Cast & Crew
W. S. Van Dyke Ii
As winter disappears in Carvel, usually serious-minded Judge James K. Hardy finds himself gazing out his courtroom window and thinking of spring. After court is recessed, the judge is visited by chemist Mark Hansen and promoter James Willis, who inform him that some gravelly land previously thought worthless and set aside for an acqueduct that was never built, is actually rich in bauxite, a mineral needed to make aluminum. Though the men want to start to work reclaiming the bauxite right away, the judge decides to get a sample of the soil himself and have it independently analyzed. That same day, the judge's teenage son Andy is snubbed by his girl friend, Polly Benedict, who has a crush on Ensign Charles Copley, who is working in Carvel. Andy's hurt feelings are soon alleviated by Rose Meredith, a new, young drama teacher at Carvel High, on whom Andy develops a tremendous crush. Soon the judge's chemical report comes back revealing that the soil sample is what Hansen and Willis claimed it was. He then excitedly decides to invest his own money and urge friends to capitalize on the venture as well. Soon Marian Hardy, the judge's daughter, who wants to become a career woman, gets a job as Hansen and Willis' secretary. As the weeks pass, while the judge and his friends anticipate great profits from the bauxite and Marian works at the office, Andy works hard to impress Miss Meredith in rehearsals for the school play. One day, Marian comes home from the office and informs her father that Willis and Hansen have secretly left town with all of the money earmarked for the project. Knowing that he has been duped and feeling guilty that he urged friends to join him in the venture, the judge decides to call a meeting of the share holders to confess everything. Just before the meeting, however, he learns that the city is anxious to buy the gravel on the land for a new highway. Although he still blames himself for the near financial disaster, his friends hold themselves equally responsible and are happy to learn that the gravel sale will enable them to break even on their investments. Later that day, Andy announces that he plans to quit school and marry Miss Meredith, to whom he has just proposed. Though his father gently tries to warn him about the problems he will encounter, Andy is convinced that his situation will work out. Miss Meredith, who was touched by Andy's proposal, tells him that she will give him an answer after the school play. During the intermission, however, when Andy sees her kiss her fiancé, who has just come to visit her, he realizes that she will not marry him. Though hurt, Andy continues in the play. Finally, after the play is greeted with applause by the audience, Polly goes to Andy to make up and the entire Hardy family happily return home.
W. S. Van Dyke Ii
John T. Murray
Kay Van Riper
Edwin B. Willis
Andy Hardy Gets Spring Fever
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
Andy Hardy Gets Spring Fever
The opening credits read, "Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer presents Judge Hardy's Family," with a photograph of the four "Hardy Family" members superimposed with their respective character names and the names of the actors who portray them. According to a news item in Hollywood Reporter, director W. S. Van Dyke innovated a new camera technique on the picture in which he used a mobile camera boom on every shot instead of a tripod, requiring ten men to work on photography. M-G-M publicity materials for the film note that the reason why the mobile camera was used was to save time between takes. This was was first Hardy Family film for Van Dyke. The first six films were all directed by George B. Seitz. Seitz returned to the series for the next film, Andy Hardy Meets Debutante (see below). News items also note that this was the debut film of Diane Quillan, the youngest member of the Quillan acting family, although her participation in the released film has not been confirmed. It was also the first film of Helen Gilbert, formerly a member of M-G-M's studio orchestra. Another news item mentioned that forty local high school students worked on the set of the picture as "Mickey Rooney's school pals," and that they continued to take classes on the M-G-M lot during filming. Actor Sidney Miller, who also portayed the character "Sidney Miller," and Ivan Miller, who portrayed his father, "Mr. Miller," were father and son in real life. For additional information on films in the Hardy Family series, see the entry below for A Family Affair and consult the Series Index.