A mediocre melodrama which is raised from obscurity only by the fine performances of Tracy and Bellamy, whose lives are affected by a young delinquent, Conlon. The youngster and his friend, Borzage (the nephew of the director), are paroled by judge Bellamy into the custody of Conlon's
stodgy aunt, Graham, only to find that life under her roof is unbearable. They decide to take refuge with Borzage's grandmother, Mercer. When the boys discover that she has taken ill, they try to awaken druggist Tracy but have no success. Instead they break into his store in the hope of finding
medicine but are apprehended by police. Conlon again faces the judge, but Kenyon, Tracy's sympathetic wife, agrees to take the boy into her custody. Tracy, however, is violently opposed to her act of kindness. Later, when Conlon overhears an argument between Tracy and Kenyon, he sees himself as an
obstacle to their happiness. He decides to run off, but before he can leave for good, he witnesses a robbery in the drugstore. Conlon intervenes and is taken hostage by the criminals. The quick-thinking lad causes an accident in the getaway car, enabling the police to capture the lawbreakers.
Tracy is moved by Conlon's heroic actions and is now convinced that he should adopt the boy. This was the first pairing of Tracy and director Borzage (they would work together again the following year in MAN'S CASTLE), though Tracy had nearly appeared in Borzage's Oscar-winning BAD GIRL. Tracy,
who had been friends with Borzage since arriving in Hollywood, had been looking forward to working with the director who, after winning an Oscar in 1927 for SEVENTH HEAVEN, was being highly touted. However, the studio chief at Fox, Winfield Sheehan, was pressured by investors to cast the
up-and-coming James Dunn in the role. Although YOUNG AMERICA got none of the same praise as BAD GIRL, Tracy received a handsome share of laudatory reviews. While his next film, SOCIETY GIRL, had him second-billed to Dunn, Tracy would soon come into his own as one of Hollywood's favorite faces.
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- Rating: NR
- Review: A mediocre melodrama which is raised from obscurity only by the fine performances of Tracy and Bellamy, whose lives are affected by a young delinquent, Conlon. The youngster and his friend, Borzage (the nephew of the director), are paroled by judge Bellamy… (more)