Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

JUDGE HARDY AND SON

Mickey Rooney and Lewis Stone
JUDGE HARDY AND SON (1939). Director: George B. Seitz.

When Judge Hardy (Lewis Stone) discovers that an elderly couple may lose their home, he enlists son Andy (Mickey Rooney) in a search for their daughter, who might be able to help. Andy enjoys looking for the lady as it brings him into contact with several nubile schoolgirls: eternally giggling Euphrasia (June Preisser): the oh-so-Southern Clarabelle Lee (Margaret Early); and the attractive, unhappy  Elvie (Martha O'Driscoll of Li'l Abner), who pretends to be 14-years-old but is actually much older. In a sub-plot Mrs. Hardy (Fay Holden) develops pneumonia and is placed in an oxygen tank by interne Jack Mulhall. One of the film's highlights is Andy's well-written and well-acted talk with his sister, Marian (Cecelia Parker). Judge Hardy and Son is a very entertaining comedy-drama that boasts an interesting story with some novel twists, fine acting and an outstanding performance from Rooney. The religiosity of the piece never quite gets out of hand. Marie Blake/Blossom Rock plays housekeeper Augusta, and Maria Ouspenskaya is one half of the elderly couple. Ann Rutherford is on hand as Andy's ever- jealous girlfriend, outraged as usual when she sees other girls' lipstick on his pan.

Verdict: One of the better Hardy Family entries from MGM. ***.

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