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Andy Hardy Gets Spring Fever (1939) marked the seventh film in MGM's popular Hardy Family series. This time out, Andy (Mickey Rooney) develops a crush on the pretty new drama teacher at his high school, Miss Meredith (Helen Gilbert), and sets out to woo her. Meanwhile, Andy's father (Lewis Stone) unknowingly gets mixed up in a shady business deal.
In 1939 Mickey Rooney was the most popular box office star in the world. The Hardy Family series, which had begun with the 1937 film A Family Affair, was a cash cow for MGM, and Rooney's appeal was key to that success.
Andy Hardy Gets Spring Fever was the first and only Andy Hardy film that W.S. "Woody" Van Dyke (The Thin Man , Marie Antoinette ) ever directed. All six previous Hardy films had been directed by George B. Seitz. Van Dyke, also known as "One-Take Woody", had worked with Mickey Rooney before in three different films including The Devil Is a Sissy in 1936. Following Andy Hardy Gets Spring Fever, George B. Seitz took over the directing reins once again for the series.
Actress Helen Gilbert makes her film debut as Andy's teacher/love interest in Andy Hardy Gets Spring Fever. Gilbert was originally a musician, playing the cello in the MGM studio orchestra. Singled out for her exceptional beauty, Gilbert made a screen test and was cast. The Hardy films had a long standing tradition of serving as a testing ground for MGM to introduce new young starlets to the movie-going public. Over the years stars like Lana Turner, Kathryn Grayson, Esther Williams and Judy Garland all began their successful careers at MGM in Andy Hardy films. Following her debut, Gilbert made a few more films, but ultimately faded into obscurity. In 1949 she married and divorced notorious gangster Johnny Stompanato, famously murdered in self-defense by Cheryl Crane, the daughter of fellow Andy Hardy alumna Lana Turner.
As American as apple pie, the charms of Andy Hardy Gets Spring Fever are hard to resist. "The Hardy series swings into its third year, gaining audience popularity with each succeeding release," said Variety. "Andy Hardy Gets Spring Fever maintains the entertainment pace set by its predecessors...W.S. Van Dyke...maintains the homey atmosphere of the typical American family of the Midwest town, pacing the situations with verve and speed in most competent fashion...Helen Gilbert, in her first picture role...carries a prominent spot with effectiveness. She displays a screenable personality of promise, with an easy assurance and naturalness."
Producer: Lou L. Ostrow (uncredited)
Director: W.S. Van Dyke II
Screenplay: Kay Van Riper; Aurania Rouverol (characters)
Cinematography: Lester White
Art Direction: Cedric Gibbons
Music: David Snell, Edward Ward
Film Editing: Ben Lewis
Cast: Lewis Stone (Judge James K. 'Jim' Hardy), Mickey Rooney (Andrew 'Andy' Hardy), Cecilia Parker (Marian Hardy), Fay Holden (Mrs. Emily 'Emmy' Hardy), Ann Rutherford (Polly Benedict), Sara Haden (Aunt Milly Forrest), Helen Gilbert (Miss Rose Meredith), Terry Kilburn (Harmon 'Stickin' Plaster' Higginbotham, Jr.), John T. Murray (Don David), George Breakston ('Beezy' Anderson), Charles Peck (Tommy), Sidney Miller (Sidney Miller, Stage Manager), Addison Richards (Mr. George Benedict), Olaf Hytten (Mr. Harmon Higgenbotham, Sr.), Erville Alderson (Henry, the Bailiff), Robert Kent (Lt. Charles Copley, Ensign in Credits).
BW-86m. Closed Captioning.
by Andrea Passafiume