The Restless Years (film)

The Restless Years is a 1958 American CinemaScope crime drama film noir directed by Helmut Käutner and starring John Saxon and Sandra Dee. It was Sandra Dee's first leading role.[1]

The Restless Years
Directed byHelmut Käutner
Produced byRoss Hunter
Screenplay byEdward Anhalt
Based onTeach Me to Cry (play)
by Patricia Joudry
StarringJohn Saxon
Sandra Dee
Music byFrank Skinner
CinematographyErnest Laszlo
Edited byAlbrecht Joseph
Universal Pictures
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date
  • December 1958 (1958-12) (United States)
Running time
86 minutes
CountryUnited States


Melinda Grant is a 16-year-old girl with dreams of leaving her hometown of Libertyville someday and seeing the world. She is raised by a single mother, Elizabeth, a seamstress, and scandalized by the reputation of being illegitimate, although the meek Elizabeth insists that Melinda's father died when she was an infant.

At a school dance, Melinda is taunted by a pair of popular students, Polly and Bruce, but befriended by a boy named Will who tells her that, as the son of a traveling salesman, he's lived in many different towns. She likes the sound of that, whereas Will's ambition is to settle down in one place.

Polly and Bruce try to drive them off the road after Will offers Melinda a ride home. The tension between them grows when Melinda accepts an offer from teacher Miss Robson to audition for Our Town, the school play, then beats out Polly for a leading role.

Will is troubled because his dad, Ed, is constantly angling to meet the other students' parents and make connections to help his sales business. Will's romantic interest in Melinda seems disturbing to her mother Elizabeth, although she sews Melinda a costume for the play. Polly tries to blackmail Melinda into giving up the role on opening night, then rushes on stage and blurts to the audience that Melinda and Will are lovers. Bruce then attacks Will. In defending himself, Will knocks Bruce out. When the other parents only see the conclusion of the fight (and not the fact that Bruce started it), they want Will arrested. Will urges his father Ed to stand up to them, and defend him. Ed does just that, and in a very assertive manner ... he tells them all that he is taking his whole family and leaving town, and warns all of them that they had better not even think about pursuing legal charges against his son. Elizabeth finally acknowledges to Melinda that the baby's father left town without marrying her. She now fears that Melinda will be similarly seduced and abandoned, but Will assures both Melinda and Elizabeth that he will be back after his family leaves town.


See also


  1. The Restless Years at Sandra Dee Fans
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