Today, we’ve got some Good News! Yep, we’re looking into that classic 1947 musical starring June Allyson and Peter Lawford! As usual, we’ve got a theatrical short to start us off!
Coming Up Shorts! with… Drag-A-Long Droopy (1954)
(Available on Blu-ray and DVD as part of Tex Avery Screwball Classics Volume 2 from Warner Archive Collection)
(Length: 7 minutes, 34 seconds)
Sheepherder Droopy drives his sheep into cattle territory, and the Wolf (who owns a cattle ranch) tries to stop him. Yes, this one veers into the typically Tex Avery ridiculousness, but that’s the fun! The gags come fast and furious (including another one poking fun at television), and you can’t help but cheer for Droopy and those sheep (just don’t get in their way 😉 ). To quote Droopy himself, “Exciting. Isn’t it?”
And Now For The Main Feature…
It’s 1927, and there’s romantic trouble at Tait College! Babe Doolittle (Joan McCracken) wants to break up with her current boyfriend, football player Beef (Loren Tindall), and start going out with his teammate, Bobby Turner (Ray McDonald). However, the much bigger and stronger (and very jealous) Beef has made it known that he will go after anybody else that tries to go out with Babe (which Bobby finds to be a strong deterrent to the idea). Meanwhile, the football team’s captain, Tommy Marlowe (Peter Lawford), is a bit of a ladies’ man. Of course, being the college hero, he doesn’t have to do much chasing, as the gals usually come to him. However, college newcomer Pat McClellan (Patricia Marshall) has out and out rejected him. What he doesn’t know is that, despite the air of sophistication that she puts on, she is really a society climber and gold digger. But her rejection makes her appealing enough for HIM to chase after HER, and, since she is prone to peppering her speech with French, he goes to the library to try learning some. There, he meets the assistant librarian, Connie Lane (June Allyson), who is working there to help pay her way through college. With her help, he learns some French quickly, but he still doesn’t get Pat’s attention. Fearing he will become depressed (and do terribly in the game), Babe tries to pass him off as coming from a wealthy family in front of Pat. However, while she was trying to do that, Tommy decides to ask Connie out to the prom, much to her delight. Connie’s happiness is short-lived, as Pat goes after Tommy in short order, and, without thinking, he agrees to go to the prom with her instead. Over the next few weeks, Tommy and Pat see a lot of each other, and he ignores his studies (somewhat unusual for him). They announce to their friends that they will be getting engaged after the big game, but his grades (particularly in French) threaten to have him sidelined for it. His coaches and the dean convince the French professor, Burton Kennyon (Clinton Sundberg), to give him a second chance, and have Connie tutor him. With his feelings for Connie reawakened, Tommy tries to sabotage things so that he can’t be engaged to Pat. But will he be able to break his engagement, or will he be stuck in a relationship he no longer wants?
Good News was based on a 1927 play (of the same name) written by Lawrence Schwab, Lew Brown, Frank Mandel, B. G. DeSylva and Ray Henderson. In the 1940s, producer Arthur Freed decided to take up the idea (since MGM already had the filming rights after doing a movie in 1930, excerpts of which can be seen as an extra on the Blu-ray for the 1947 film), intending it as a potential vehicle for Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland (plans that were abandoned when Mickey Rooney’s box office appeal was fading and Judy Garland got too old to play a college student). Still, Arthur Freed wanted to do the movie, and brought in some fresh talent, promoting dance choreographer Charles Walters to director, and bringing in Betty Comden and Adolph Green (for their first screen credit) to write the screenplay. For the stars, June Allyson and Peter Lawford were picked, and, with Good News being a big hit, it helped establish their careers further, in what was the second of at least four movies that they made together.
I myself am coming off of seeing this movie for the first time. Previously, I had only seen clips of it in the That’s Entertainment series, but, like many of the movies included in that series, it was on a list of movies I wanted to see. And it did not disappoint! Sure, the plot itself is nothing to write home about, but, it’s a musical, so plot was never going to be the main focus. I found the music to be enjoyable, and I would agree with many that the standouts are “Pass That Peace Pipe” (a new song written specifically for this movie) and the “Varsity Drag.” Both of them stood out very strongly, and easily make the movie worth seeing just for them! The cast certainly works well for me. I’ll admit, Peter Lawford’s dancing isn’t the best (he tries, and does decently, but his timing just seems a bit off, especially when compared to the rest of the chorus). A perfect movie, this isn’t, but it’s still fun, both for its music and its comedy. Easily recommended for a good time!
This movie is available on Blu-ray and DVD from Warner Archive Collection. The Blu-ray makes use of a 4K scan of the original nitrate Technicolor negatives, and boy, does it show! The colors practically pop off the screen, and the detail is fantastic. As such, it’s another in a looooong line of great transfers from Warner Archive, continuing to prove that their releases are the best ways to see many of the wonderful Warner-owned classics!
Film Length: 1 hour, 33 minutes
My Rating: 9/10
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