Start the New Year with Good News

Start the New Year with Good News
One of the lessons learned in 2020 is that on the rare occasion there is good news, it is treated like a celebrated event.

The same can be said for the 1947 musical Good News with its toe-tapping, fun-loving, energetic jump back to those unforgettable college days of the 1920s.

Despite the title, the film has nothing to do with news, but the good it offers is unmistakable.

Filmed in glorious Technicolor and released in December of 1947, Good News is a crisp, fast-moving version of the successful Broadway hit from 1927.

It all takes place on the campus of Tait University with the big game on the line. The star football player, Tommy Marlowe (Peter Lawford), finds himself torn between a beautiful schemer by the name of Pat McClellan (Patricia Marshall) and her sorority sister, Connie Lane (June Allyson), a pretty bookworm who is majoring in French.

The storyline is nothing new, but who cares? The film is perky and joyful and just good clean fun. The costumes are colorful, the songs are upbeat, and the dance numbers range from big and complex to simple and succinct.

The audience is treated to the smooth and melodious voice of Mel Torme, “The Velvet Fog” himself. Torme sings “The Best Things in Life Are Free,” and “Ladies Man” along with Peter Lawford and the male chorus.

As far as the dance numbers are concerned, there is lanky Ray MacDonald and talented Joan McCracken to do the heavy hoofing while the backup dancers assist with jazz hands and synchronized swaying to the music.

The film has two big dance numbers, the best of which is “Varsity Drag,” the film’s finale. The dancing isn’t complicated, but well executed.

The other is the upbeat, “Pass That Piece Pipe,” which – as you might suspect -- is outdated and full of racial overtones. While this isn’t a great number, it does show off McCracken’s ability to infuse humor into each perfect dance step she performs.

If it has been a while since you’ve seen the film, some extras to look for are the little sorority pins the girls wear over their hearts – a little detail that make those colorful frocks seem even more authentic. And watch for the little kiss Allyson throws to Lawford in the final number. It not only looks impromptu, but also seems like they are having a ton of fun working together.

If that isn’t enough to convince you to watch this film, the screenplay is by Comden and Green.

As New Year’s Eve approaches and you raise your glass, you might want to include this bubbly little film to keep your spirits up.

Let’s be honest. After 2020, everyone could use a little Good News.

NOTE: I screened this film at my own expense and not at the request of any outside company or service. Free-to-view versions might be available digitally. This film may also be available for purchase or through subscription-based services.

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This content was written by Lucinda Moriarty. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Lucinda Moriarty for details.