Friday, July 20, 2007

My First Esther Williams Movie!

I watched On an Island With You (1948) tonight, with Esther Williams as a Hollywood swimming star who is engaged to her co-star, Ricardo Montalban. The cast is rounded out by Cyd Charisse, who has two good dance numbers with Ricardo, who - surprise, surprise - is a pretty good dancer! Also Jimmy Durante and Xavier Cugat.

*SPOILER ALERT* It's a goofy film. Peter Lawford plays a navy pilot who is hired as a technical adviser on a film that is being made on some unnamed exotic island. He has met Esther once several years back when she was an entertainer for the troops. He's convinced he's in love with her, but she's not interested. So... he kidnaps her and takes her back to the island 500 miles away where they met. Yeah, he's pretty much a stalker! At least, that's the way it feels with Lawford playing it. If only he could have done it with more panache, more bold intent. But he kept peering at Esther as though she were an accounting anomaly. So... ultimately he was just off. Well, in the end Ricardo and Cyd fall in love and Esther - for some goofy reason - decides to go off with Peter.

This was my first Esther Williams film, although I've seen lots of clips. She made some great titles, I mean... read these: Pagan Love Song, Skirts Ahoy, Neptune's Daughter, Dangerous When Wet, and Million Dollar Mermaid. And, from what I've seen tonight, she probably inspired the invention of waterproof makeup. As for the gowns..................... THUD. They were designed by Irene, and the ones for Cyd Charisse - particularly - are inspired.

There's also a cute scene with a little girl auditioning for assistant director Jimmy Durante. She gives her little speech in a perfect English accent and he storms off saying "Too British!"

She turns to her grandmother and says "Can one be too British?" Mark - you'd have loved her delivery!

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