Young Dr. Kildare


Fresh out of med school, Dr. Jimmy Kildare declines to join his father's small town practice and instead heads off to a big hospital in New York.  He is one of a crop of young interns under the tutelage of crotchety old Dr. Gillespie, the brilliant but acerbic wheelchair-bound diagnostician. Young Dr. Kildare pulls ambulance duty and on his first trip responds to an unconscious man in a bar.  Interrupted by a call to a suicide attempt at a flop house, Jimmy sends the ambulance back to the hospital with the bar patient.  Joe the ambulance attendant feels no pity for the patient, assuming he is just a drunk, and does not follow Jimmy's instructions to administer oxygen en route.  The patient dies and it turns out he is a local political boss.  Jimmy takes the rap for Joe and earns a friend for life.  Jimmy is able to save the would-be suicide, who turns out to be an heiress with a mystery.  She is written off as a mental case by the hospital establishment but Jimmy flouts hospital authority to keep working the case and unravels the source of her depression.  Jimmy is fired as an intern but Gillespie hires him back as his assistant and protege.

This was the first of nine Kildare movies starring Lew Ayres as Jimmy Kildare and Lionel Barrymore as Dr. Gillespie.  Barrymore starred in six more movies as Gillespie without Kildare, after Lew Ayres conscientiously objected in WWII. There was one previous Kildare movie without either actor.

Familiar faces: Nat Pendleton as Joe the ambulance attendant; Marie Blake (Grandmama from "The Addams Family") as a receptionist; Monty Woolley (The Man Who Came to Dinner) as the psychiatrist treating the heiress; Samuel S. Hinds (George Bailey's dad from It's a Wonderful Life) as Dr. Kildare the elder.

Marie Blake and Nat Pendleton

Judge Hardy's Children


Judge Hardy (Lewis Stone) is recruited to head a commission in Washington investigating the regional monopoly of a power utility.  The whole family goes along, of course.  Andy (Mickey Rooney) gets involved with the daughter of the French ambassador.  Marian gets involved with some society people who are just using her to influence her father's commission.  After a couple of man-to-man talks between Andy and his father everything turns out okay.

There were a couple of interesting phrases dropped in the movie.  Marian and her hometown boyfriend have an argument and he remarks, "Of all the school girl exhibitions I ever saw, this one takes a fur-lined teacup." There actually is a famous fur-lined teacup from 1936.  Check out this link to a piece of surrealist art by Meret Oppenheim.  It is currently at the MoMA. 

There are several times when Andy is practicing his French.  He always mangles the pronunciation horribly.  Once, after his dad agrees to buy him a tuxedo, he says "Gee, you're what they call 'un homme merveilleux'.  That means 'you're the berries' in French." 

Also, my favorite MCMXXXVIII dance, the Big Apple, makes an appearance in this movie.

Andy teaches Suzanne the Big Apple

Trailer for Judge Hardy's Children on TCM

Out West with the Hardys


Mrs. Hardy needs a little r&r and Judge Hardy has an old beau in need, so they pack up the family for a trip out West. The Judge must help his old girlfriend and her husband negotiate some water rights for their ranch.  Big sis Marian falls in love with a local (like she did in Catalina*) and decides to dump her boyfriend back home and be a ranch hand's wife.  I sure hope she settles down in Carvel in the later movies because that girl is not sensible when she travels.  Andy tries to show off for the ranch hand's 8-year-old daughter (don't worry, the ranch hand is a widower) and ends up breaking the leg of her horse.

Jake, the ranch hand's daughter, is played by Virginia Weidler, who sang "Lydia the Tattooed Lady" in The Philadelphia Story (1940).  She and Bonita Granville are my favorite MCMXXXVIII child actresses.

*A couple of months back my TiVo tricked me into watching You're Only Young Once, a Hardy Family movie about a vacation to Catalina Island.  I later found out that it was released in December of '37, so I didn't do a write-up.  My TiVo recently tried to get me to watch The Hardys Ride High from 1939, but once bitten, twice shy.

Standard Hardy cast:
Lewis Stone as Judge Hardy
Mickey Rooney as Andy Hardy
Anne Rutherford as Polly Benedict

Out West with the Hardys trailer on TCM

Lord Jeff


Lord Jeff with Freddie Bartholomew and Mickey Rooney.  We first meet Lord Jeff (Freddie Bartholomew) as the overly demanding child resident of a London hotel.  His lordship is condescending toward (and despised by) the hotel staff.  While shopping at a jewelry shop for a present for his mother, he is suddenly struck with some sort of stomach ailment and must be rushed back to the hotel.  Shortly thereafter an inspector comes to question him about another patron present at the shop who made use of the distraction to steal a priceless necklace.  It turns out that "Lord" Jeff is really an orphan who was running a con with his "governess" and the man who stole the necklace.  His accomplices escape but Jeff is arrested and sent to a trade school for homeless boys.  The school where his is sent, Dr. Barnardo's Russel Cotes Nautical School, trains boys to work in the British equivalent of the merchant marines.  Jeff is condescending and aloof there as well, but is eventually taught honor and pride by the example of star student Terry O'Mulvaney, played by Mickey Rooney.  Thus it is that Jeff declines to rejoin his con-artist former partners when they find and try to reengage him.  They still try to use him to transport the stolen necklace to New York by sewing it into the lining of his coat knowing that he will be assigned to apprentice on the Queen Mary.

Familiar faces: Charles Coburn as Captain Briggs, the dean of the school; Peter Lawford has a bit part as one of the new kids that arrive at the school with Jeff.

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