April Love (1957)

Comedy, Drama, Musical
Pat Boone, Shirley Jones, Dolores Michaels, Arthur O'Connell
A young man visiting his relatives' farm in Kentucky falls in love with their neighbor.
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  • UNRATED Rated:
  • IMDB link IMDB:
  • 18 Feb 1958 Released:
  • N/A DVD Release:
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  • George Agnew Chamberlain (novel), Winston Miller Writer:
  • Henry Levin Director:
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All subtitles:

Like an outing in the park7/10
Having ran across this film on the Fox movie channel on a lazy Friday afternoon, I can think of no better way to spend a lazy Friday evening then putting in my two cents worth. Especially when you consider the lack of user comments on it. Doesn't every movie, good or bad deserve more than four comments? And this movie isn't bad at all.

The first thing to keep in mind when watching a film like April Love is to remember the era from which it came, in this case the late fifties. Films were pretty much a happy medium back then. The cinemas were devoid of tragedy while the screens were filled with wide screen Technicolor films in order to pry people away from the gray glare of the evil medium in a box called television. I don't know how many people were pried away from the boob tube to see this one, but it managed to capture my attention for 97 minutes.

Teen Idol Pat Boone plays Nick Conover, a young teen sent to live with his Aunt Henrietta (Jeanette Nolan) and Uncle Jed (Arthur O'Connell) out in the country after being put on probation for stealing a car. It seems that his Aunt and Uncle have lost their own son (Jed Jr.)so Uncle Jed seems has lost his zest for living. Aunt Henrietta is hoping that Nick being on the farm will somehow bring Jed out of his doldrums. Story lines like this being what they are, Jed and Nick don't really care for each other too much of course. Nick then proceeds to meet up with the neighbors, Fran (Dolores Michaels)and Liz (Shirley Jones)Templeton. Immediately Nick develops a crush on Fran, and of course I don't have to tell you that Liz develops a crush on Nick. Then there's the matter of Uncle Jed's horse, a trotter who has turned wild and won't let anyone handle him since the death of Jed Jr. You could probably fill in everything that happens from that point on your own, seeing as how there are no real surprises. Doesn't matter though, you'll enjoy yourself anyway.

Once you get over the image of squeaky clean Pat Boone, as a supposedly bad boy, you'll have no trouble with the rest of the film. Considering that, Boone does turn in a surprisingly good performance as Nick. Certainly the role doesn't require much depth, but still it's a nicely done job when you would least expect it. As Jed, Arthur O'Connell is the perfect choice for the role. In the early going, he is unreachable and cold, but as he slowly warms up to Nick, we see that he's really a pretty good guy. Jeannette Nolan is a lot of fun as Henrietta, who is constantly playing the part of mediator between Jed and Nick. Shirley Jones takes a break from Rodgers And Hammerstein and gets a few opportunities to grace us with her singing talents. As Liz, she's gorgeous to look at, great to listen to, and quite funny at times. Dolores Michaels as Fran, who is a bit more on the wild side, is equally entertaining.

The best thing about April Love, is that there is not a true mean conniving character of any sort on the screen. Not one true villain in the whole thing. Everybody is so darn likable you can't help but enjoy the film. I truthfully find it quite refreshing, sort of like putting your troubles behind you and enjoying a summer picnic with friends. Think of it as the old Andy Griffith show with musical numbers, a little more plot, and wide screen Technicolor. The songs are a mixed bag, with the title song April Love being the best of them. Another thing I really liked is that they didn't fall back on using blue screen backdrops during the horse racing sequences, and they quite a bit more entertaining and exciting because of it. As a matter of fact, you'll find the whole film beautifully photographed and it was nice to see they didn't skimp in that department. The chemistry between Jones and Boone is good. Best of all is how the dislike between Nick and Jed is portrayed as each try in some way to gain the others respect.

This movie will never be confused with great cinema. Yet, sometimes instead of going to Disneyland, one just needs a nice outing in the park, and that's what April Love is.

My Grade: B+
The very best of Pat Boone5/10

I have seen this film dozens of times ever since it was released when I was a kid. Of course I was, and still am a Pat Boone fan and I also like Shirley Jones. What you get is two very wholesome, attractive young people in a delightfully happy story which rekindles memories of an age of innocence and respect. Maybe that is why it is so refreshing in the 21st century The tunes especially the title track were recorded when Boone's voice was at its best. It is no major drama but the characters are likable and believable and its charm is in it's feel-good factor. I have met Pat Boone and he is a genuinely nice guy on and off the screen. This movie is one which will always rekindle fond memories.And for that, I will always be grateful.
I'm kind of partial to this one.5/10
This film is one of those clean cut, light hearted, just fun movies. The scenery is beautiful and the plot is simple. Of course watching Pat Boone play a bad boy (I use that term loosely since by today's standards, his behavior would be considered clean cut) is a bit hard to swallow. This movie was quite a bit before my time, but there are 2 reasons why I have a biased liking for this movie. One, it takes place in Kentucky where I happen to have been raised and still live. I think this movie is the best representation for what makes Kentucky such a great place. And 2 I am the grandson of the man that played Ed Hargraves, the horse trainer (Nelson Malone). He only has 2 or 3 lines, but our family looks forward to seeing this film every year and waiting for Nelson Malone to appear and speak his few lines.
April Love10/10
I just read the plot summary and it is the worst one I have ever read. It does not do justice to this incredible movie. For an example of a good summary, read the listing at "Turner Classic Movies". Anyway, this was one of my favorite movies as a young child. My sister and I couldn't wait until every April when we could see it on T.V. It is one of the best horse movies of it's time. It is one of those great classics that the whole family can watch. The romance is clean and endearing. The story line is interesting and the songs are great. They don't make movies like this anymore. Good acting and not over the top. Pat Boone and Shirley Jones are at their best, along with many other great character actors.
Yea for the Horse Trainer... my Dad...10/10
I would like to comment on the movie April Love. It's one of my all time favorites because my father, Nelson Malone plays the horse trainer. I remember distinctly when Hollywood came to Lexington, KY, where we were living at the time to make April Love. My Dad had been in numerous plays and was a talented man. I talked him into going to try out for one of the bit parts offered, and lo and behold he came home w/the script. How exciting is that! Also, a number of my classmates were in the crowd scenes -- especially the ones shown at the amusement park. It's very nostalgic every April when I see the movie being shown once again, and the song April Love by Pat Boone is still played on the radio. Timeless and reminiscent of a time long gone when you see the movies they make today w/all the sex, foul language and violence. It would be refreshing to see more movies like April Love come back into focus...