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Poor Andy, all he wants to do is get to town and continue to woo his girl and ask her hand in marriage. Andrew "Andy" Hardy met his sweetheart Kay Wilson in college, but has since served in the military and is now being discharged. Getting back to Kay may be the hardest thing of them all to accomplish. He arrives in town alright, but things start to go awry from there. Question is, will he succeed? Written by
The penultimate Andy Hardy movie is really, for me, the end of the series. When it returned years later in an attempt to revive things, it just wasn't the same. There's no Hardy family without Judge Hardy, in my opinion. Anyway this one was released two years after the previous one. We learn in between films Andy (Mickey Rooney) served in the war. He's home now and anxious to reunite with Kay (Bonita Granville), his girlfriend from the last movie. Andy's planning to marry Kay and settle down. His parents aren't too crazy about this idea. They want Andy to finish college before thinking about marriage. Turns out it doesn't matter as Kay has other plans for her future.
What would an Andy Hardy movie be without pretty girls? Here we have the lovely Bonita Granville, Dorothy Ford, and Lina Romay. This Lina is not to be confused with the later actress and wife of Jesús Franco. This one was mostly known for her singing, as well as her appearance in a popular Droopy cartoon. Granville is a charming actress but her character is rather dull and the whole 'romance with my legal guardian' thing is just gross. Dorothy Ford, who was over six feet tall, is beautiful and easily the highlight of the picture. The usual Hardy cast is solid, with Mickey doing a decent job portraying a maturing Andy but not TOO mature. After all, Andy Hardy would be boring if his head was on too straight.
This is the last Hardy film to feature Lewis Stone's Judge Hardy. Stone continued acting after this but he died before the next Hardy movie, Andy Hardy Comes Home, which was a failed attempt to reboot the series. When the series started out, Judge Hardy was the main character. But as Mickey Rooney's Andy grew in popularity, he took the spotlight and the Judge was reduced to a supporting part (albeit still an important one). As I've said in other Hardy movie reviews, Judge Hardy was the backbone of the series. His loving relationship with wife Emily (played by the endearing Fay Holden) and his fatherly advice to his children, particularly Andy, was at the heart of everything that happened with the Hardys. Often the series drew its A or B plot from one of the cases brought before Judge Hardy in court. Yes, Judge Hardy is also the lightning rod for most of the criticisms that are leveled at these movies. It's through him that many of the series' old-fashioned values and ideas are put forth. If you are someone who mocks the series, chances are the Judge is your least favorite character. Personally, I like him a lot, even if I don't always agree with him. Without the Judge, as played so well by Lewis Stone, the series would have been just a bunch of juvenile comedies with Mickey mugging for the camera and it might not have lasted as long as it did.
For die-hard fans of the series, there is a little to like here but not a lot . I imagine most fans would consider this one of the lesser entries. There are still some good scenes, such as Andy locking himself out of the house while in his aunt's bath robe or all of the scenes with Andy and the much-taller Coffy Smith. But, for the most part, the mood and feel of the movie is just off compared to previous ones. It's slow and lacks the energy that the earlier Hardy movies had. It's certainly not one I would recommend to anybody trying out an Andy Hardy film for the first time. But, for fans, you'll have to see it at least once. If for no other reason than one final man-to-man talk between Andy and his father.
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