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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Bathing Beauty (1944)

A songwriter (Red Skelton) enters an all girls school as a student to be near his new bride (Esther Williams) who has left him due to a misunderstanding. Originally intended as a Red Skelton vehicle, once MGM saw Williams in action (this was her third film but her first starring role) they gave her the star build up. It became the third highest grossing film in MGM's history and Williams became an MGM box office staple for the next ten years. It's a contrived piffle but MGM gives it the deluxe treatment with Technicolor, Harry James for jazz, Xavier Cugat for the rumba and a flashy water ballet for Williams at the finish. There are some pleasant diversions along the way like a funny sequence with Skelton in a ballet class and Ann Codee as his martinet instructor, another one with Skelton being detained by a Great Dane and a tuneful swing version of the Scottish ballad Loch Lomond. Directed by George Sidney. With Basil Rathbone, Janis Paige (in her film debut), Jean Porter, Ethel Smith, Helen Forrest and Donald Meek.

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