Life Begins For Andy Hardy (1941)

GEORGE B. SEITZ

Bil’s rating (out of 5):   BBB.  USA, 1941.  Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.  Screenplay by , based on characters created by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Production Design by . Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  

In one of the more entertaining (or should I say less annoying) chapters of the Hardy family saga, Andrew (no longer Andy) graduates high school and becomes a “man of the world” (or, what in Hollywood films about rich, white suburban people passes as a man of the world, someone who takes his father’s boring job without a bump in the passage of time). Before starting his university career, Andy decides he wants to go to New York to try life as a man of his own with a real job and a real rent to pay. He arrives in New York full of bluster, but is broken down when after two weeks he still hasn’t managed to scrounge up a job. When he does, it’s as an office boy in a financial corporation, working with a gold-digging secretary who’s out to take him for all he’s worth. Thankfully, his good friend Betsy Booth (Judy Garland), a New York socialite, lives nearby and can help him out of even the worst jams. Very little of the Hardy films has survived the rigours of time, though this one might have if it allowed Garland at least one measly song…oh, wait a minute, it does. She pretends to be a singing telegram and sings “Happy Birthday” to a bewildered businessman. Other than that, she’s all hammy lines and teary rejections; Garland was definitely more than just a singer, but in these cutey-pie movies that she made with Rooney her musical numbers were generally the highlight of an easily cut-and-dried show. Without the musical element it just makes her appearance a waste of her time.

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