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ANDY HARDY, VOLUME 2

For Hicksflicks.com, July 26, 2013

Warner Archive — the wonderful manufacture-on-demand site that has given a second life to many an ancient movie that otherwise would languish on studio shelves — has finally released the second and final compilation of "Andy Hardy" movies starring Mickey Rooney.

"The Andy Hardy Film Collection, Volume 2" (available at www.WarnerArchive.com) gathers the remaining 10 black-and-white films in the series, two each on five discs, along with trailers and bonus features for one title, "Love Finds Andy Hardy," which is the only film in the series that had been officially released before the Warner Archive sets.

Andy Hardy was an "all-American boy" living in a small Midwest town where his father, a judge, was stern but compassionate, his mother was loving and warm, and his girlfriends were MGM starlets (one each with Judy Garland, Lana Turner and, in her film debut, Esther Williams, are in this set).

As played by Rooney, Andy was girl-crazy but guileless and open to the life lessons each film brought his way, and since the movies were made in the 1930s and '40s, they came with the requisite modesty and patriotism of the period. Not that that's a bad thing. It's a kinder, gentler era and though modern audiences would probably find them a bit too coy and cheery, those of us of a certain age enjoy them nostalgically, even wistfully.

Because "Volume 1" had six films out of order, the "Volume 2" films are by necessity also mixed up a bit, with Nos. 1, 3, 4, 6, 7 and 12-16. Included among them are the bookending titles "A Family Affair" (1937), with most of the cast played by different actors (it was not made with a series in mind), and "Andy Hardy Comes Home" (1958), the only widescreen film of the franchise, which came 12 years after the series had more or less ended.