I’ve good news and bad news for those still alone,
Who pine for somebody to love as their own.
The good news is that there is someone for you,
Who’s hoping there’s someone for them to love too.
They’re out there, out somewhere, far off or close by;
You’re made for each other, as tales testify.
The bad news is that things may get in the way,
Like not recognizing true romance at play.
In not waiting long enough, you might pick wrong,
And they may do likewise, not where they belong.
Beware the missed moments and chances you shirk;
Your own asininity may be at work.
So keep an eye out for that promised soul mate,
And you may have good news to soon celebrate.
MPAA rating: Approved (an easy G)
After enjoying the compilation of classic MGM musical numbers in That’s Entertainment! and its Part II, I had to satisfy my curiosity over at least one of the featured films that caught my eye. The educational setting and youthful dance scenes of Good News made me think of it as a forerunner to High School Musical, and indeed that’s what it is. Just as Grease predated High School Musical, Good News anticipated Grease, and its romantic entanglements backed by buoyant musicality are still entertaining all these decades later.
While those later films were set in high school, though, Good News takes place at Tait College, the kind of carefree movie college where studies take a backseat to parties and football games. Peter Lawford plays the ever-confident athlete Tommy, while June Allyson fills the role of the mousy school librarian Connie, both of whom discover each other when Lawford’s smitten hotshot tries to impress the gold-digging it-girl, played by Patricia Marshall. The wholesome interactions between romance-seeking students brought to mind the original Archie comics, even incorporating a jealous bully named Beef (as opposed to Moose) who makes up part of an adjacent love triangle.
The story may remind you of many imitators since, but Good News is good clean fun, though I understand it’s a remake of a racier Pre-Code version from 1930. The best part is clearly the musical scenes, many of which feel like lesser-known classics, like “The Best Things in Life Are Free” or “Lucky in Love,” which benefits from the smooth voice of Mel Tormé. Between the lyrical cleverness (“The French Lesson”) and the exuberant dancing (“Pass That Peace Pipe,” which was nominated for a Best Song Oscar), Good News has tuneful talent and charm to spare.
Best line: (Tommy, when chided on speaking French) “Guess I can’t help it, Poochy. Language comes easy to me. I’ve only been in class five days, and already I speak like a native. I don’t know of what country, but, uh, like a native.”
Rank: List Runner-Up
© 2017 S.G. Liput
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