Love Finds Andy Hardy (1938) – full review!
Directed by George B. Seitz with a screenplay by William Ludwig (Interrupted Melody (1955)) this slightly above average family comedy-drama sprinkled with innocent teenage romance marks the fourth in the (Andy Hardy) series based on Aurania Rouverol’s play (Skidding) which began with A Family Affair (1937). It’s good enough to have been added to the National Film Registry in 2000. Mickey Rooney plays the titled character a rambunctious 17 year old and Lewis Stone plays his wise caring father (and) Judge Hardy. Cecilia Parker plays Andy’s frequently separated from her husband married older sister. Fay Holden who plays Andy’s mother in the series is absent for most of this film’s story as is Aunt Millie played by Betty Ross Clarke who took Sara Haden’s place in a couple of these films. ‘Mother’ has gone to see & stay with her mother who’d just had a stroke and Millie goes too. Ann Rutherford plays Andy’s girlfriend Polly Benedict as usual but the story in this one features some conflicts in their relationship:
- Andy’s friend ‘Beezy’ (George Breakston) asks him to ‘keep’ (by dating) his girlfriend Cynthia Potter (Lana Turner in her fifth film) away from the other boys while he’s out of town during Christmas break. Since Polly is also to be away for the Christmas holiday and Beezy is willing to pay Andy the eight dollars he needs to buy a car (he’d already paid $12) Andy agrees … though kissing is the only thing she (Lana Turner!) wants to do and inexplicably this becomes tiresome for him.
- Simultaneously Betsy Booth (16 year old Judy Garland in only her second pairing with Rooney playing a 13 year old) comes to visit her family that lives next door to the Hardys for Christmas. Naturally she (sings &) soon meets Andy and develops a crush on him. At first this further complicates Andy’s love life; but later she helps him out of a couple of inevitable jams:
Beezy meets another girl while away (in Chicago?) and tells Andy that he can have Cynthia AND Polly returns home early in time to attend a Christmas Eve dance to which unbeknownst to her Andy had already promised to take Cynthia. Throughout the film Judge Hardy listens to the problems of his children and gives sage advice and/or comfort. For his part Rooney is particularly animated as Andy swinging between the exuberant highs of teenage dating and the doldrums of adolescence.