Down on your heels, up on your toes!


Last night I watched Good News (1947), a film starring June Allyson, Peter Lawford, and Mel Torme. This was my first June Allyson picture, and I have to say I like her. She's no Judy or Hepburn by any means, but I like her. Peter Lawford is also very endearing and sweet. It's actually kind of hard to picture him in the rat pack. He comes off as such a sophisticated innocent (and he might respond: "It's called acting, idiot."). The screenplay is by Betty Comden and Adolph Green who wrote the scripts for loads of my favorite MGM musicals.

The story is simple and familiar: everyone at Tait college wants to do three things. 1) Pass their classes, 2) see their football team win, and 3) find a date/soulmate. Its the 1920s, and we have bookish but spunky Connie (Allyson) and the charming football player Tommy Marlowe (Peter Lawford) who is attracted to Connie but also to Pat, the resident hot-stuff golddigger.

Connie and Tommy first meet in the library *swoon* where she works as "an assistant librarian" in order to help pay for school. In order to impress Pat, Tommy decides to learn French. So in the most adorable way possible Connie walks around the library with him teaching him French words. Apparently Peter Lawford was fluent in French but June was not, so he had to teach her how to teach him how to speak French! As you can imagine, their romantic setting among the shelves of books and dusty desks allow sparks to fly between them.

To make a short story shorter, he ends up with Connie and not Pat. The film ends in a huge dance number called "The Varsity Drag." I remember seeing it in That's Entertainment! (1974), and it was impressive as usual. If only we still danced like this...and had hours of time to rehearse it.

One of the songs in the film was nominated for an Oscar, and it was my least favorite of them all! It's called "Pass the Peace Pipe" and not only was just mildly pleasant to listen to, it's racist. There are much more enjoyable songs (available on iTunes!) in the score, such as "Lucky in Love", "Be a Ladies Man", "The Best Things in Life Are Free." But "The French Lesson" and the "Varsity Drag" are my favorites, so I am posting them.

I'm curious if the varsity drag inspired "The French Mistake" in Blazing Saddles. (skip video to 01:16). "Just watch's so simple, you sissy Mary's!"


Allie said...

June Allyson is very fun. She played Jo in a version of "Little Women," but I'm more of a fan of Kat Hepburn's stab at it.

Maryann said...

Aggh! I still haven't seen Katherine's version. I should just bite the bullet and buy it, I know I'll love it.