Saturday, June 23, 2012

'Good News' for Peter

Peter Lawford's 1947 film "Good News" was aired on TCM recently. It may be his best, most charming performance. Although he's incongruously playing Tommy Marlowe, an American college football star, he carries it off with his charm and good looks. He even sings--well enough, but Frankie didn't have anything to worry about. Aside from the 'Varsity Drag' number, the film's most memorable sequence is 'The French Lesson,' in which meek student/librarian June Allyson tries to teach Tommy French so he can pass and play in the big game. It's a cute but absurd number--Tommy learns the language so quickly that he's responding to questions posed in French within two minutes, and doing so with a flawless accent. Of course, French was Peter's first language. Later, Peter sings the second verse of "The Best Things in Life Are Free" in perfect French. As Peter said at the time, "This is the most ridiculous part I've ever had or hope to have."