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With his high school graduation behind him, Andy Hardy decides that as an adult, it's time to start living his life. Judge Hardy had hoped that his son would go to college and study law, but Andy isn't sure that's what he wants to do so he heads off to New York City to find a job. Too proud to accept any help from Betsy Booth, Andy finds that living on his own isn't so easy. With perseverance he eventually finds a job and even gets to date the pretty receptionist in his office. He also has to face several of life's lessons leading him to conclude that he may still have a bit of growing up to do. Written by
Four songs prerecorded by Judy Garland were not used in the film: Cole Porter's "Easy to Love" (available on the Rhino CD, "Judy Garland: Collectors' Gems from the M-G-M Films"); the patriotic "America (My Country Tis of Thee)" (written by Henry Carey and Samuel Francis Smith); plus two religious songs: "Abide with Me" and "The Rosary." Miss Garland's one musical moment in the release print was her unaccompanied rendition of "Happy Birthday to You" (music and lyrics by Mildred J. Hill and Patty S. Hill). The movie's original poster raves, "Mickey woos! Judy sings! Best Hardy yet!" See more »
If one accepts the proposition that life really does begin a high school graduation than Life Begins For Andy Hardy in this film. This marked the third and last appearance of Judy Garland in the Andy Hardy series as Betsy Booth.
Mickey Rooney has just graduated high school and he's been offered a scholarship at Lewis Stone's old alma mater. But as he always is in these films, the Mick's at loose ends and he wants to go to New York to experience life. He and Polly Benedict have once again broken things off so Judy Garland does have a shot with him.
But Mickey's wanting to be independent and not sponge off Judy Garland's hospitality. He gets a room at a male single's hotel and actually meets the guy he inherits the room from, Ray McDonald a talented dancer. Mickey goes looking for a job and eventually does get hired as an office boy in a brokerage firm. That's through the intervention of Patricia Dane who figures he might be good for a fling.
With Polly Benedict in Carvel which you know will get going in the next film of the series, Betsy Booth in New York, and Patricia Dane leaving him with his tongue hanging out, Mickey Rooney is once again in romantic complications. Of course these are all typical for an Andy Hardy film.
What's not typical is someone dying in the film. Ray McDonald who was supposed to commit suicide because of his despondency at not finding work of his choosing had his death changed to heart failure. That was a bit freaky because Ray McDonald, a most talented dancer with his sister Grace died of just that at the age of 37 in the Fifties. Mickey dealing with that was definitely a growing up experience.
One thing I really did like was as McDonald and Rooney are discussing their lack of job prospects, Mickey starts thinking back to some of his high school friends who were working and he comes to the conclusion that these kids knew what they wanted at an early age and were career oriented which he wasn't. I know I wasn't when I was in school and that's something that is desirable, but it doesn't occur in a lot of us. Hopefully the kids in 1941 watching this film took note and it ain't a bad lesson for today.
Judy Garland had a bunch of songs written for the film and they all ended up on the cutting room floor. That's my big complaint with Life Begins For Andy Hardy. I'll bet the movie-going public was disappointed in 1941 when Judy did not offer a note.
In the Citadel Film Series Book, The Films Of Judy Garland L.B. Mayer said this was the best of the Andy Hardy series. It might have been better if Judy's songs had been left in, but it's a bit more serious than most of the Hardy series and holds up well.
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