Good News (1947): Charles Walters’ College Musical, Starring Peter Lawford and June Allyson

In Good News, a likable MGM college musical, directed by Charles Walters, scribes Betty Comden and Adolph Green tell the story of the romantic intrigues and school problems of a star football player, played by Peter Lawford in one of his best-known roles.

Grade: B

Good News
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Poster for the 1947 film

The lead lady is June Allyson in a cast that also includes Joan McCracken and Mel Torme.

The movie is a remake of a 1930 feature, itself based on a 1927 Broadway play, with few new songs added to the original score, including “The Varsity Drag” and “The Best Things in Life Are Free.”

The film is set in 1927 at fictional Tait College, where football is all the rage (“Tait Song”/”Good News”).

The Film was originally planned for Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland as a follow up to their success in Babes in Arms.

Lawford plays Tait’s football star Tommy Marlowe, a prime catch for the college girls.  Self-confident, Tommy tells his friend and teammate Bobby Turner (McDonald) that the trick to attracting girls is to show no interest (“Be a Ladies’ Man”).

However, new student Pat McClellan (Marshall) resists his advances, cutting Tommy down to size at a party (“Lucky in Love”).

As Pat insults Tommy in French, Tommy enlists part-time school librarian Connie Lane (June Allyson) to help him study the language (“The French Lesson”).

He gradually falls for Connie, who comes from a poor background, which does not bother her (“The Best Things in Life are Free”).

Meanwhile, Babe Doolittle (McCracken) seeks to leave a relationship with jealous football player Beef (Tindall) so she can get involved with Bobby Turner.

In the happy ending, Tait wins the big game, Tommy pairs off with Connie, Beef pairs off with Pat, and Babe pairs off with Bobby Turner.

The college bursts out into song in a production number (“Varsity Drag”).

The movie was popular at the box-office, but did not yield profit due to its relatively high-budget.

Oscar nominations: 1

Song: Pass That Peace Pipe, music and lyrics by Ralph Blane, Hugh Martin, and Roger Edens

Oscar Context:

The winners of the Best Song Oscar were Allie Wrubel and Ray Gilbert for “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah” from the movie Song of the South.

Cast
June Allyson as Connie Lane
Peter Lawford as Tommy Marlowe
Patricia Marshall as Pat McClellan
Joan McCracken as Babe Doolittle
Ray McDonald as Bobby Turner
Mel Tormé as Danny
Robert Strickland as Peter Van Dyne III
Donald MacBride as Coach Johnson
Tom Dugan as Pooch
Clinton Sundberg as Professor Burton Kennyon
Loren Tindall as Beef
Connie Gilchrist as Cora the cook
Morris Ankrum as Dean Griswold
Georgia Lee as Flo
Jane Green as Mrs. Drexel

Credits:

Directed by Charles Walters
Screenplay by Betty Comden, Adolph Green, based on Good News, 1927 musical by Lew Brown, Laurence Schwab, Frank Mandel, Buddy G. DeSylva, Ray Henderson
Produced by Arthur Freed
Cinematography Charles Schoenbaum
Edited by Albert Akst
Music by Conrad Salinger
Color process Technicolor

Production company: MGM

Distributed by Loew’s Inc.

Release dates: December 26, 1947 (NY); July 27, 1948 (US)

Running time: 93 min.
Budget $1,715,000
Box office $2,956,000