On an Island with You
Moonlight swims, swaying palms, Technicolor® sunsets and…cannibals?! Esther Williams, Peter Lawford, Ricardo Montalban and Cyd Charisse get the swimming, swaying and sunsets and Jimmy Durante gets the cannibals in this tune-filled paradise for fans of musical comedy. The frothy plot follows a swimming movie star (Williams, who else?) pursued by two handsome suitors on the set of her latest film, but the main point is mostly the songs, romance and Esther in a sizzling series of swimsuits and sarongs.
Easy To Wed
In this fast-paced, romantic comedy – a remake of the screwball 1930’s classic Libeled Lady – the comic bits are legion, with two standouts: Van Johnson afloat with a baleful spaniel who knows a lot more about duck hunting than he does, and a laugh-out-loud drunk scene that uncorks the incomparable lunacy of Lucille Ball. When the local paper runs an untrue story claiming an heiress (Esther Williams) is a husband stealer, she prepares to sue for libel. So a newspaper honcho (Keenan Wynn) devises a counter scheme to compromise her image: He’ll arrange a sham wedding between his fiancée (Lucille Ball) and a newsroom Romeo (Van Johnson), send the Romeo to woo the heiress, and make the phony story come true!
Longing for a Latin lover, boy-crazy Betty Barrett (Betty Garrett) mistakes girl-shy Jack Spratt (Red Skelton) for the South American polo team captain José O’Rourke (Ricardo Montalban). Meanwhile, the real O’Rourke pursues Betty’s elegant sister Eve (Esther Williams). Soon mistaken identities and romantic complications spin into a dizzy mix of slapstick and flirtatious fun. All is set to terrific Frank Loesser songs, including Baby, It’s Cold Outside, winner of the 1949 Best Song Oscar®. The film ends not only happily-ever-after but with (would a Williams fan expect anything less?) a stupendous water ballet.
Dangerous When Wet
The “just add water” formula works again in this lighthearted mix of romance, music and comedy directed by Charles Walters (Easter Parade). Williams plays Katy, a farm girl who finds romance (with Williams’ future real-life husband Fernando Lamas) while training for a swim across the English Channel. In the film’s key sequence, Williams swims, swirls and swoops with cartoon stars Tom and Jerry in a concoction “brimful of attractive people and attractive performances”
(Clive Hirschhorn, The Hollywood Musical).