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I was quite surprised that in the discussion of the film, with an emphasis on backstage folks, that the producer wasn't mentioned. Jack Cummings, for the most part, produced the MGM movies that neither the more important Arthur Freed or Joe Pasternack didn't want to and were considered kind of minor As. Actually, this film reflects the Pasternack style where any performer might show up to do a number that has nothing to do with the story where the Freed Unit concentrated more on tighter storylines where the songs were related to the story. Cummings did both. Also, Skelton wasn't considered quite an A star and, of course, Williams at this moment wasn't a star at all -- until the film was released so all of the "name" talent was tossed in to shore it up at the box office.

 

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Kind of surprised by this pick for our class. Doesn't sound in today's video that it has much of a plot, and neither Esther nor Red can be accused of being musical performers. Apparently not much chemistry among the performers either. Seems like a curve ball that may have squeezed a more compelling movie out of the way

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6 minutes ago, OldMovies4Me said:

neither Esther nor Red can be accused of being musical performers

I am curious about this, especially about Esther Williams as a musical performer.  Sure she doesn't sing or dance.  But isn't dance is simply movement to music, and some of the athletes we see in film perform to music.  I think of June Pressier's acrobatic dancing, Sonja Henie's ice skating to music, as well as Esther Williams' swimming to music.  Can they not be considered musical performers if they perform their athleticism in a way that it complements music?  Is their movement less musical than a ballet or Busby Berkeley production number?

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Too true; what Esther did was captivating, athletic and musical. But different from the more conventional song-and-dance women. Maybe that's why this film is included. I remember running to the tv as a kid to watch the synchronized swimming she did, and I only guess that that was well before synchronized swimming was an Olympic sport. So I didn't mean to diss her, but with the wealth of good musicals to choose from, I'm still wondering how it made the cut.

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Of course, Esther Williams was not the first Olympic swimmer to make it in films. Johnny Weismuller became iconic as Tarzan (even had a town in the San Fernando Valley named after his films). Both were cast with a view to their athleticism, and to make optimum use of their well-sculpted bodies. 

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To be fair, Esther could sing (she wasn't dubbed in her films) and does quite a lot later in her career, even introducing the standard Baby It's Cold Outside. She also does some dancing, partnering both Ricardo Montalban and Gene Kelly among other.

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