A Family Affair (1937)

67-69 mins | Comedy-drama | 12 March 1937

Director:

George B. Seitz

Cinematographer:

Lester White

Editor:

George Boemler

Production Designer:

Cedric Gibbons

Production Company:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
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HISTORY

The film's working titles were Skidding and Stand Accused . According to news items, Richard Thorpe was originally scheduled to direct the picture, then Edwin L. Marin was set to direct, but he was re-assigned at the last moment to Married Before Breakfast (see below) and replaced by George B. Seitz. A HR news item notes that Spring Byington replaced Janet Beecher in the role of "Emily Hardy" when filming began. A HR production chart lists Hugo Butler as co-scenarist with Kay Van Riper, however, all other sources only list Van Riper. A news item in HR on 8 Feb 1937 noted that Lucien Hubbard was going to get producer credit and would supervise the editing of this film even though he had just moved to a new position at Paramount. According to another HR news item, Mary McDonald was the teacher on the set for Mickey Rooney and other youths in the cast.
       This was the first film based on Aurania Rouverol's characters and, although it received only average reviews and attained only moderate financial success according to news items, it led to a new series of films made by M-G-M, beginning in late 1937 with You're Only Young Once and ending in 1947 with Love Laughs at Andy Hardy . Although it was not part of the series, the 1958 M-G-M film Andy Hardy Comes Home , directed by Howard W. Koch, also featured Rooney, as well as two other cast members, Cecilia Parker and Sara Haden, who reprised their earlier roles. Contemporary ... More Less

The film's working titles were Skidding and Stand Accused . According to news items, Richard Thorpe was originally scheduled to direct the picture, then Edwin L. Marin was set to direct, but he was re-assigned at the last moment to Married Before Breakfast (see below) and replaced by George B. Seitz. A HR news item notes that Spring Byington replaced Janet Beecher in the role of "Emily Hardy" when filming began. A HR production chart lists Hugo Butler as co-scenarist with Kay Van Riper, however, all other sources only list Van Riper. A news item in HR on 8 Feb 1937 noted that Lucien Hubbard was going to get producer credit and would supervise the editing of this film even though he had just moved to a new position at Paramount. According to another HR news item, Mary McDonald was the teacher on the set for Mickey Rooney and other youths in the cast.
       This was the first film based on Aurania Rouverol's characters and, although it received only average reviews and attained only moderate financial success according to news items, it led to a new series of films made by M-G-M, beginning in late 1937 with You're Only Young Once and ending in 1947 with Love Laughs at Andy Hardy . Although it was not part of the series, the 1958 M-G-M film Andy Hardy Comes Home , directed by Howard W. Koch, also featured Rooney, as well as two other cast members, Cecilia Parker and Sara Haden, who reprised their earlier roles. Contemporary sources in the 1930s called the films "The Hardy Family" series, but most later sources refer to it as the "Andy Hardy" series, due to the increasing emphasis on "Andy" and the popularity of Mickey Rooney, who was the number one box office star from 1938 through 1941, and remained in the "top ten" in 1942 and 1943.
       Beginning with You're Only Young Once , Lewis Stone replaced Lionel Barrymore as "Judge James K. Hardy," Fay Holden replaced Spring Byington as "Emily Hardy" and Ann Rutherford replaced Margaret Marquis as "Andy's" girl friend, "Polly Benedict." Betty Ross Clarke replaced Sara Haden as "Aunt Milly" in two of the 1938 films in the series, Judge Hardy's Children and Love Finds Andy Hardy. The characters "Joan Hardy Martin" and "Bill Martin" were not in any of the Hardy Family films after A Family Affair ; however, a number of recurring characters were featured in subsequent films, many of which were written by Van Riper and directed by Seitz. Several "friends," "neighbors" other residents of the fictitious town of "Carvel" were portrayed by the same actors in most of the pictures in the series.
       The principal sets and streets of the town were used in all the films, which usually combined comedy with light drama, and as the series progressed musical numbers were occasionally featured. Topical social issues were combined with domestic situations, and solutions to various problems were usually found by the firm, but kind "Judge Hardy," whose relationship with his adolescent son "Andy" was the cornerstone of the series.
       Judy Garland first joined the series as "Betsy Booth" in the fourth film, Love Finds Andy Hardy . "Betsy" was the granddaughter of the Hardys' next-door-neighbors, and had a "crush" on "Andy" which was usually returned with brotherly affection. The popularity of Garland and Rooney led to their appearance in several M-G-M musicals of the late 1930s and early 1940s. The popularity of the Hardy Family series led to a radio program in 1949 that starred Stone, Rooney, Holden and Garland from the films, along with Richard Crenna, who took over the role of "Andy's" pal "Beezy," that was played by actor George Breakston in several of the pictures. M-G-M was awarded a special Academy Award on 4 Mar 1943, "for it's achievement in representing the American Way of Life in the production of the 'Andy Hardy' series of films." According to many modern sources, the series was the most popular of its era. For additional information on the series, consult the Series Index. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
6 Mar 37
p. 3.
Film Daily
22 Apr 37
p. 14.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Nov 36
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Feb 37
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Feb 37
p. 14.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Feb 37
pp. 1-2.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Feb 37
p. 3, 10
Hollywood Reporter
19 Feb 37
p. 11.
Motion Picture Daily
12 Mar 37
p. 12.
Motion Picture Herald
20 Mar 37
p. 49.
New York Times
20 Apr 37
p. 29.
Variety
21 Apr 37
p. 14.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir assoc
Art dir assoc
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
MUSIC
Mus score
SOUND
Rec dir
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the play Skidding by Aurania Rouverol (New York, 21 May 1928).
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Skidding
I Stand Accused
Release Date:
12 March 1937
Production Date:
3 February--20 February 1937
Copyright Claimant:
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Copyright Date:
8 May 1937
Copyright Number:
LP6993
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
67-69
Length(in reels):
8
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
3136
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

Judge James K. Hardy of Carvel is one of the most respected men in town, but when he issues a temporary restraining order against the construction of a controversial $30,000,000 acqueduct, contractor Hoyt Wells threatens to oust him at the next election, and he is supported by Frank Redmond, publisher of the town's newspaper, The Star . That same evening, Marion Hardy, Judge and Mrs. Emily Hardy's daughter, returns to town from college, while their other daughter, Joan Hardy Martin, comes home following a secret separation from her husband Bill. After a routine telephone inquiry about the dinner party that the Hardys are giving for Marion, The Star gossip columnist learns from her editor that only "bad" items are to be printed in the paper about the family, so she writes that Joan and her husband Bill are about "to put boxing gloves on." That night, teenaged Andy Hardy reluctantly leaves his house to take Polly Benedict, his childhood sweetheart who has recently returned to town, to a party. Andy thinks that he is too mature to continue seeing Polly, but is pleasantly surprised when he discovers that she also has grown up during their separation. Marion's new boyfriend, Wayne Trent, whom she met on the train home, is an engineer who has come to town to work on the new acqueduct, and her father's position on the matter worries her. That evening, Joan confesses to her father that she has separated from Bill and is very unhappy. After telling him that she and Bill have been friendly with a "fast crowd," she reveals that she went to a roadhouse with another ... +


Judge James K. Hardy of Carvel is one of the most respected men in town, but when he issues a temporary restraining order against the construction of a controversial $30,000,000 acqueduct, contractor Hoyt Wells threatens to oust him at the next election, and he is supported by Frank Redmond, publisher of the town's newspaper, The Star . That same evening, Marion Hardy, Judge and Mrs. Emily Hardy's daughter, returns to town from college, while their other daughter, Joan Hardy Martin, comes home following a secret separation from her husband Bill. After a routine telephone inquiry about the dinner party that the Hardys are giving for Marion, The Star gossip columnist learns from her editor that only "bad" items are to be printed in the paper about the family, so she writes that Joan and her husband Bill are about "to put boxing gloves on." That night, teenaged Andy Hardy reluctantly leaves his house to take Polly Benedict, his childhood sweetheart who has recently returned to town, to a party. Andy thinks that he is too mature to continue seeing Polly, but is pleasantly surprised when he discovers that she also has grown up during their separation. Marion's new boyfriend, Wayne Trent, whom she met on the train home, is an engineer who has come to town to work on the new acqueduct, and her father's position on the matter worries her. That evening, Joan confesses to her father that she has separated from Bill and is very unhappy. After telling him that she and Bill have been friendly with a "fast crowd," she reveals that she went to a roadhouse with another man and was seen by Bill. Even though her evening was innocent, Bill became furious and he will not listen to her side of the story. The next day, the headline of the Carvel Star reads, "Citizen's Committee Moves to Impeach Judge Hardy," and the paper is posted on public bulletin boards. Angry, Judge Hardy wants to bring contempt of court proceedings against the Star and Redmond. J. Carroll Nichols, the man who asked for the restraining order in the first place, wants to drop the suit to project the judge, but Judge Hardy refuses to give up. Soon the entire town is against the judge because they are afraid that the extra jobs and money promised by Wells will be lost. Polly refuses to speak to Andy because her father opposes the judge, and even Marion and Wayne argue because they cannot marry if Wayne doesn't get the acqueduct job. At a political convention called to determine the judge's fate, Bill shows up and says that the item in the newspaper was untrue and if the paper prints the false story that he and Joan are going to be divorced, he will sue The Star for libel. As people begin to suspect Redmond's motives, Judge Hardy reads "the fine print" on the acqueduct's diverting of the river waters and reveals that Wells had planned to impound the land adjacent to the Carvel River, thus ruining many of the townspeople. Realizing that the judge has saved the town, the crowd cheers him as he permanently rules against the acqueduct. Judge and Mrs. Hardy and their two daughters are now happy, and so is Andy when Polly apologizes to him and gives him a kiss. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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