I found this movie to be a tedious entry, so different from the other moviesin the Hardy family series that it took me by surprise and disappointed me. It begins on the night the previous entry, "Andy Hardy's Private Secretary(1941)" ended -- high school graduation night. Andy (Mickey Rooney) has amonth to apply for a scholarship to go to college, so he decides, with hisfamily's reluctant blessing, to go to New York, get a job, and see what lifeis all about. Judy Garland lives there and keeps an eye on him, but hertalents are totally wasted. Judy doesn't sing at all (unless you count thefew lines of "Happy Birthday to You"); Mickey finds the school of hardknocks so trying it was painful to watch his plight, which included anattempted seduction of him by an older woman (Patricia Dane) and the deathof a friend. I hardly laughed at any point of this somber movie. I mighthave enjoyed the movie more had I been forewarned that it is much more of adrama than a comedy.
The National Legion of Decency classified this movie as unsuitable forchildren because of Rooney's scenes with Dane and his man-to-man talks withhis father (Lewis Stone) about fidelity to one's future wife, whoever shemay be.
George B. Seitz directs this hard hitting, downbeat and possibly thebest of the Andy Hardy series. Andy(Mickey Rooney)makes a deal with hisfather(Lewis Stone)to spend a week in New York City savoring a slice oflife before entering college. Andy discovers that finding a job andworking is sobering and easier said than done. And some things willalways stay the same ...when there is a nice looking female around;Andy is easily love struck. This is the last of the Hardy series tofeature Judy Garland. Rounding out the cast are: Fay Holden, AmmRutherford, Patricia Dane and Ray McDonald. The Andy Hardy films are soeasy to relax with.User: mam543
For a traditionally family oriented series, this film had somesurprisinglydownbeat tones to it. Andy has an eye-opening experience when he pursueslife in the big city.
Great performances by Judy Garland (as always) and Patricia Dane as theexperienced older woman.
Life Begins for Andy Hardy (1941)
*** (out of 4)
Eleventh film in the series is a pure delight as Andy (Mickey Rooney)decides to put off going to college even though Judge (Lewis Stone)feels that would be his best bet. Instead Andy travels to New York Cityto get a job and see what all life has to offer. He meets up with hisold friend (Judy Garland) but quickly falls for a woman (Patricia Dane)who might not have his best interest in mind. I've read some criticswho said this series handled dark subjects too lightly and perhapsthat's true but that doesn't apply here. This film really shocked me athow mature it was and it even hit some rather dark subjects includingsuicide and what really makes a man. The movie has plenty of greatlaughs, some wonderful performances and an all around charm that makesthis irresistible to fans of classic cinema. I'm still rather new tothe series but the chemistry between Rooney and Stone is just marvelousand the two really come off as a real father and son. I'm not sure ifit was just luck or if the two actors really did their homework butthey are perfect together and really seem to know how to work off oneanother. This is certainly true during a brief scene at a table afterJudge has come to visit Andy at work. The supporting cast is equallygood and that includes Garland in her third and final appearance in theseries. I've read she had four songs cut from the film but she doesn'thave too much to work with except playing shoulder to Andy. Dane is theone who really surprised me because I thought she made for an excellentfemme fatale years before that term would really take off. I think eventhose who aren't fans of the series would get a kick out of this onebecause it really does bring those "coming of age" issues up front andlooks at them in a pretty serious manor. Even though there are laughsscattered throughout, for the most part the film is looked at in aserious way and this is a major plus.
There's some bite in this eleventh installment of the Hardy series.Unfortunately, there's also a forced retreat from any kind ofcontroversial follow-through. In the end, the tried and true veritiesof small town America are once again affirmed, but then that is exactlywhat audiences expected from this pre-war version of Ozzie and Harriet.
What makes this entry more interesting is a dark side not usually seenin Andy's world of proms and parental wisdom. Vaguely bored with theprospect of a settled life, Andy leaves Carver to prove himself amidthe challenges of the big city, New York. There he finds a moreimpersonal and risky life-style, but also glamor and excitement.However, his small town openness and honesty are quickly exploited by agold-digging glamor girl, Patricia Dane in an excellent performance. Atthe same time, his in-bred good-neighborliness prompts him to riskeviction by sneaking a penniless youth, Frobisher (Mc Donald), into hishotel room.
Unfortunately Frobisher turns up dead in Andy's bathroom, a startlingdevelopment for such a sunny series. At first, the death looks like asuicide, the boy being penniless with no prospects. It also looks likea hard dose of reality for Andy. More importantly, suicide presents anever-thought-of possibility for Andy too, since he's been strugglingin a tight job market. Suicide would have added real weight to thestory. However, the script is forced to revert to comfortable seriesform when it's discovered the boy died of natural causes.
Thus a potentially exceptional entry is turned into another seriesprogrammer. Apparently it was the Catholic legion of Decency thatforced this emasculating change on the studio. What an excellentexample of how the dead hand of censorship sanitized reality in thename of protecting the audience from that same reality. And, if memoryserves, it wasn't until 1956 (Elia Kazan's Baby Doll) that a studioproduct was willing to defy the self-appointed censors and treat adultslike adults.
Of course, in this movie, there's the usual lively, engaging turns fromRooney and Garland, along with MGM's customarily slick productionvalues. Dad Hardy (Stone) works in his usual words of wisdom, this timeon the virtues of unmarried abstinence of the unfortunate myopic typethat ten years later would help fuel the Playboy, Hugh Hefner revolt.All in all, the series may have idealized a small town America thatnever was. But it also presented a picture of life as many wanted it tobe and still do.
Andy Hardy (Mickey Rooney) graduates from high school and decides tomove to NYC to make a fortune. His ex (I think) played by Judy Garland,lives there and tries to help him.
**Slight spoiler in the next paragraph**
I've avoided these Andy Hardy movies like the plague for years...Ithought they'd be really syrupy. This one sure wasn't! This is prettydark and downbeat. A character even dies! Originally he committedsuicide but the studio changed that before it was released--they feltthat was going too far. Still it all ends happily.
The movie looks fantastic, the story flows pretty quickly...but there'stoo little of Judy. As Leonard Maltin said all her songs were cut outbefore the film was released! My guess is that they were too cheerfulfor the grim tone of this film.
All the acting is good--top honors go to Lewis Stone (as JudgeHardy--boy, do I wish I had him as a father!), Ann Rutherford (having agood time playing the "bad girl") and Ray McDonald.
Dark movie (perhaps not for the kids) but good. Worth catching.
Although I have enjoyed every Andy Hardy movie that I have seen, this isprobably my favorite entry in the series. It is admittedly a departurefromthe usual light-hearted comedy of the Hardy movies, but in this case, itworks.
In the film, Andy leaves his sheltered small-town life for the city of NewYork in order to decide whether he wants to go to college or directly jointhe professional ranks. Andy's dilemma hit home with me when I first sawthis film a few years ago since it was a decision that I was facingmyself.Many younger viewers will probably be able to relate to the issues andproblems that Andy must deal with as he attempts to make the transitionfromcarefree adolescence to adulthood.
Mickey Rooney gives a good performance as Andy Hardy, as does Judy Garlandin the role of Betsey Booth. This picture is not as cheerful as mostentriesin the series, but the most melancholy aspect of this film is the factthatit is Garland's last appearance as Betsey. Betsey is one of the mostentertaining characters in the series of movies, and it's unfortunate thatshe only appears in three of the films.
Overall, this is a very good, although different, entry into the AndyHardyseries of movies.
This movie is worth seeing just for the advice Judge Hardy gives Andy. Heexplains beautifully why every unmarried person should be faithful to hisorher future spouse, even before they ever meet each other.
It is interesting that the Legion of Decency objected to this speech. In1941 such parental advice was so well known that it was not helpful to hearit in a movie, and it was dangerous to display sexual advice in the publicsetting of a movie. Keep in mind that the speech is so tasteful that wewould not even call it sexual at all. Yet to them it was good, soundadvicebut far too personal to publicize.
In our time we have fallen so far from those wholesome principles that itwould be very helpful to publicize them broadly. I am seeking a copy ofthis movie to show to my children and friends.
Following his graduation from high school, a small-town teenager decides totry his luck learning about life and making it on his own in New York City.Where he encounters the death of a disillusioned, penniless young friendandthe seductive wiles of a glamorous "older woman" he encounters at hisofficejob. Not to mention the wrath of the censors (who forced the studio thechange the cause of death from a suicide to a heart attack) as well as theCatholic church (whose Legion of Decency damned the film with an"objectionable for children" rating).Hard to believe that an episode in the ebullient Andy Hardy series causedsuch controversy, but it is this film's commendable attempt to portray thedilemmas of youth with honesty and candor (incredible for 1941) that makeitthe most durable and disarming entry of the entire series.As contemporary today as it was 60 years ago, "Life Begins for Andy Hardy"is blessed with, besides a refreshingly adult screenplay that evokesemotions unchanged by the passage of time, astoundingly "mature"performances by Mickey Rooney (for once underplaying) and Judy Garland(displaying a sincerity and warmth without ever singing a note).
Rooney's portrayal of a good-hearted teenager who decent instincts hardlyprepare him for the brutal reality of survival in the "Big City" willstrikeresonant chords with anyone in a similar situation 60 years later. And, inaddition to Rooney and Ms. Garland, sterling performances are contributedbythe Hardy regulars (Lewis Stone, never more sage or heartrending as Andy'sconcerned father); the lovely Patricia Dane, as Andy's office co-worker andwould-be seducer; and Ray McDonald, heartbreaking as a penniless aspiringactor reduced to living (and starving) in Central Park.A tacked-on happy ending and jarring lapses in continuity (indicating heavystudio re-cutting and re-shooting) fail to undermine the sweet sadness ofthis most unusual MGM drama--flirting with themes that would be dealt withfar more candidly and cruelly some 20 years later in suchinnocents-lost-in-the-city classics as "The Rat Race" and "Breakfast atTiffanys," of which "Life Begins for Andy Hardy" is a most poignantpre-cursor.