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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Thrill Of A Romance (1945)

A young bride (Esther Williams) is abandoned on her honeymoon when her husband (Carleton G. Young) rushes off to Washington D.C. on a business trip. When a handsome war hero (Van Johnson) shows up, she finds herself very attracted to him. What can one say about a lightweight, fluffy romance like this? Williams and Johnson have appealing presences and a nice chemistry together (they made four films together at MGM) and, of course, she swims. The gorgeous Yosemite settings (supplemented by Lake Arrowhead) look marvelous in three strip Technicolor as shot by Harry Stradling (MY FAIR LADY). Unfortunately, the film is padded out and we're subjected to Metropolitan opera's Lauritz Melchior bellowing and Tommy Dorsey's teenage daughter (played by Helene Stanley) playing the piano to kill time. Still, audiences of the time ate it up and it went on to become the highest grossing film of 1945. It's old fashioned but eminently likable. One can't help but notice its similarity with Neil Simon's THE HEARTBREAK KID which came 27 year later. With Spring Byington and Henry Travers as Williams' absent minded aunt and uncle, Frances Gifford as a predatory heiress, Ethel Griffies, Donald Curtis, Virginia Brissac and Thurston Hall.

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