An adorable pre-Oz Judy Garland saves the day for Andy Hardy
Daniel Jolley | Shelby, North Carolina USA | 11/02/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Andy Hardy series of the 1930s and 1940s will forever stand as the epitome of wholesome, thoroughly enjoyable family entertainment, and these wonderful films did much to make Mickey Rooney a superstar and guaranteed money-making actor. Love Finds Andy Hardy, the fourth of sixteen films about Judge Hardy's family, is regarded by many fans to be the best of the bunch (although I prefer Andy Hardy Meets Debutante), due in no small part to the introduction of Betsy Booth, who comes from New York to Carvel to spend Christmas with her grandparents. Judy Garland, a year before achieving superstardom in The Wizard of Oz, is simply adorable as Betsy, a cute and oh-so-talented young lady whom Andy dotes on as a child; even though her huge crush on Andy never quite meets with reciprocating feelings on his part, she selflessly saves the day time and again for the antic-prone Andy. You have to be really smart to get into the kind of trouble Andy gets in, she says, and boy oh boy is this the truth.You can't help but love Andy-Mickey Rooney is unashamedly goofy, unbelievably energetic yet quick to wallow in the messes of his own making; he literally was the all-American boy of the post-Depression era. In this film, Andy wants a car, and he wants it before December 24 so that he can drive his sweetie Polly (Ann Rutherford) to the big dance. Without telling his father (played by Lewis Stone), he gives the local car dealer twelve of the twenty dollars he needs for his chosen car, promising to pay the remaining eight dollars by the 24th. Herein lies the start of his problems. Andy is crushed when he learns Polly will be out of town for three weeks, yet opportunity seems to knock politely on his door when his friend Beezy promises to pay him eight dollars plus expenses to date up his own girl while he is away. Thus does Andy begin a courtship of Cynthia Potter (Lana Turner). Betsy Booth arrives next door with a preexisting crush on Andy, one which should be easily obvious even to the reckless-minded fellow, yet he never fails to describe her as a child. Frankly, Andy is something of a fool; there has never been a cuter young lady on this earth than Judy Garland during her teen years; if Betsy Booth would have grinned and done that little nose wrinkle thing for me, I would have fallen at her feet. Anyway, and predictably, Andy's plans all go astray. At one point, he is looking at the prospect of two dates to the dance and no car at all. With a friend like Betsy Booth, however, he need not have worried about his precious social reputation being ruined.Judy Garland absolutely steals the show here. As I have said, she is not only cute as a button but beautiful in every way. Betsy just wants to be seen as a young lady rather than a child, and her feelings on this issue are expressed perfectly in the song In Between (crafted by her musical mentor Roger Edens). She does get to be grown up and glamorous for one night, though, marking the occasion with unforgettable performances of the songs It Never Rains But What It Pours and Meet the Beat of My Heart (half of it, anyway, as the other half plus an additional number, Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen, were cut from the final print).Judy Garland would return in two later Andy Hardy films, but more importantly, Love Finds Andy Hardy served as the true beginning of the Garland-Rooney phenomenon that wowed audiences over the course of the next few years. The two first appeared in the 1937 film Thoroughbreds Don't Cry, and the obvious chemistry between the two set the stage for her entry into the Andy Hardy films. Garland was never more loveable than she was in the role of Betsy Booth, and films such as Love Finds Andy Hardy have a very special place in the heart of this Judy Garland fanatic."
A GREAT LOOKING TRANSFER - WHERE'S THE REST OF THE SERIES?
Nix Pix | Windsor, Ontario, Canada | 04/06/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Love Finds Andy Hardy" is the third film in the Andy Hardy series about a Judge (Lewis Stone) and his irrepressibly manic son, Andy (Mickey Rooney). In this film young Andy gets a run for his money when the girl next door, Betsy Booth (Judy Garland) pulls cupid's arrow with sincerity and comes out the winner. This was the first film in which Garland's character appeared and perhaps, it's the best in the whole series. The hokum and corn is deep and laughable but hey, that's part of the film's charm and truly, you have to be a die hard cynic not to fall for Andy's overwhelmingly patriot schmaltz. A winner through and through.
TRANSFER: Warner gives us an impressive looking transfer with a solid B&W picture. The gray scale is nicely balanced. Age related artifacts are kept to a bare minimum. There is some minor shimmering of fine details that is distracting at times. Blacks are solid. Contrast levels are well represented. The audio is mono but nicely cleaned up for this DVD.
EXTRAS: An intro from Garland biographer, Jonathan Fricke.
BOTTOM LINE: This is a must have for collectors. One only wishes that Warner had had the foresight to release the entire Andy Hardy series as a box set. Ditto for "The Thin Man"!"
You Were Right Mr. Mayer !
James J. Varela | Sarasota, FL United States | 11/29/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Like the Little Rascals/Our Gang comedies the Andy Hardy series of films are ageless. Louis B.Mayer often liked sentimental films that idolized America and the Andy Hardy Series is an example of this. "LB" took a special interest in this series and his hand is all over it. Mayer was often criticized for ordering MGM to make these kinds of movies and musicals but history has shown he was right. After he lost control of MGM in 1951 the studio went on to produce message pictures and other kinds of films. The public hated them. The Worst was 1959's Raintree County which was a cheap rip-off of Gone With The Wind. Mickey Rooney was the star of the series but Silent Era superstar Lewis Stone comes in 2nd as Judge Hardy. Ironic that these kinds of films were viewed as hokey by the emerging young producers and directors of the late 40's and early 50's, that took over and ultimately ruined then destroyed MGM, are the kinds the studios have been scrambling to bring back since the early 1980's. Mr. Mayer was 50 years ahead of his time !."
A Film You Can't Help But Love
Timothy Kearney | Hull, MA United States | 05/10/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"MGM recently released five films in DVD format as a tribute to Judy Garland and one of the titles is LOVE FINDS ANDY HARDY. Though the movie was released in honor of Garland, it really is Mickey Rooney's film. He plays the loveable teenaged Andy Hardy. Young Sandy has a heart of gold but often seems to get things mixed up a bit which lead to his easily solved difficulties. His problem in this movie is one that follows him in other films: girls. He is supposed to take one girl to a dance, but she cannot go, so he agrees to take another, but then meets a third. Of course one of the girls becomes available again, and the whole situation becomes a mess. Yet in true Hollywood from, all ends happily ever after.The film has quite a few strengths. First, it does take us back to another place and time when life's problems could easily be solved by the wisdom of Dad and a dose of common sense. Families were dedicated to one anther and communities were close-knit and wholesome. While it is not all that original a film, somehow it is not cliché. We believe that the story could happen. We like Andy Hardy who seems like everybody's nephew, son, kid brother, or next door neighbor. We know that when Judy Garland's character Betsy Booth matures a little, the two will be inseparable sweethearts. The film is a treat which allows us to see both Judy Garland and Lana Turner in early roles. Garland has a certain sweetness as Betsy Booth, Andy's next door neighbor's granddaughter. She is believable as a young innocent. While she sings a few musical numbers, this is not a musical and we see Garland's abilities as a young actress.While the DVD release does not have as many special features as some of the other recent MGM re-releases, it doe shave an introduction to the film by Garland's biographer and also a "Christmas card" film from the cast that was probably aired with trailers in the 1930's."