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Love Finds Andy Hardy(1938)

Eighty years ago, the biggest problem facing a high-school boy like Andy Hardy (Mickey Rooney) was how to find a date for the Christmas Eve dance. In the fourth of the 16 Hardy family films, Andy’s just put a down payment on an old jalopy when he learns that his girlfriend Polly (Ann Rutherford) will be out of town for Christmas. His family wants him to show their neighbor’s visiting granddaughter, Betsy (Judy Garland), a good time. But he’s also asked to keep a buddy’s girlfriend, Cynthia (Lana Turner), from dating other guys prompting a series of humorous situations for Andy to handle. With its heartfelt father-son scenes (featuring Lewis Stone as Judge Hardy), Garland’s first appearance in the series and the debut of Andy’s car, this is often hailed as the ultimate Hardy film. MGM produced the films, based on characters introduced in Aurania Rouverol’s 1928 play Skidding, as a means of keeping their stock of contract players busy and showcasing rising talents like Rooney, Garland and Turner. That was particularly important for Garland, who was getting the star build-up after being cast in The Wizard of Oz (1939). The films also turned a tidy profit on a relatively small investment. In fact, it did so well, it turned Rooney into one of the studio’s top stars. (d. George B. Seitz, 91m, 35mm)

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