Based on Aurania Rouveyrol's Broadway play Skidding, A Family Affair is a gentle comedy/drama centering around the Hardy family of Carvel (a small, idealized American town). Judge Hardy (Lionel Barrymore) hopes to be re-elected, but his campaign is put in jeopardy by his opposition of a wasteful public works program. The Judge's position is also threatened by his daughter's (Julie Haydon) unexplained separation from her husband. In the supporting cast, incidental to the plotline, was Mickey Rooney as Judge Hardy's teenage son Andy, Spring Byington as the Judge's wife, and Cecilia Parker as his younger daughter Marian. MGM head Louis B. Mayer sensed series potential in A Family Affair, and the result was the long-running and profitable "Hardy Family" series. Julie Haydon's character was written out of all subsequent "Hardy" films, Lewis Stone and Fay Holden replaced Lionel Barrymore and Spring Byington as Judge and Mrs. Hardy, and Mickey Rooney was elevated from the supporting cast to full leading man status as the effervescent Andy Hardy.
~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide