Wednesday, January 23, 2019

good news 1947

A brightly colored M.G.M. musical that sometimes hits the spot. Set in a make believe back lot college in 1927 that sends the period through the window with late 40’s costumes, hair and set design and with a cast that were mostly too old for their parts. The plot is silly and dated (hell it was dated in 1947) but its still fun to watch especially the big musical dance numbers which include “Pass That Peace Pipe” which was nominated for the best song of the year Oscar but lost to “Zip A Dee Doo Dah” which has its own bag of controversy. Oh oh trouble trouble. Poking fun at Native Americans was of course common in our America of the time and it seems it still is along with take downs of all minorities, but this is such a vibrant dance number that I swallowed my political correctness and outrage just for a while. The lead is June Allyson all scratchy voice and toothy smiles, but the movie for me belongs to the great dancer Joan McCracken who was a Broadway gypsy and was married for a while to Bob Fosse and is as cute as a dumpling and boy could she dance. Sadly she died young so this film is all we have of her swell moving and shaking. The male lead is Peter Lawford also too old for the part and well he never did much for me anyway. We are stuck with Peter and June but really they aren’t all that bad and do a nice job with the “French lesson” number. Meanwhile we also have Mel Torme gawky young and funny looking but oh that velvet fog voice of his and when he croons out “Lucky in Love” and “The Best Things In Life Are Free” he made my toes curl. The direction is by likeable but lightweight Charles Walters who started out on Broadway and was a notable chorographer before he got a wake up call from Arthur Freed to join the Freed unit and started his directing career with “Good News”. Can’t really knock Chuck, he did some high class fluff and nonsense along with some really ghastly movies like the Joan Crawford camp classic Torch Song. The big musical numbers are toe tapping especially the already mentioned Peace Pipe which is set in the biggest soda fountain joint ever seen in a movie and the wonderful get up and dance “Varsity Drag” number that ends the movie. Written by the great Betty Comden and Adolph Green. 


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