference to the screen. Because of our affection for the characters in the book and the humorous situations involv. 'g them, we are likely to approach the screen version with a very critical attitude. Have the script and the actors caught the Booth Tarkington quality of humor and realism? This is the main question to consider in discussing the picture. The theme of Seventeen, which was adapted for the stage a year after its birth as a novel, and is now having a second rebirth as a sound picture, is that of the adolescent boy who becomes girl-conscious at the age of seventeen, but discovers for himself, before the end of the story, that his first love was as much of a disillusionment as his parents had foreseen. It is fortunate that Willie learns of his mistake in time and emerges a "wiser" and, for just a short time, "sadder" man — or almost one. SYNOPSIS Willie Baxter, seventeen-yearold Indiana youth, meets fate one morning when he drives his flivver down to the railroad station to pick up a new automobile horn he has ordered and returns, not only with the horn, but with a first glimpse of Lola Pratt, a fascinating and sophisticated young lady on a visit from Chicago. Mr. Baxter: "Why aren't you studying your geometry?" Willie: "Now you quit looking at me like that." Is Willie's little-sister problem a realistic one?