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Love Begins at Twenty (1936)

Horatio Gillingwater, a hen-pecked husband of long standing, takes up boozing and begins to wear the family pants and take charge of family matters, including aiding the romance of his daughter, Lois, with Jerry Wayne.


Frank McDonald


Martin Flavin (play), Dalton Trumbo (screenplay) | 1 more credit »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Hugh Herbert ... Horatio Gillingwater
Patricia Ellis ... Lois Gillingwater
Warren Hull ... Jerry Wayne
Hobart Cavanaugh ... Jacob 'Jake' Buckley
Dorothy Vaughan ... Evalina 'Evie' Gillingwater
Clarence Wilson ... Jonathan Ramp
Robert Gleckler ... Gangster Mugsy O'Bannion - aka Harold McCauley
Mary Treen ... Alice Gillingwater
Anne Nagel ... Miss Perkins - Ramp's Secretary
Arthur Aylesworth ... Justice Felton
Sol Gorss Sol Gorss ... Jim - Bank Robber
Henry Otho Henry Otho ... Lumpy - Bank Robber
Max Wagner ... Lester - O'Bannion's Driver
Tom Brower ... Sheriff Bert Hanson
Milton Kibbee ... Wilbur - Detective (as Milt Kibbee)


Horatio Gillingwater (Hugh Herbert), a hen-pecked husband of long standing, takes up boozing and begins to wear the family pants and take charge of family matters, including aiding the romance of his daughter, Lois (Patricia Ellis), with Jerry Wayne (Warren Hull...and several misadventures with people and incidents way out of his normal element. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddentlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


You'll start laughing at the first scene - and never stop 'til the last - at the world's looniest family! (original ad) See more »


Comedy | Music | Romance


Passed | See all certifications »






Release Date:

22 August 1936 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Love Begins at 20 See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The play originally opened in New York on 5 November 1929 and ran for 178 performances. Bette Davis (in her theatrical debut) and Donald Meek were in the cast. See more »


On his trolley trip into Fort Vernal, Horatio passes the the same two billboards twice within a couple seconds (on the rear projection behind him). See more »


Version of Calling All Husbands (1940) See more »


She'll Be Comin' 'Round the Mountain When She Comes
Played on piano by Hobart Cavanaugh at the wedding
See more »

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User Reviews

Bette Davis B'way vehicle (BROKEN DISHES) survives Hollywood
5 August 2016 | by eschetic-2See all my reviews

Say the name Bumpsted to movie goers today and they'll almost certainly think of Blondie and Dagwood BUMSTEAD of comic strip (and 1930's and 40's movie) fame. That may, in part explain the character name change in the central family ("Gillingwater" in the film) at the heart of the charming comedy expanded (and contracted) from Marvin Flavin's Broadway comedy BROKEN DISHES (178p., 5Nov29-April1930 at the Ritz and Masque Theatres) best remembered today as the show Bette Davis opened the same night Noel Coward's BITTERSWEET opened elsewhere on Broadway dividing the critics' attention.

The story is otherwise well preserved of the henpecked father (a wonderful Hugh Herbert) and his loyal daughter (Patricia Ellis in the Bette Davis role) overcoming the ghost of a past favored suitor of MRS. Gillingwater and marrying the daughter to her beloved (a handsome Warren Hull - not favored by her mother) for a generally predictable but happy ending. For a "programmer" - hour long film cranked out to fill studio owned movie houses - the piece is surprisingly well filmed and never lags. There's even a brief but exciting car chase scene in the middle of the well observed family comedy! All the touches which no one thought about at the time but made for what movie audiences accepted as NORMAL home life of the period make LOVE BEGINS AT TWENTY a fascinating glimpse of life in America in 1936. The film title is difficult to explain except that it must have sounded appealingly commercial in 1936 (and BROKEN DISHES, which was more plot related, sounded too much like a drama!).

Anyone looking for a 21st Century comedy will find themselves somewhat at sea watching LOVE BEGINS AT TWENTY, but for expert performances by the kind of repertory players and writers (the pre-blacklist Dalton Trumbo script is close to flawless) which made the height of the studio system such a reliable source of middle brow universal entertainment before being destroyed by right wing politics and well meaning anti-trust actions after WWII. One of star Hugh Herbert's best performances alone makes LOVE BEGINS AT TWENTY well worth giving a watch.

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