Movie Critique – A Family Affair

Stars: 4 / 5

Recommendation: A 62 minute short movie that gives the viewers every element involved in an American family and the ups and downs the fight and live with. 

A Family Affair is a 1937 American comedy film, the first of the sixteen movies filmed as part of Andy Hardy film series. It is based on the play Skidding by Aurania Rouveroi. The plots in the series revolves around Judge James K. Hardy, his family and his political career; dealing with problems from both sides of his life; living in the fictional town of Carvel.

Judge James K. Hardy faces opposition after he tried to stop the construction of the aqueduct. He also tries to guide his son Andrew "Andy" Hardy (portrayed by Mickey Rooney) and his daughters Marion Hardy (portrayed by Cecilia Parker) and Joan Hardy Martin (played by Julie Haydon). But his political problems start creating problems for him in his personal life and he has no choice but to solve all of them.

This film in general captures the small-time American family dynamics and the ups and down that comes with it; and how the family copes. For this first film the screenplay was written by Kay Van Riper, and the son's role was expanded to showcase Rooney's talent.

Mickey Rooney played the role of Andy Hardy for the series, although in this film, he has a secondary role. Also Lionel Barrymore (as Judge James K. Hardy) and Spring Byington (as Mrs. Emily Hardy) were replaced by Lewis Stone and Fay Holden respectively in the remaining movies in the series. Lionel withdrew from the series due to his health issues. The stories in the subsequent movies in the series focus on Andy Hardy and his life as opposed to Judge Hardy which we see in this film. 

Lionel Barrymore, is from the respected Barrymore family of actors, and is the great uncle of actress Drew Barrymore. The film was made in the heals of the successful 1936 American comedy film, Ah, Wilderness!, causing many actors (Rooney, Parker, Barrymore & Byington among others) from that movie to return in this film. Thus forming a sort of reunion for the actors from that sleeper hit by MGM.

A 62 minute short movie that gives the viewers every element involved in an American family and the ups and downs the fight and live with. It comes with it's share of comic relief too along with public elements that Hardy family work towards to keep their town of Carvel safe. 

Spoiler Alerts:

1) Plot Reveals:

a. Charley Grapewin plays the role of Frank Redmond in this film. However, he is best remembered for his role of Uncle Henry in widely popular 1939 film The Wizard of Oz, which releases two years after this film.


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