25 November 2007 | JoeKarlosi
Love Finds Andy Hardy (1938) ***
I'd never seen one of these "Judge Hardy's Family" movies before this, but on Thanksgiving Day I checked out the TCM schedule to see what was going to be playing for the holiday and I was intrigued by the long list of movies within this series. So, while I was out for the day visiting the family I let my VCR record about three or four of these things. I just randomly began with this one, which I enjoyed and have since read is considered one of the better installments.
Here we have Mickey Rooney (I can't believe he was actually 18 when he made this) getting involved with two other girls once his main squeeze Polly (Ann Rutherford) has to go away to visit her grandma for Christmas. Andy's been looking to raise twenty dollars (!) to buy a car he's had his eye on, so while Polly's gone, Andy accepts his friend Beezy's offer to get paid to date his girlfriend Cynthia (Lana Turner) while Beezy's also out of town for Christmas. From there, "troubles" erupt when Cynthia gets way too stuck on Andy, and then his singing neighbor Betsy (Judy Garland) also starts to fall in love with him. Wish I had problems like that when I was 15!
While watching this film, you can't help become aware of how drastically times have changed in 70 years. This is a wholesome family affair. It was a joy watching Lewis Stone as Andy's old dad, Judge James Hardy, trying to bridge the generation gap (such as it was in the '30s) between father and son, and having his heart to heart talks with his boy. Mickey Rooney's characterization of the highly animated Andy Hardy was infectious, and I thought all three of his well-known leading ladies were cute. Judy sings a few tunes, of course, and I didn't mind them a bit. It seemed to me, though, that she was relegated more to the background for this story, unfortunately. I am looking forward to catching further entries from this series in the future. *** out of ****