Plot: What’s it about?
Tommy Marlowe (Peter Lawford) is the big man on Tait University’s campus and as such, the ladies seem to flock to him. He is captain of the football team and of course, he is a fantastic athlete though he often falls behind in his studies. As of now, Tommy has two women who catch his fancy and both of them seem to want a chance to be his girl. But of course, Tommy has to make a choice as this is the ’20s and no two timing is allowed. The first girl is Pat McClellan (Patricia Marshall), who is a stunning beauty who is short on true emotion, but man is she ever a fox. Next is Connie Lane (June Allyson), who is more of a shy type of girl, who studies a lot and spends a lot of time in the school’s library system. In the middle of his girl watching, Tommy discovers his grades have dropped off and unless he picks them up soon, he will not be allowed to play in the year’s most important game. Connie sees this as a chance to help Tommy by tutoring him and also proving to him that she is the best choice.
I tend to like a lot of older films and though I am not a fan of musicals in most cases, some of the older ones have worked well for me. Good News however, is not on of those older musicals that worked for me. This film looks like it should be loads of fun and as such, I can see why some folks like it so much, but it just failed to click with much in terms of my tastes. The clean cut college scene doesn’t turn me off and neither do the performers, but somewhere along the line, Good News goes from upbeat musical to sheer cheese. I am a fan of cheese in some cases, but this is the bad cheese. The kind that is so bad, it isn’t even good at being bad. So, in case you couldn’t tell from all this, I didn’t like this movie. I found the characters to be thin, the writing to be average at best, and the musical numbers left a lot to be desired. I expected a more showman type effort, while this seems more basic and conservative in the end. Still, musical fans and those who love the film shouldn’t pass this disc up, this is the best chance to take in this film on the market.
As you know from my paragraph above, Good News isn’t a movie that will remain in my personal collection. The film is not a total loss to me though, as one performance stands out and deserves to be mentioned. The focus of this film and the true shining star is June Allyson and even when she isn’t on screen, she commands this film. The rest of the cast shows some spark at times, but Allyson is on and in the zone from start to finish in this one. Her usual shiny, happy performance is found here and that works to perfection, as her character seems to have been written just for her. She gets to show off her beautiful smile all the time, which is more than enough to steal this one from under her fellow stars. I will admit her acting in other films sometimes falls short, but her radiant glow and perky personality simply erase any flaws she might otherwise display. A fantastic combination of beauty, energy, charisma, and talent, Allyson shines in Good News as well as the rest of her films. Other films that feature Allyson include Best Foot Forward, The Bride Goes Wild, Too Young To Kiss, The Opposite Sex, and My Man Godfrey.
Video: How does it look?
Good News is presented in a full frame transfer, which preserves the film’s original aspect ratio. This transfer sports a rather clean source print, but does show some frequent moire patterns. This isn’t a serious issue and not as bad as I expected, but it is worth a brief mention. This film uses some rich and bold colors and thankfully, this transfer replicates them in fine form. The hues look vibrant at all times and flesh tones seem natural, while no distortion or bleeds surfaced in the least. Given the age of the film, I am impressed with this visual transfer.
Audio: How does it sound?
This is a musical and as such, the mono track just seems flat and too limited. I would have liked a full surround remix (which Warner sometimes does for older titles), but in this case we’ll just have to make do. As far as mono goes, this one seems good and even though the musical numbers sound flat, I suppose it sounds as good as I could expect. The music is clean and the vocals distinct, so no serious problems emerge, aside from the limited range inherit with the mono format. The dialogue is crisp and consistent also, this is as good as this film is going to sound in mono, so in the end this is a decent track. This disc also includes English & French subtitles.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc includes the film’s theatrical trailer and talent files, but also has a couple other features to boot. A pair of clips from the 1930 version of the film have been stashed here, which give us a chance to compare the two films. This is a cool extra and I hope to see more of this idea in future releases. The final supplement is a deleted sequence, The Easier Way and while it is easy to tell why it was cut, it’s cool to be able to watch it nonetheless.