Andy is going to Wainwright College as did his father. He sees a pretty blonde on the train and he is alternately winked at or slapped every time he sees her. Andy is clueless. On the train... See full summary »
Andy's girlfriend Polly is planning to spend Christmas at her grandmother's, which puts a kink in his plans to take her to the country club Christmas party. He agrees (for a fee) to pretend... See full summary »
Sixth of the Judge Hardy series. Judge James K. Hardy is brought the fabulous news from attorney George Irving, that he could be the heir to 2 million dollars. In order to claim the ... See full summary »
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, ... See full summary »
Andy Hardy is about to graduate from high school and thinks he's pretty big stuff, so he hires a secretary, Kathryn Land. Kathryn and Polly Benedict, Andy's girlfriend, help him pass his ... See full summary »
Now older but not much wiser, Andy Hardy has returned home as a lawyer representing an aircraft company. The company hopes to build a factory in Carvel and Andy is there to convince the townsfolk that it's good for them. Progress, you know. Given that I grew up in one of the many small towns in America that were destroyed by just this type of situation in the decades after this movie's release, it's hard to watch this without some bitterness. It's all the more hard to swallow given that this is MGM's idealized representative of small town America, Andy Hardy, giving Carvel the shaft. Oh, but hey, he's moving back home with his family and becoming....well, you better watch the ridiculous ending for that.
The final Andy Hardy movie was released years after the series had ostensibly ended. This was an attempt to revive it for a new generation. I can understand why MGM would try, given that the Hardy series was hugely influential on early television. I mean, think of all of the popular nuclear family sitcoms that proliferated TV in the 1950s and you'll realize how much they all owe to the wonderful Hardy family movies of the '30s and '40s. But, try as they did, this was unsuccessful and there were no more Hardy movies. For us watching all these decades later we can view this as nothing more than a curiosity -- an unnecessary coda to a grand old piece of cinematic Americana.
Most of the cast from the original series is present. The notable exceptions being Lewis Stone, who died in 1953, and Ann Rutherford, who was retired at the time and wouldn't come back for this. Lana Turner, Esther Williams, and Judy Garland are present in flashback clips to remind us that paunchy middle-aged toupee-wearing Andy was once something of a Romeo. One laughable scene has a pretty young blonde's jerk boyfriend being jealous of her spending time with Andy. My favorite scene in the whole movie is when Andy walks into his old room to be met with a wall covered in pictures of his previous "conquests." They used a clip of Garland and Rooney from the movie Babes in Arms, not from one of the Hardy movies. Presumably this is because they were trying to pass off a romantic relationship between their two characters even though none was present in their Hardy films together. It's funny to watch this as there is an obvious dub of the name 'Betsy' into the old clip. Fay Holden, Cecilia Parker, and Sara Haden return as Andy's mother, sister, and aunt. All are fine but it's Holden who really nails her character. She's the only one, including Mickey, who still feels like their former self. I suppose with Mickey it was often hard to draw the line between when he was playing a character like Andy Hardy and when he was just being Mickey but I feel like, in the older films, there at least was a line. Here it's just Mickey being Mickey. Some won't notice the difference but others will.
The new cast is forgettably bland. It was the '50s, after all. It may be a decade remembered for James Dean and Marilyn Monroe, but trust me those were exceptions not the rule. Cardboard was the formula of the day and the new cast members represent that. Patricia Breslin plays Andy's wife Jane, a poor substitute for my eternal crush Polly Benedict. Joey Forman plays Andy's old friend Beezy, replacing George P. Breakston, who had moved onto producing & directing by this time and I suppose was not interested in returning. Forman was in a short-lived TV series of Mickey's so I guess that explains his casting. Mickey's son Teddy plays Andy, Jr. and Tarzan's son Johnny Weissmuller, Jr. plays his nephew. Both are unimpressive although I think Weissmuller, Jr. might have missed his calling as the next Frankenstein's monster. Irritating Jerry Colonna is also in this. The film tries to pass him off as an existing character from the previous movies but he's nothing of the sort. I've never been a fan of his but some are, so proceed as you will.
The whole thing feels like a drawn out TV episode more than one of the wonderful old MGM movies. That's especially true with regard to the production values. Listen to those awful Foley effects. I suppose in some ways it's like a reunion movie for a family sitcom you watched when you were growing up, like The Brady Bunch or Growing Pains. Some of the people may be the same but it just doesn't feel the same. You can never really go home again, they say. I guess that's one lesson Andy Hardy had to learn without his father's help.
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