Monday, March 29, 2010
Movie Review Monday Visits ~ Esther Williams
Just thought I'd stop in and say a few words about Esther Williams. She was magnificent. She was gorgeous. She accomplished things underwater that some dancers couldn't do on solid ground. And there are repeated allusions to her unique abilities in film after film. Below are a couple of itty bitty reviews for two of her more popular movies...and a few words in conclusion about Esther herself.
Neptune's Daughter (1949)
Starring: Esther Williams and Ricardo Montalban
Directed By: Edward Buzzell
Do yourself a favor: Start at the beginning. Watch Esther swim. Skip forward about 15 minutes to the little swimwear 'fashion show' in the movie that features some of the cutest vintage swimwear I've ever seen. Skip forward another 10 minutes or so to the quartet performance of 'Baby, It's Cold Outside'-probably one of my favorite songs ever written. Then, fast forward to the very end and watch the all too brief water ballet that concludes the film. Believe me, you've missed nothing.
There is supposed to be a story line involving two sisters and some confusion about the identity of a cuban polo player. Whatever... I lost complete interest after the cute swimwear.
My rating: 4/10 (but only for the bathing suits and the great song!)
Million Dollar Mermaid (1952)
Starring:Esther Williams and Victor Mature
Directed By: Mervyn Leroy
This movie is a 'biopic' about Annette Kellerman, the famed Australian swimmer who dared to wear a one piece swimsuit that hugged her body and was quite the pariah in proper society. Esther gives the character lots of spunk and a sweet smile while at the same time turning out some amazing underwater musical numbers that have yet to be duplicated or attempted. Story wise, this flick has little to truly grab you. However, it's worth seeing simply for Esther's uncanny underwater dancing and the gorgeous technicolor cinematography that would lift any one's spirits.
In conclusion, may I just say that in spite of the tepid reviews above, I love Esther Williams. She was SUCH a beauty and her face just glowed all the time, possibly due to her boundless energy. I think it's awesome that a whole style of 'musical number' was conceived just to accommodate her marvelous talent for water ballet. Unfortunately, most of her movies were a little lackluster, especially when compared to her own fabulous presence. When she did not have a great cast of costars (such as in 'Take Me Out to the Ball Game' with Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra) they were largely forgettable in spite of the spectacular water sequences. However, from a fashion point of view, there is alot to be said for Esther. The swimming costumes she wore are still inspiring the bathing fashions of today and there is still a line of popular swimwear that uses her name.
Esther was always healthy and rosy; that gorgeously toned physique still stands as proof that an active lifestyle is the best to have. The fact that she is still kicking at 88 years of age is further testimony to that fact. So let's all go play in the water!