The Truth About Youth

The Truth About Youth is a 1930 American pre-Code drama with songs produced and distributed by First National Pictures, a subsidiary of Warner Bros. Directed by William A. Seiter, the film stars Loretta Young, Conway Tearle, David Manners and Myrna Loy. It was based on the 1900 play When We Were Twenty-One, written by Henry V. Esmond.[2]

The Truth About Youth
Directed byWilliam A. Seiter
Written byB. Harrison Orkow
Based onthe play When We Were Twenty-One
by Henry V. Esmond
StarringLoretta Young
Myrna Loy
Conway Tearle
David Manners
Music byLeo F. Forbstein
Erno Rapee
CinematographyArthur C. Miller
Edited byFredrick Y. Smith
Distributed byFirst National
Release date
November 3, 1930
Running time
69 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$281,000[1]


Richard Carewe has raised Richard Dane since childhood. Dane was the son of Carewe's close friend and Carewe promised to care for his son before the friend died. Carewe plans for Dane to marry Phyllis Ericson, the daughter of his housekeeper. Phyllis, however, has no interest in Dane and is in love with Carewe. The film begins on the day of Dane's twenty-first birthday. Carewe is planning a surprise birthday party. Dane never shows up as he has gone to a nightclub to see his new girlfriend, Kara, a notorious gold-digger who sings and dances at the nightclub under the name of The Firefly. Dane returns home in the early hours of the morning drunk and carelessly drops a note from Kara on his way to his room. Early the next day, the housekeeper finds the Dane had dropped and shows it to her daughter, Phyllis, who shows the note to Carewe. As the note is addresses to Richard, which happens to be the forename of both Carewe and Dane, Carewe acts quickly and pretends that the note is his. Phyllis is upset as she is in love with Carewe.

When confronted with the note by Carewe, Dane gets upset and plans to elope with Kara. Dane leaves the house and proposes marriage to Kara, who accepts because she thinks he is rich. After the marriage, when Kara discovers he is poor she tells him that she never wants to see him again. Carewe, not knowing that Kara has already married Dane, offers her five thousand dollars to pretend to be his own lover in public. She accepts the money and when Phyllis arrives at the nightclub she almost cries when she witnesses Kara's attentions to Carewe. She leaves the nightclub. Later on, Dane arrives and is heartbroken to find Kara has sold herself a day after their wedding. Dane goes home and confesses everything to Phyllis. She realizing the truth, confesses her love for Carewe when he returns. They embrace as Carewe confesses his love for her also.



  • "Playing Around" (Sung by Myrna Loy)
  • "I Have to Have You" (Sung by Myrna Loy)

Box Office

According to Warner Bros records the film earned $231,000 domestically and $50,000 foreign.[1]


The film survives intact at the Library of Congress[3] and has been broadcast on both television and cable (e.g., AAP). On home video it is available from Warner Archive Collection sharing space with another Loretta Young film, The Right of Way.


  1. Warner Bros financial information in The William Shaefer Ledger. See Appendix 1, Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, (1995) 15:sup1, 1-31 p 11 DOI: 10.1080/01439689508604551
  2. The AFI Catalog of Feature Films 1893-1993:The Truth About Youth
  3. Catalog of Holdings The American Film Institute Collection and The United Artists Collection at the Library of Congress page 190 c.1978 by The American Film Institute
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