Twenty-One (1923)

Genres - Romance  |   Sub-Genres - Romantic Drama  |   Run Time - 75 min.  |  
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Although Richard Barthelmess was one of the bigger stars of the silent era, not all his films were worthy of his talents. This society drama was decidedly mediocre fare. The wealthy McCulloughs (Joe King and Dorothy Cumming) separate when their son, Julian, is seven. Mrs. McCullough convinces her estranged husband to let her raise the boy without his interference and she brings him up to be a weakling. When he reaches the age of 20, Julian (Barthelmess, who was actually 28 at the time) falls in love with Lynnie Willis (Dorothy Mackaill), who is far below him socially. When they are returning from a dance, the car breaks down and they are forced to find shelter at an inn, where they register as brother and sister. This causes a scandalous situation and Julian is more than willing to marry Lynnie, but his father insists that he will have the marriage annulled, since his boy is not yet 21. Julian goes away to work as a cab driver, while Mr. McCullough makes an effort to find someone else to marry Lynnie. Mr. McCullough is attacked in a garage by thugs and Julian comes to his rescue. He is injured in the fight, but it enables him to reconcile with his father. Once he has recovered Julian is able to marry Lynnie, since he has just turned 21.

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Keywords

family-disapproval, honesty, love, love-conquers-all, marriage, poverty, son