Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Previously filmed in 1916 with Mary Pickford's brother Jack in the lead, Booth Tarkington's irresistable coming-of-age novel Seventeen serves as a tailor-made vehicle for 18-year-old Jackie Cooper. The star is cast as William Slyvanus Baxter, a high school boy who is undergoing the pangs of First Romance. The object of his affections is flirtatious debutante Lola Pratt (Betty Field), an "older woman"-at least a whole year older! Losing his head completely, William spends all of his hard-earned money on the fickle Lola, only to learn a valuable (and very expensive) lesson about loving neither wisely nor too well. Norma Nelson is hilariously hateful as William's tattletale kid sister, while Otto Kruger and Ann Shoemaker are quietly effective as the boy's exasperated but understanding parents. Obviously rushed into production to capitalize on the successful teaming of Jackie Cooper and Betty Field in 1939's What a Life!, Seventeen is an excellent effort in its own right.
adolescence, car, coming-of-age, dating, grades, growing-pains, high-school, infatuation, loot, May-December-romance, problems, school, teenagers