AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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Good News
Director: Charles Walters (Dir)
Release Date:   26 Dec 1947
Premiere Information:   New York opening: 4 Dec 1947
Production Date:   early Mar--late May 1947
Duration (in mins):   92 or 95
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Cast:   June Allyson (Connie Lane)  
    Peter Lawford (Tommy Marlowe)  
    Patricia Marshall (Pat McClellan)  
    Joan McCracken (Babe Doolittle)  
    Ray McDonald (Bobby Turner)  
    Mel Tormé (Danny)  
    Robert Strickland (Peter Van Dyne, III)  
    Donald MacBride (Coach Johnson)  
    Tom Dugan (Pooch)  
    Clinton Sundberg (Prof. Burton Kennyon)  
    Loren Tindall (Beef)  
    Connie Gilchrist (Cora, the cook)  
    Morris Ankrum (Dean Griswold)  
    Georgia Lee (Flo)  
    Jane Green (Mrs. Drexel)  
    Anne Taylor (Daisy)  
    Mary Stuart (College student)  
    Janet Winkler (College student)  
    Helen Chapman (Lizzie)  
    Arthur Walsh (Bud)  
    Bill Harbach (Richard Tripper)  
    Joe Strauch Jr. (Eddie Dunk)  
    Duff Whitney (Clyde Waters)  
    John Garrett (Boy)  
    Sarah Edwards (Miss Pritchard)  
    Wheaton Chambers (Doctor)  
    The Williams Brothers (Background singers for "He's a Ladies Man")  

Summary: In 1927, Pat McClellan, having just completed finishing school, arrives at Tait College to begin her studies and pledge at the Phi Gamma Gamma sorority. Pat's arrival causes quite a stir on campus, and she exploits the attention by making a showy display of her newly acquired sophistication. She wins the immediate adoration of the players on the school football team, but Connie Lane, one of her fellow sorority sisters, sees through her French-speaking pretensions and is disgusted by her vanity. Connie, who works part-time at the university library, disapproves of the slinky red dress that Pat intends to wear to the upcoming sorority party and tells her that the dress is too "extreme and obvious." Pat, however, ignores Connie's advice, and makes a splashy entrance at the party, attracting the notice of all the male students, including Tommy Marlowe, the captain of the football team. Pat deliberately ignores Tommy, and instead pursues Peter Van Dyne, III, simply because he comes from a well-to-do family. Pat's rejection makes Tommy want her all the more, and he vows to learn French to be able to converse with her in her preferred language. Connie is secretly in love with Tommy, and though she is disappointed in his determination to attract Pat, she consents to tutor him in French. Tommy learns how to speak French well enough to ask Pat to the prom in French, but he is crushed when Pat turns down his invitation. When Babe Doolittle, Connie's roommate, learns of the rejection, she decides, for the sake of the football team, to intervene and prevent Tommy from becoming depressed. As part of her plan, Babe tries to interest Pat in Tommy by telling her that Tommy is the heir to his family's pickle fortunes. Pat's interest in Tommy is suddenly piqued, but Tommy, meanwhile, has asked Connie to the prom. Connie is overjoyed that Tommy has asked her to be his date, but her excitement is dashed in an instant when Tommy tells her he is going with Pat. As Tommy's grades begin to slip, Coach Johnson grows increasingly concerned that Tommy will not have the high marks he needs to play in the big game against Colton University. With Tommy's football-playing future at stake, Johnson and others implore Connie to rescue Tommy and coach him for a re-examination in his French class. Connie reluctantly agrees to the arrangement, and, to her astonishment, Tommy makes romantic overtures to her during their first lesson. After admitting to Connie that his interest in Pat was a mistake, Tommy tries to get out of his promise to announce his engagement to Pat by deliberately failing the French test and forcing his own suspension from the big football game. Despite his attempts to stay out of the game and avoid his commitment to Pat, Tommy is forced to play. As a result, Tommy plays poorly and the team suffers greatly. During the game, Connie gets an idea to save the team from defeat by telling Pat that Tommy has suddenly become penniless. Connie's plan works, and when Tommy learns that Pat has left him, he delivers a victory for the team and looks forward to an unimpeded romance with Connie. 

Production Company: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp. (Loew's Inc.)
Distribution Company: Loew's Inc.  
Director: Charles Walters (Dir)
  Al Jennings (Asst dir)
  Dave Marks (2d asst dir)
Producer: Arthur Freed (Prod)
  Roger Edens (Assoc prod)
Writer: Betty Comden (Scr)
  Adolph Green (Scr)
Photography: Charles Schoenbaum (Dir of photog)
  Bobby Bonner (Cam op)
  Perry O'Brien (Gaffer)
  Emilio Calori (Black and white asst)
  Jimmy Manatt (Stills)
Art Direction: Cedric Gibbons (Art dir)
  Edward Carfagno (Art dir)
Film Editor: Albert Akst (Film ed)
  Frank Capacchione (Asst ed)
Set Decoration: Edwin B. Willis (Set dec)
  Paul G. Chamberlain (Assoc)
  John Miller (Props)
Costumes: Helen Rose (Women's cost)
  Valles (Men's cost)
  Harry Kress (Men's ward)
  Tommy Thompson (Men's ward asst)
  Myrtle Gallagher (Women's ward)
  Grace Devore (Women's ward asst)
Music: Lennie Hayton (Mus dir)
  Kay Thompson (Voc arr)
Sound: Douglas Shearer (Rec dir)
  Conrad Kahn (Sd mixer)
  Freddie Faust (Sd stage man)
Make Up: Sydney Guilaroff (Hairstyles des by)
  Jack Dawn (Makeup created by)
  Bill Tuttle (Makeup supv)
  Charlie Schram (Makeup)
  Ethel Neefus (Hairdresser)
Production Misc: Bill Ryan (Asst to Arthur Freed)
  Lela Simone (Asst to Roger Edens)
  Aggie-Lou Coulson (Roger Edens' secretary)
  Hugh Boswell (Unit mgr)
  Eylla Jacobus (Scr supv)
  Richard Neblett (Asst props)
  Jack Franzen (Grip)
  Chuck Hughes (Best boy)
  Charles Burrell (Best boy)
  Jack Boyle (Asst to Charles Walters)
  Bobby Webb (Casting dir)
  Kerwin Coughlin (Asst casting dir)
  Gaius Shaver (Peter Lawford's coach on football seq)
Stand In: Patt Hyatt (Singing voice double for June Allyson)
Color Personnel: Natalie Kalmus (Technicolor col consultant)
  Henri Jaffa (Assoc)
  George Dye (Technicolor tech)
  Jimmy Mathews (Technicolor asst)
  Al Eiseman (Technicolor col dept)
  James Gooch (Technicolor col dept)
Country: United States

Songs: "Pass the Peace Pipe," music and lyrics by Hugh Martin, Ralph Blane and Roger Edens; "Good News," "He's a Ladies Man," "Lucky in Love," "The Best Things in Life Are Free," "Just Imagine," "Tait Song" and "The Varsity Drag," music and lyrics by B. G. DeSylva, Lew Brown and Ray Henderson; "The French Lesson," music and lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green.
Composer: Ralph Blane
  Lew Brown
  Betty Comden
  B. G. De Sylva
  Roger Edens
  Adolph Green
  Ray Henderson
  Hugh Martin
Source Text: Based on the musical Good News by Lawrence Schwab, Lew Brown, Frank Mandel, B. G. DeSylva and Ray Henderson (New York, 6 Sep 1927).
Authors: Lawrence Schwab
  B. G. De Sylva
  Frank Mandel
  Lew Brown
  Ray Henderson

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number Passed By NBR:
Loew's Inc. 5/12/1947 dd/mm/yyyy LP1397 Yes

PCA NO: 12519
Physical Properties: col: Technicolor
  Sd: Western Electric Sound System

Genre: Musical comedy
Sub-Genre: College
Subjects (Major): College life
  Football players
  Gold diggers
  Romantic rivalry
  Snobs and snobbishness
Subjects (Minor): College sports
  Football coaches
  French language
  Libraries and librarians

Note: This film marked the directorial debut of Charles Walters, a former actor and dancer who had previously worked as a dance director on several M-G-M films of the early 1940s. The film also marked the first screenplay written by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, who began their long collaboration first as performers when they formed the group "The Revuers" with singer/comedian Judy Holliday. The Revuers were seen was very briefly seen in the 1944 Twentieth Century-Fox film Greenwich Village (see below). Comden and Green went on to write a number of popular Broadway and film musicals, including On the Town (see below).
       Pre-production news items in HR indicate that actress Gloria De Haven was originally set for the part played by Patricia Marshall, a stage actress who made her motion picture debut in the film. While a 7 Mar 1947 HR news item noted that De Haven had been dropped from the cast due to "differences over the script," a news item appearing in HR two weeks later announced that De Haven refused the role and, as a result, was dropped from the M-G-M talent roster. De Haven was suspended for only a brief time, however, and went on to appear in several M-G-M films. Actor Jackie Cooper was tested for a role in Feb 1947, but he was not cast in the picture. A song entitled "An Easier Way," by Roger Edens, Betty Comden and Adolph Green, was deleted from the film before its release. The cut song, sung by June Allyson, was preserved, however, and was shown on the Turner Classic Movie channel as part of a marathon screening of M-G-M musicals, with songs that were cut from them.
       Good News opened to generally favorable reviews, although the NYT reviewer noted Peter Lawford's weakness as a dancer and singer and wrote that Allyson "can't sing worth a fig." (In fact, singer Patt Hyatt dubbed the songs "Just Imagine" and "The Best Things in Life are Free" for Allyson.) Roger Edens, Ralph Blane and Hugh Martin received an Academy Award nomination for the song "Pass The Peace Pipe," which was not in the Broadway musical version of Good News and was originally written for the film Ziegfeld Follies (see below). A biography of director and lyricist Arthur Freed provides the following information about the film: Robert Alton staged the film's two production numbers. Van Johnson was initially cast in the role of "Tommy Marlowe," and Mickey Rooney was considered for the part before it went to Lawford. Lawford protested his assignment to the film, arguing that his English accent would be inappropriate for the part of an American college student. The film was completed under budget, at a final cost of $1,666,718, and grossed nearly $3,000,000 in its initial release.
       Good News was the second M-G-M adaptation of the Broadway musical. The first adaptation, in 1930, was directed by Nick Grinde and starred Mary Lawlor and Stanley Smith (see entry above). Although a Jun 1943 HR news item announced that producer Sam Coslow planned a revamped and updated version of the 1930 film, that project was never made. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Box Office   6 Dec 1947.   
Film Daily   2 Dec 47   p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter   15 Jun 43   p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter   28 Feb 47   p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter   7 Mar 47   p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter   14 Mar 47   p. 50.
Hollywood Reporter   24 Mar 47   p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter   23 May 47   p. 16.
Hollywood Reporter   2 Dec 47   p. 3.
Independent Film Journal   29 Mar 47   p. 52.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   6 Dec 47   p. 3965.
New York Times   5 Dec 47   p. 53.
Variety   3 Dec 47   p. 11.

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
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