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

Thursday, April 16, 2015


Mickey Rooney and Helen Gilbert
ANDY HARDY GETS SPRING FEVER (1939). Director: W. S. Van Dyke.

"I think my ending is better than Shakespeare's -- it's more spiritual." -- Andy Hardy

"You mean when the native girl throws herself into a volcano?" -- Miss Meredith

Andy Hardy (Mickey Rooney) is annoyed by Polly Benedict's attentions to a young Naval officer, but his spirits are revived when he meets the new dramatics teacher, Rose Meredith (Helen Gilbert). Andy writes a play, "Adrift in Tahiti," that is inspired by "Romeo and Juliet," with Andy and Polly (Ann Rutherford) cast as the star-crossed lovers. But will all go well on the play's opening night, and will "Tahula" -- Polly's heroine -- warm up her frigid attitude toward Andy? More importantly, will he get pretty teacher Miss Meredith to actually marry him? In a sub-plot Judge Hardy (Lewis Stone) discovers that he may have been swindled out of his life savings along with some of his friends, a development already used in the previous year's Jones Family film, Safety in Numbers. This is another charming and amusing Andy Hardy film [these were still called "Hardy Family" movies, but we all knew who the star was] with Andy discovering the pangs of unrequited infatuation. George Breakston ("Beezy") from Love Finds Andy Hardy makes another appearance. Sister Marion Hardy seems less flighty in this outing, Aunt Millie hardly appears, and Fay Holden has a little more to do as Mrs. Hardy and does it as well as ever. Helen Gilbert comes close to giving a very lovely performance but somehow there's something lacking in her.

Verdict: Randy Andy gets romantic. ***.

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