Welcome to Tait College circa 1927, where football rules and romance is aplenty. This is Good News.
This film is a remake of the 1930 film musical, which was based on the 1927 play. (The 1930 version was a full-out Pre-Code production filled with sexual innuendos. By the 1940s, it was no longer screened in the US because of cinema censorship.) The 1947 version of the film, of course, is a lot more innocent.
The hottest man on campus (on the field and off) is Tommy Marlowe (Peter Lawford). Taking the opposite approach of the female classmates who are interested in him, Tommy decides that acting disinterested is the only good way to win a girl over.
Tommy’s plan is tested when he meets the new girl on campus, Pat McClellan (Patricia Marshall). Pat is a recent finishing school graduate who likes to show off her sophistication, especially to the opposite sex. She pledges at the Phi Gamma Gamma sorority and wins over the attention of the entire football team.
When Tommy shows interest in her, Pat immediately rejects his romantic advances and, with it, piques his interest even more.
Because Pat rejects him using a French term, Tommy decides that the way to make her fall in love with him is by enlisting the librarian on campus to teach him French. The librarian just so happens to be Connie Lane, portrayed by June Allyson.
Connie is secretly in love with Tommy and is naturally upset that he is pursuing Pat, but she consents to his request and begins French lessons with him.
Tommy eventually falls in love with Connie as the lessons continue. Of course, that just makes everything complicated, as Tommy began taking French lessons in order to pass his class, which would ensure him a spot on the field at the big football game…which would ultimately lead him straight into the arms of Pat. So…yeah.
One of my favorite parts of the film is when Tommy and Connie sing “The Best Things in Life Are Free”. It’s sweet, reassuring and, well, innocent.
Tommy goes back and forth with his feelings toward Connie and Pat, which upsets Connie a great deal.
Finally, Tommy comes to his senses and realizes that Connie is the girl for him. By that point, Connie realizes that he really loves her and they get together.
Seeing as Good News is a 1940s MGM musical production, no real blossoming romance can be verified until a big song and dance number is presented to celebrate it.
As seen in Good News, June Allyson thrived at the girl-next-door roles she was often given during her time acting in Hollywood films. With her distinct husky voice, cheerful attitude, and wholesome looks, she became a huge star at MGM in the 1940s.
Bonus video: The Varsity Drag number from the 1930 film version of Good News – It’s even more fun than the ’47 version, honestly. It’s crazy.