Watching 1939: The Hardys Ride High (1939)

In 2011, I announced I was trying to see every film released in 1939. This new series chronicles films released in 1939 as I watch them. As we start out this blog feature, this section may become more concrete as I search for a common thread that runs throughout each film of the year. Right now, that’s difficult. 

THE HARDYS RIDE HIGH, Mickey Rooney, Ann Rutherford, Cecilia Parker, Lewis Stone, Fay Holden, Sara Haden, 1939

1939 film: The Hardys Ride High (1939)

Release date:  April 21, 1939

Lewis Stone, Mickey Rooney, Cecilia Parker, Fay Holden, Ann Rutherford, Sara Haden, Virginia Grey, Minor Watson, John ‘Dusty’ King, Marsha Hunt, Donald Briggs, William T. Orr, John T. Murray, Halliwell Hobbes, George Irving

Studio: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Director:  George B. Seitz

Judge Hardy (Stone) learns he is the heir to 2 million dollars. The Hardy family travels to Detroit to prove and claim the inheritance. The disinherited Philip ‘Phil’ Westcott (King) puts up a fight for the money, especially because he has to leave the family mansion.

1939 Notes:
• One of three Andy Hardy films released in 1939. The others were “Andy Hardy Gets Spring Fever” and “Judge Hardy and Son.” There were a total of 15 Andy Hardy films.
• William T. Orr’s first credited film and he was credited as “William Orr.”
• Mickey Rooney was in six films released in 1939, three of which were Andy Hardy films. Mickey Rooney was the most popular star in Hollywood in 1939.
• Ann Rutherford was in seven films released in 1939.
• Lewis Stone was in five films released in 1939.
• One of six films Marsha Hunt co-starred in 1939
• Sara Haden was in nine films released in 1939
• George B. Seitz directed two of the Andy Hardy films in 1939

Other trivia: 
• The sixth Andy Hardy film
• The working title was “The Hardys at Home”

The Hardy family in Detroit trying to see if they will receive the inheritance.

My review: Searching for the “1939 feature”:
In the Andy Hardy film series, Judge Hardy, played by Lewis Stone, is the solemn and wise patriarch of the Hardy family. Judge Hardy general provides sound advice for family problems, keeps a level head and has “man-to-man” talks with his son Andy (played by Mickey Rooney) when he’s in a jam.

However, in a few of the 1939 Andy Hardy films, Judge Hardy shows that he is human and makes mistakes like everyone else. In “Andy Hardy Gets Spring Fever,” the Judge is suckered into giving an organization thousands of dollars to make money off the land he owns, and it turns out to be a scam (it makes me think of the Nigerian prince e-mails some of us get today).

In today’s film, “The Hardys Ride High,” Judge Hardy makes another mistake, but not as grave. The family is told they inherited millions of dollars from a relative that Judge Hardy grew up being told was his ancestor. Evidence is planted to make him believe he isn’t related. In his honest fashion, the judge researches his family tree. I won’t give away what happens, but in the next film the family still lives in Carvel rather than a mansion in Detroit.

“The Hardys Ride High” isn’t the best Andy Hardy film but is still fairly enjoyable.

Some notable actors who appear. Marsha Hunt is early in the film in one scene as someone in Judge Hardy’s office. Then Virginia Grey has a small role of a young woman who is part of the ruse to make sure the Hardy’s don’t take the inheritance.

There were 10 more Andy Hardy films to follow “The Hardys Ride High” and several of them were better than this one. But each are interesting to watch as it was one of MGM’s top film series.

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