3 November 2019 | HotToastyRag
The first Andy Hardy, and he's hardly in it!
A Family Affair is the first of the Andy Hardy movies, but ironically, the movie doesn't center around the love-crazed teen. In fact, Mickey Rooney actually claims to dislike girls! He complains about having to take a girl to a dance, but by the end of the movie, he's realized the joys of his hormones, setting the stage for the next dozen movies. The star of the movie is the patriarch, Lionel Barrymore, who-again, ironically-didn't continue on in any of the other Andy Hardy movies, but was replaced by Lewis Stone. He plays the upstanding judge who has to sort through his family's various problems, including his two daughters' love lives. His wife, Spring Byington, was also replaced by Fay Holden in the subsequent movies. Sara Haden, the spinster aunt, was the only one besides Mickey Rooney who remained.
When Cecilia Parker goes on a tearful tirade accusing her father of ruining her and the rest of the family's lives, Lionel says in his own inimitable way, "Well what about my side of it, darling?" Only Lionel Barrymore can be crotchety, wise, loving, understanding, and logical, all without being stern or unreasonable. However perfect his delivery is, it isn't enough to convince Cecilia, and she leaves the room in tears calling him a "bling old fogie." If you're shying away from this movie because you don't feel like watching goofy Mickey Rooney, he's hardly in the movie. This is Lionel's show, and as usual, he's wonderful. It's hard to believe he'd play such a famous villain as Mr. Potter after you've seen him as the perfect dad, Judge Hardy.