Of all the film genres available to me I find it’s the musical that I don’t watch many of despite finding them quite enjoyable. I have seen most of the Sinatra and Crosby films mixed with a few from Gene Kelly but not many of the other song and dance films that are not necessarily the accepted classics.
So it comes as no surprise that this Esther Williams – Red Skelton film was just that. Enjoyable.
It’s a zany romance film sprinkled with songs from the cast including Betty Garrett as Esther’s sister who gets mixed up with a polo player. The problem is that her manly athlete is Red Skelton pretending to be the star player of the team. In actuality that position is held by latin lover type Ricardo Montalban.
Things naturally get complicated as Ricardo is falling for the swimming star Williams while she believes he is two timing her sister Garrett. Ole’ Red has dug a hole pretty deep for all concerned with his pratfalls and daydreams of being the athletic lover type.Without a doubt, he may be called upon to save the day for all concerned.
Filling out the cast is the always reliable Keenan Wynn as Williams business partner in the bikini business who would like nothing better than to take Williams for himself. That’s a tall order once Williams gets a look at Ricardo’s physique……..remember Khan?
Adding to the plot for the big finale we have gangsters Ted de Corsia and Mike Mazurki turning up to kidnap the polo playing star so they can cash in on some big bets for the championship game. Can Red somehow live up to Garrett’s vision of a dream player?
Naturally with an Esther Williams musical we are treated to a water ballet and plenty of bikini clad models. The pace is offset nicely with Red’s comedy routines which play best when he’s ducking the very imposing Mazurki or attempting to mount a horse and get into the polo match against his better judgement.
The highlight of the film for me was the duet “Baby, its Cold Outside” as sung by Williams and Montalban. Not surprisingly the song won an Academy Award for best original song. And yes, that guy with the Speedy Gonzalez voice is indeed Mel Blanc.
I recently picked up an Esther Williams DVD set so will have to get at the other titles. Included is another teaming with Red called Bathing Beauty from 1943. Mr. Montalban also turns up with her in the same DVD set in On An Island With You. So many titles on my shelf to catch up on…….
Any Esther Williams suggestions?