A Family Affair (1937 film)

A Family Affair is a 1937 American comedy film and the first entry in the sixteen Andy Hardy film series, though Mickey Rooney has a secondary role as the son of Judge Hardy, played by Lionel Barrymore. Lewis Stone and Fay Holden replaced Lionel Barrymore and Spring Byington as Judge and Mrs. Hardy in the subsequent films of the series.[2]

A Family Affair
Film Poster
Directed byGeorge B. Seitz
Produced byLucien Hubbard
Samuel Marx
Written byKay Van Riper
Hugo Butler
Based onSkidding
1928 play
by Aurania Rouverol
StarringLionel Barrymore
Cecilia Parker
Spring Byington
Eric Linden
Charley Grapewin
Music byDavid Snell
CinematographyLester White
Edited byGeorge Boemler
Distributed byMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
  • March 12, 1937 (1937-03-12)
Running time
69 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$502,000[1]

The highly respected judge has to deal with family and political problems. The film was based on the play Skidding by Aurania Rouverol.

Plot summary

Judge James K. Hardy (Lionel Barrymore) hopes to be re-elected, but his campaign is put in jeopardy by his opposition to a wasteful public works program.[3] Hardy and his family--wife Emily, adult daughters Joan and Marion, and teenage son Andy (Mickey Rooney)--live in Carvel, a small, fictional midwestern American town.

Spurned contractor Hoyt Wells and newspaper publisher Frank Redmond swear to block Hardy's re-election campaign. Frank agrees to use his paper, The Carvel Star, to publish disparaging stories about the family.

That evening Judge Hardy's daughter Marion returns home from college. Older daughter Joan Hardy Martin moves in as well, after a secret separation from her husband Bill. The family throws a party for returning Marion. At the party they are warned by a Star gossip columnist that only negative stories are going to be published about the family. Later that night teenaged Andy Hardy reluctantly takes his childhood sweetheart Polly to a party, and is pleasantly surprised by what a beautiful woman she has grown into. Marion has found love in Wayne Trent, an engineer who has come to town to work on the aqueduct. Facing the possibility of her boyfriend losing her job, she questions her father’s decision to block the construction.

Meanwhile, Joan confesses to her father that she and Bill are separated after she went to a roadhouse with another man. Although the encounter was innocent, Bill was enraged, and they soon separated.

The Carvel Star publishes an article stating that people are calling for Judge Hardy’s impeachment. Judge Hardy attempts to bring contempt of court proceeding against the Star.


Original play

Written byAurania Rouverol
Date premiered21 May 1928
Place premieredBijou Theatre
Original languageEnglish
SettingThe living room of Judge Hardy in a certain town in Idaho

The movie was based on the play Skidding by Aurania Rouverol.[4]


The film was made in the wake of the success of Ah, Wilderness! (1936). Many of the same cast from that movie returned.[5]


The film made a profit of $153,000.[1]

See also


  1. Scott Eyman, Lion of Hollywood: The Life and Legend of Louis B. Mayer, Robson, 2005 p 324
  2. Internet Movie Database
  3. AllMovie
  4. Skidding at IBDB
  5. Article on A Family Affair at Turner Classic Movies accessed 15 January 2014
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