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Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland are cloned in an experimental backyard musical. The starting point is a number of scenes from the days when both the adolescents romped through the family series and Busby Berkeley musicals. These are put in a new order and before our eyes run forwards and backwards in a gentle adagio. Andy Hardy, the all-American sunny boy of the 1930s and 1940s, returns as an Oedipally destroyed teen clone to be released from his suffering by Betsy's singing and kisses. Written by
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A subversive, funny manipulation of frames from Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland's Andy Hardy films.
Experimental filmmaker Martin Arnold uses an optical printer to playfully manipulate micro-moments from an Andy Hardy film.
Arnold slows down, reverses, loops and reorders images (and sound fragments) from the MGM film to reanimate subversive subtexts in the gestures of this corny romance: Andy (Mickey Rooney) engaging in suggestive play with his mother, who seems to be receptive; Judy Garland coming between them; Mother jealously intervening; Father smacking Andy around.
It's beautifully subversive and benignly cruel. Arnold's exquisite craftsmanship and penetrating insight makes it hard to ever see these scenes the same way again. Or perhaps he allows us to truly see, as with a psychoanalytical/cinematic X-ray machine, the Oedipal tensions that always lurked beneath the surface of the happy Hardy home. (See Arnold's 1993 PASSAGE à l'ACTE for a similar treatment of a scene from "To Kill a
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