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Monday, 4 June 2012

As Young as You Feel (1951)

Star of the Month... Marilyn Monroe

As Young as You Feel is a comedy starring Monty Woolley and Thelma Ritter, with Marilyn Monroe appearing in a brief role as Harriet, a secretary.

The film tells the story of John R. Hodges (played by Monty Woolley) who turns 65 and is forced to retire (or "fired for turning 65" as he describes it), from his job at Consolidated Motors. After determining no one in the organisation knows the name of the company President or what he looks like, John dyes his hair and whiskers black and poses to be the President of the company, in an attempt to change the "no workers over 65 policy".

Things get a little out of hand, and John ends up making a speech to the Chamber of Commerce which influences the American enconomy. Things seem to be going well until the real president of Consolidated Motors reads about a speech he allegedly made to the Chamber of Commerce.

Corporate satire

This film is a satire on the corporate world of the early 1950s. Watching this film in 2012 you get an appreciation for how the corporate world has evolved over time. An organisation would be taken to court for discrimination should they implement a HR policy to not hire anyone over the age of 65.

CEOs and company Presidents are now a lot more visible, with their names and photos plastered all over the internet and company intranets, making the premise of the film unrealistic in today's society. That said, it is still a lot of fun to watch.

Did you know...

  • The characters in the film say "Consolidated Motors" 61 times during the course of this 77 minute film - that's almost once a minute
  • This was the first of many films Marilyn made under her contract with 20th Century Fox

Concluding remarks

This is a fun and enjoyable comedy to watch. Monty Woolley is delightful as always, stealing the film along with Thelma Ritter. It is fortunate the film features Marilyn Monroe in an early role, otherwise it would have most likely been another forgotten B-grade comedy from the early 1950s. If you enjoyed Monty Wolley in this film, I also recommend watching 'The Man Who Came to Dinner', which is an even funnier film co-starring Bette Davis.

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