The Series Film in the Hollywood of the 1930s through 1950s was the equivalent to a long running T.V. show. The same cast and characters came back on a regular basis to entertain the viewing audience. Or in case of Radio the listening one (1). All the studios at that time had some sort of series. PARAMOUNT the long running HOPALONG CASSIDY starring William Boyd. UNIVERSAL in the 40s featured Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce as SHERLOCK HOLMES and DOCTOR WATSON. WARNER BROTHERS (WB) would display Warren William (primarily) as PERRY MASON or a variety of actors as PHILO VANCE as well as TORCHY BLANE with Glenda Farrell. COLUMBIA, ELLERY QUEEN and 20th CENTURY FOX, CHARLIE CHAN. All minor studios would feature WESTERN series and lets not forget the seemingly endless adventures of what became THE BOWERY BOYS! There were many more, but it was at METRO GOLDWYN MAYER (M.G.M.) that three (3) of the most popular series were created. After the death of its creative genius IRVING THALBERG (09/14/1936) LOUIS B. MAYER, head of the studio quickly acted to maintain the production schedule and to continue the high profitability that the NEW YORK office expected. Series production was part of his solution. DOCTOR KILDARE featuring Lew Aryes and Lionel Barrymore which segued to the DOCTOR GILLESPIE series. MAISIE with the attractive and quick tongued Ann Southern and best remembered ANDREW 'Andy' HARDY. The longest of the M.G.M. series with sixteen (16) films.
The ANDY HARDY series started modestly enough with a pilot (just like they do today) called A FAMILY AFFAIR (1937) with Lionel Barrymore heading the cast as JUDGE JAMES K. HARDY, Spring Byington as MRS EMILY HARDY and Mickey Rooney, ANDY. With the success of this one the series really got going with YOU'RE ONLY YOUNG ONCE (1937). Barrymores physical condition was not up to this series and Byington was to much in demand, so adjustments had to be made. Cast changes were Lewis Stone as JUDGE HARDY, Fay Holden; MRS. HARDY, coming back Mickey Rooney; ANDY as well as Cecilia Parker; MARIAN, Sara Haden; AUNT MILLIE FORREST with Ann Rutherford; POLLY BENEDICT. The series would also feature many character actors under contract to M.G.M. as well as up and comers. Some who would go on to greater things such as Donna Reed and Lana Turner and others would enter oblivion like Helen Gilbert.
The sixteen (16) films can be divided into two (2) parts, the first eight (8) and the second eight (8) ending with ANDY HARDY COMES HOME (1958) reuniting the cast except the late Lewis Stone (09/12/1953). The first eight (8) are of better quality and more balanced with each of the cast getting its fair share of screen time and having their problems addressed. Starting with ANDY HARDY MEETS DEBUTANTE (1940) the focus became ANDY & JUDGE HARDY with the rest there just to fill in. Sort of what happened to LOST IN SPACE (T.V.1965-1968) when after the first season it became the DR. SMITH, ROBOT & WILL show.
The rating we gave, IMDb value of six (6)****** is a good overview of the entire series. It being better then average but not classics in any sense of the word but well worth watching. Our advice is to watch series films like this one (1) at time and no more then three (3) in sequence. When you make a marathon of these series their shortcoming become all to obvious and irritating. A note to those message board whiners, remakes and sequels are a long time reality of this industry so stop whining about it and move on.
9 of 11 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?