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 ...
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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 inheritance, he and his family must leave for Detroit. The disinherited heir Philip 'Phil' Westcott, adopted son of the deceased relative, has to leave the fabulous mansion Detroit. But the playboy Phil ain't going down without a fight. He decides on a charm offensive. First with Polly Benedict and foremost Andrew 'Andy' Hardy, the son of Judge Hardy. Various complications follow.Written by
THE HARDY'S RIDE HIGH (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1939), directed by George B. Seitz, marks the sixth entry to the now popular "Hardy Family" movie series, and the first of its three 1939 installments. A standard production in every sense involving the family's moral lesson as to whether or not they could be happy after inheriting a large fortune or being just plain folks from a the small town of Carvel.
Following a courtroom opening where Judge James K. Hardy (Lewis Stone) solves a troubled marriage involving Caleb Bowen (Donald Briggs) coping with his wife, Susan's (Marsha Hunt) spending extravagance, Hardy is soon visited by a lawyer, Jonas Bronell (George Irving), with surprising news that Hardy has inherited $2 million because of he being the great-great grandson of James Standish Leeds, a well-known figure of the War of 1812. The middle-class family, involving the judge's wife, Emily (Fay Holden), daughter, Marion (Cecilia Parker), their 16-year-old football playing son, Andrew (Mickey Rooney), and their matronly Aunt Milly Forrest (Sara Haden), accompany the judge on an airplane bound for Detroit, Michigan, where the judge is to prove himself liable of the inheritance. Taking up residence in the Leeds mansion where they are waited on by family butler, Dobbs (Halliwell Hobbes), and living the life of how rich people live. Their new way of living takes its toll, especially on the children. Aunt Milly, the spinster schoolteacher, wanting to enjoy life before old age sets in for her, begins courting Terry B. Archer (Minor Watson), a middle-aged gentleman she earlier met on the airplane, with the hope their courtship will lead to marriage. Philip Westcott (John King), the adopted son of the Leeds family, shows the family the town, in spite the fact that he may that through Judge Hardy, he may lose the fortune entitled him. Philip even takes Andy to the Paradise Club where the girl-happy teenager gets introduced to Consuela McNish (Virginia Grey), an older chorus girl, and arranges for the young man to spend the evening together in her apartment. As for Marion, she goes on a spending spree buying an expensive dress for herself and charging it to her father's account. After returning home to Carvel, problems arise when the judge discovers evidence that he may or may not rightfully be entitled to the family fortune. Aside from Ann Rutherford returning in a few scenes playing Polly Benedict, Andy's girlfriend, others in the cast include: John T. Murray (Don Davis, the Druggist); Aileen Pringle (Miss Booth, the Saleswoman); Erville Alderson (Bill, Hardy's Bailiff); and William T. Orr (Dick Bannersly, Polly's gentleman caller she met while on vacation to use to get Andy jealous), among others.
While the "Hardy Family" series would be a great introduction for young MGM starlets, THE HARDY'S RIDE HIGH promises no film debuts nor introductions of any kind. It basically consists of Marsha Hunt and Virginia Grey, who have been in the movie business for quite some time, assuming smaller roles for this entry. With the story focusing on how money can change a simple-minded family to living the lifestyle of the rich and famous, it finds Aunt Milly becoming glamorous with her agreeable dressing and modern hairstyle to impress her new gentleman caller; Marion and her mother having their breakfast in bed served by their butler; while Andy dresses up in tuxedo and top hat pretending to be a "big shot" in an expensive night club, only to come to reality through his father's reasoning, notably for not smoking or booze drinking. At one point, Andy buys a cigarette case, mistaking its cost of $175 to $1.75. Even briefly the sensible judge nearly lets the money get the best of him before contemplating its consequence if he goes through with his intentions,and so much more. As much as the story and acting are delivered in manner, especially by Sara Haden in a change of pace by becoming glamorous and having more to do plot-wise than usual, what "Andy Hardy" movie would be complete without any "man to man" talks between father and son?
Though never distributed on video cassette, THE HARDY'S RIDE HIGH has been placed on DVD disc and often plays in cable television's Turner Classic Movies. Next in the series, ANDY HARDY GETS SPRING FEVER (1939), and more teenage situations as well, (***)
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