Love Finds Andy Hardy (1938)
For the fourth on screen adventure of Andy Hardy and his family, Mickey Rooney in the title role finds himself in hot water with a trio of “dizzy dames.”
The innocent world of Andy Hardy/Rooney takes place in the town of Carvel where his father rules the courts as Judge Hardy. Better known as Lewis Stone the actor. His authority figure lends itself well to the lessons in life that Rooney and those around him will need. This time it’s lessons in finances and love that will get Rooney into all kinds of crazy escapades.
When Ann Rutherford as Rooney’s girl Polly leaves town for the Christmas season, Rooney finds himself the benefactor of looking after another’s girl for a price. The money will come in handy as he’s made a deal on a car before his father had any knowledge of the binding contract. The girl he has to entertain is none other than apprenticing Lana Turner.
Might I add, nice work if you can get.
Rutherford’s out of town, Lana demands his attentions none stop and a young girl has just moved in next door who harbors a secret love for Rooney the moment she sees him. Miss Judy Garland. This was Judy’s first appearance in the series as Betsy Booth. The young singing star from the big city. The script manages to get three songs in for Judy’s sensational voice including a tearful “I’m Just an In Between.”
There’s always plenty of drama going on in the Hardy household. Between Mickey’s girl issues and Cecilia Parker as his older sister Marian having issues of her own with a beau she wants nothing to do with, Judge Stone continually tries to keep the peace amongst his brood. Not to mention other issues about the town’s population. Fay Holden returns to play the Judge’s wife and they squeeze into the plot a story line involving her ailing relative which keeps Fay away from the family home as Christmas nears.
I had to look twice at the household cook. The name Marie Blake didn’t ring a bell but the voice sure did. No wonder! It’s a very young Grandmama Addams from the sixties cult TV show.
Just as Mickey thinks he’s got his girl issues worked out, Ann Rutherford returns to Carvel unexpected and what’s Mickey to do with Lana on his arm? Thankfully the young and wise beyond her years Judy is there to save the day. If only Mickey would open his eyes and see that she’s the real treasure standing in front of him.
Don’t be surprised if everything comes to a happy ending and works out in Mickey’s favor once the final reel plays itself out. After all, the Andy Hardy films were Louis B. Mayer’s example of what the ideal life should be for rural folks across America.
This pairing of Judy and Mickey may have been the first in the Andy Hardy series but they had already teamed in Thoroughbreds Don’t Cry the previous year. Musical extravaganzas were still to come in the next few years with hits like Babes On Broadway and Girl Crazy.
This Hardy outing was directed by George B. Seitz. George had directed the first three films in the series and would rack up a total of 13 by the series end.
Andy Hardy scripts are sometimes silly fun that seem to have been used as a template for countless formula pictures that The King of Rock’n Roll turned up in like Girl Happy where the legendary singer just had too many girls on the go at one time.
The Hardy flicks have that nostalgic feel to them from days gone by and this romantic entry in the series can make for a diverting Valentine’s Day viewing.