Andy Hardy's Blonde Trouble
Cast & Crew
George B. Seitz
While on a train to Wainwright College, incoming freshman Andy Hardy vows to himself that he will not allow anything to interfere with his academic endeavors. No sooner does the girl-crazy Andy say this, however, than he meets two attractive young women. Andy is pleasantly surprised to learn that Wainwright is now admitting women, and that one of the two co-eds, the sophisticated Kay Wilson, will be his classmate. The other woman, Lee Walker, an uncontrollable flirt, is traveling surreptiously with her conservative twin sister Lyn, who is also enrolled at Wainwright. With help from their sympathetic aunt, the sisters have tricked their father, who wants the twins to be separated so that they can develop their own identities, into believing that Lee is in Vermont, but now realize they only have enough money for food and lodging for Lyn. Lee quickly overcomes the problem by convincing Andy, who is unaware that she is a twin, that upperclassmen will humiliate him and steal his money if he is found with too much cash. After Andy gives Lee ten dollars for safekeeping, his father, Judge James K. Hardy, wires him some more money on the train, and Andy frantically passes it on to Lee. Andy then has to deal with his mounting jealousy of fellow passenger Dr. M. J. Standish, whose mature, eloquent ways are making a positive impression on Kay. Although Dr. Standish assures him that his interest in Kay is strictly friendly, Andy becomes upset when he learns that Dr. Standish is driving Kay onto campus. Later, at Wainwright, Andy, whose father is an influential alumnus of the school, is sent to see his faculty advisor, a dean, and is shocked to discover he is Dr. Standish. While talking with the dean, Andy realizes he was hoodwinked by Lee, but assures Dr. Standish he will resolve the problem on his own. Andy then tracks Lee to a boardinghouse and demands his money back. Lee, who is still posing as Lyn, tearfully promises she will pay him back with money earned from her new singing job at a club called Joe's Place. Soon after, however, Lyn receives a concerned, cryptic telegram from her father and starts to cry in front of Andy. The still unsuspecting Andy comforts Lyn with a kiss, a gesture witnessed by Kay, and makes a date with her for that night. Andy then convinces the jealous Kay that he is serious about school and eagerly suggests they become study partners, beginning that night. Now wanting to break his date with Lyn, Andy rushes to the off-limits Joe's Place, where Lyn is rehearsing, and is startled to find both twins there. Unable to hide anymore, Lyn and Lee reveal their situation to Andy and tell him their suspicions that their father knows Lee is there and is calling that night to confront them. To avoid their father's wrath, Lee intends to take a train for Vermont, while Lyn fills in for her at Joe's Place. Andy endorses their scheme, but then hears from Dr. Standish that Mr. Walker called him earlier that day to talk about Lyn. Sure that Dr. Standish knows about the twins, Andy goes to their boardinghouse that night to telephone their father, but has to wait for his return call. Kay, meanwhile, surmises she has been stood up by Andy and gladly accompanies Dr. Standish on a tour of the campus. When they reach a romantic spot, Kay gives Dr. Standish an impulsive kiss, then apologizes and runs off. Back at the boardinghouse, Andy finally gets Mr. Walker on the phone. After determining that Mr. Walker is unaware of his daughters' subterfuge, Andy, posing as Dr. Standish, convinces him that the depressed Lyn needs to be temporarily reunited with her twin. Having solved the twins's immediate dilemma, Andy tries to sneak out of the women-only boardinghouse, but is caught by the landlady, Mrs. Gordon, who informs him that she will have to report him to Dr. Standish. Before class the next morning, Dr. Standish asks to see Andy later, and fearing the worst, Andy prepares to leave school. On his way out, however, Andy runs into his father, who has just recuperated from a tonsilectomy, and pretends all is well. Dr. Standish then joins the two, and begins to reminsce about his carefree days as a student at Wainwright, when Judge Hardy was his moral mentor. The judge and the dean confess that they had arranged to test Andy's character by giving him a "responsibility" in the form of a "lollapalooza" named Lyn. At that moment, a grateful Lee and Lyn show up to pay Andy back and surprise Dr. Standish, who never suspected that Lyn had a twin. Dr. Standish then assures Andy that all is forgiven. Later, Dr. Standish admits to Judge Hardy that he was, in fact, tempted by Kay, but that she wisely chose Andy instead. Months later, Judge and Mrs. Hardy are reunited with Andy at Thanksgiving, and are thrilled to discover that he has truly fallen in love with Kay.
George B. Seitz
William Norton Bailey
Agnes Christine Johnston
Edwin B. Willis
Andy Hardy's Blonde Trouble
In 1939, Mickey Rooney was riding high as the number one box office attraction in the world because of the Hardy films and others like Boys Town (1938) and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1939). But by 1943 his life was very different. No longer the top box office draw; his marriage to Ava Gardner had ended, leaving him devastated; he routinely received draft notices that MGM kept appealing to keep him out of the Army; and the Andy Hardy films were losing popularity. It wasn't all Rooney's fault. MGM was running out of ideas for the series; Rooney at 24 was getting a bit long in the tooth to play a teenager; and the country was in the middle of World War II.
Like millions of American men, Rooney had received his draft notice in August, 1941. As Arthur Marx wrote in his book, The Nine Lives of Mickey Rooney, "The Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer files are bulging with correspondence between MGM and Local Draft Board 245. The full weight of the world's most important film studio was thrown behind an effort to keep Mickey Rooney out of uniform. Mayer turned that problem over to [MGM Vice President ] Eddie Mannix, who, in a sworn affidavit to the draft board, on behalf of Loew's Inc. [the parent company of MGM], submitted a "request for occupational deferment." Claiming that Mickey Rooney was a "necessary man, within the meaning of the selective service regulations, to an industry," Mannix pleaded that Mickey should be reclassified 2-A. To bolster his argument, Mannix even included in the affidavit a scene from an up-and-coming Andy Hardy film, Andy Hardy's Blonde Trouble (1944). In the scene, Andy announced to his mother and father that he was thinking of volunteering for military service. Mrs. Hardy was shocked that her "baby" would voluntarily risk his life when it was improbable that he would be drafted for at least a year. But Judge Hardy was of the opinion that Andy should do what his conscience dictated...The affidavit went on to state that "the 25 million Americans who will see this picture must gain a greater and fuller understanding of, and sympathy with, the American fundamentals. We plan that each succeeding Hardy picture will further this idea, carry Andy, as he grows older, closer to the war, and reveal through Andy and his parents, the actual experiences of the young American boy who has taken such a step, The morale of the Hardy family should, and will, be the highest type of morale of the American family. Moreover, Mickey is irreplaceable and it will cost the studio millions in other films planned and ready to go with him starring in them, if he is drafted." Rooney was given a three-month extension, and several more until he finally went into the Army in June 1944, a month after the release of Andy Hardy's Blonde Trouble .
The critics had been complaining that the Hardy series was getting stale and they were particularly harsh with Andy Hardy's Blonde Trouble, as evidenced by this review in the New York Times: "It takes a set of identical twins to launch Andy Hardy on his college career with all the confusion and hugger-muggery so vital to the Hardy saga. But the launching has been completed in Andy Hardy's Blonde Trouble, which came to the State [Theater] yesterday, and it's fairly safe to say that we'll have Mr. Mickey Rooney at college now for the next eight years. At least, it probably will take him that long to be graduated if his higher education continues as it has started. The twins, Lee and Lyn Wilde, weave through the story to the complete confusion of Mr. Rooney and Herbert Marshall, and, adding the audience, it's unanimous. The stock comedy bits naturally associated with dual identification are all there as are the stock comedy bits naturally associated with a precocious youngster matriculating into the university. A new touch is added to the series with the introduction of Keye Luke, the Chinese actor, who as the new Hardy family doctor, probably has found a lifetime profession which will be steadier and less wearing than that of medicine. All in all, the picture isn't too difficult, identical twins and all. At least M-G-M hasn't as yet gotten around to producing two identical Mickey Rooneys."
Producer: Carey Wilson
Director: George B. Seitz
Screenplay: Aurania Rouverol, Harry Ruskin, William Ludwig, Agnes Christine Johnston
Cinematography: Lester White
Film Editing: George White
Art Direction: Cedric Gibbons
Music: David Snell
Cast: Lewis Stone (Judge Hardy), Mickey Rooney (Andy Hardy), Fay Holden (Mrs. Emily Hardy), Sara Haden (Aunt Milly Forrest), Herbert Marshall (Dr. M.J. Standish), Bonita Granville (Kay Wilson).
BW-107m. Closed captioning.
by Lorraine LoBianco
The Nine Lives of Mickey Rooney, by Arthur Marx, 1986
New York Times Film Review May 5, 1944
Andy Hardy's Blonde Trouble
The working title of this film was Andy Hardy's Double Trouble. The opening credits are preceded by a photograph of the "Hardy family," and the opening title card of the film reads: "Judge Hardy's Family in Andy Hardy's Blonde Trouble." Although Harry McAfee is credited onscreen as an associate art director, Hal Ferrari is listed in Hollywood Reporter production charts as art director through August 1943. Modern sources state that in the film's screenplay, "Judge Hardy" and his wife "Emily" discuss "Andy's" possible military enlistment, but that scene was not included in the viewed print. According to news items, the picture was shot at the University of Nevada at Reno. It was the first Hardy Family picture in which Andy is seen at college. (At the end of the previous Hardy Family film, Andy Hardy's Double Life, Andy boards the train to Wainwright.)
The sub-plot of Andy Hardy's Blonde Trouble involves a multi-talented doctor named "Lee Wong How," who, upon meeting the startled Hardys, reassures them that he is not Japanese, but a Chinese American from Brooklyn, New York. Keye Luke first played the character in M-G-M's Dr. Gillespie's Criminal Case and in subsequent entries in the "Dr. Gillespie" series (see Series Index). In August 1943, Hollywood Reporter announced that Ann Rutherford, who had played Andy Hardy's girl friend, "Polly Bailey," in a dozen previous Hardy Family films, would no longer be borrowed from Fox for the series. Ruth Clark is listed as a cast member in an August 1943 Hollywood Reporter news item, but her participation in the final film has not been confirmed. According to a March 1944 Hollywood Reporter news item, a 16mm print of the film was to be shown to troops overseas before its release in the U.S. For more information on the "Hardy Family" series, see entry for A Family Affair in AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40; F3.1269) and consult the Series Index.