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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Andy Headed For College


Andy Hardy's Double Life (1942) Builds More Metro Starlets

Mickey Rooney wrote that he was sick of continuing to play Andy as a callow kid when he was going home nights to wife Ava Gardner. Talk about a double life! This is chronicle of AH's last week in Carvel before Wainwright College enrollment. The big conflict is Andy not wanting Dad to also make the trip and thus brand his son a "pantywaist," somewhat a cruelty on Andy's part for denying the Judge opportunity to recapture lost youth at his alma-mater. With so little pleasure in the old man's life, plus ordeal of having raised Andy, why deprive him of this? There's also threat of a bum check Andy writes back in a day when guys went to jail for that offense. Maybe a little stir time was just what this careless boy needed. Metro girl on tryout this time is Esther Williams, who swims and looks fresher than would be case in later pix where they lacquered her to starring-statue appearance. There's also Susan Peters on the train for Wainwright, which is where 1944's Andy Hardy's Blonde Trouble opens, passenger Peters replaced by Bonita Granville and the Wilde twins. Andy Hardy's Double Life is worthwhile, as is whole of the series, for reveal of Metro machinery at peak of efficiency. For talent on ways up, there was no better showcase than ongoing family pleasers that routinely brought profits well in excess of a million.

2 Comments:

Blogger Kevin K. said...

That newspaper ad is eye-opening. Were there really adults who would make a date to see an Andy Hardy movie at 12:30 in the morning? Maybe they were getting off the swing shift...

10:59 AM  
Blogger John McElwee said...

Dan Mercer reflects on a wartime Andy Hardy:


Isn't it a little disconcerting to see "Andy Hardy's Double Life" paired with "Stand By All Networks," a movie about Nazi saboteurs, or to find the War Bonds shield on that newspaper advertisement?

Wouldn't it have seemed awkward for Andy Hardy to go away to college, with no hint of the war going on or any suggestion that he ought to enlist? A panty-waist, because his father insists on going with him, but not because he isn't in the service? It was as though the world of the Hardys was deliberately removed from what everyone else in the country was facing. Perhaps that was the real secret of Andy's "double life." Could an audience have enjoyed it, though, or would it have been a little too precious?

I imagine the box office would tell the tale, though it was also a time when people would go to almost any movie to escape the strain of the war-time years. Perhaps there was a place, then, for such fantasies.

There would be another Hardy outing, "Andy Hardy's Blonde Trouble," equally removed from reality, in a way Andy Hardy himself--that is, Mickey Rooney--was not. Rooney enlisted in the U.S. Army and was in uniform for 21 months. When he returned for "Love Laughs at Andy Hardy," it was revealed that the character himself had been in the service. Not to fear, though. The late unpleasantness now over, Andy was the same loveable goofball that he was before. Though the film was released in 1946, the same year as "The Best Years of Their Lives" or "From This Day Forward," there were no emotional or physical wounds to deal with, no dark dreams in the night. Andy's big challege was going back to Wainwright College to finish his freshman year.

Daniel

4:49 PM  

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