Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Million Dollar Mermaid, A perfect role for Esther Williams. A story inspired by the life of " Annette Kellerman," an Australian swimming champion and water ballet performer who performed in New York's Hippodrome. I thought Esther, did a wonderful acting tribute to Annette.

The film starts off in Sidney, Australia, where a young Annette, is wearing leg braces during her recovery from polio. She starts swimming to strengthen her legs.The scenes with Annette as a little girl, I thought were emotional. As Annette, eventually recovers she begins ballet along with her love of swimming and with her father's support she wins the south Wales women's Amateur Freestyle Cup. After running into financial trouble, Frederick closes his music conservatory and accepts a teaching position in London. On the trip to England, they meet American promoter James Sullivan, Doc Cronnol, and Sidney.( a boxing kangaroo). Jimmy is impressed by Annette, and makes an offer to manage her swimming career.

Annette wants to help support her father, she accepts the offer after she learns that her fathers job fell through.To kick off her career, Annette decides to to swim 26 miles to Greenwich, with Doc and Jimmy, rowing along side. Soon thousands of spectators are cheering her on as she swims through London. Her father Williams, reads about the swim in the newspaper, and is there to greet her as she swims into Greenwich. Soon they receive many offers, but Jimmy turns them down because he has a dream of going to America, for their fame and fortune..

When they first get to America, things don't go as planned, until Annette receives a telegram, offering her a water ballet at the Hippodrome. Soon Annette gets a call from Hollywood, and will appear in her first film, Neptune's Daughter. A few weeks later, on the last day of filming the movie Annette, dives into the water for her last scene, a crack develops in the glass of the huge tank. Annette is trapped and swept onto the broken glass as the tank bursts and she is seriously injured. Two weeks later, her recovery is still unsure. When Alfred and Jimmy, go up to Annette's room they see her doctor and he tells them that she may never walk again....

Fun Facts:

Berkeley's first of two films that he did with Esther Williams. This film gave him the opportunity to Showcase three water ballets set on the stage of the Hippodrome Theater. In the final number not only does Esther Williams drop into the center of a circle formed by swimmers, but he also uses fire and colored smoke for a beautiful effect. The last ballet is truly worth seeing. Million Dollar Mermaid received an Oscar nomination for Best Cinematography.

This is considered to be Esther's signature film.

Esther Williams, broke her neck diving off a 50-foot tower during the scene where she wearing a gold swimsuit. She spent six months in a body cast before recovering to finish the film.
Cast: Esther Williams, Victor Mature, Walter Pidgeon.

Sound Tracks:

"Let Me Call You Sweetheart"
Music by Leo Friedman
Lyrics by Beth Slater Whitson
Played during the opening credits
Sung by the patrons in the ship's lounge
Played often in the score

"Waltz in A Flat Major, Op. 39"
Music by Johannes Brahms
Played on the harp

"Minuet in G"
Music by Ludwig van Beethoven
Played on the violin

Music by François-Joseph Gossec
Played while Young Annette watches the girls dance on the lawn

"The Fountain in the Park"
aka "While Strolling Through the Park One Day"
Music by Ed Haley
Played during the Revere Beach scene

"When You Wore a Tulip (and I Wore a Big Red Rose)"
Music by Percy Wenrich
Played as carnival music for the first day of the show

"Sobre las olas (Over the Waves)"
Music by Juventino Rosas
Played as carnival music for the sixth week of the show

"The Washington Post"
Music by John Philip Sousa
Played as carnival music for the ninth week of the show

"An der schönen, blauen Donau, Op. 314 (On the Beautiful Blue Danube)"
Music by Johann Strauß
Played when Jimmy says he'd be a sucker to make big plans

"The Stars and Stripes Forever"
Music by John Philip Sousa
Played during the Hippodrome scene with Sousa conducting

"Danse des Mirlitons (Dance of the Reed Flutes)"
From "The Nutcracker Suite, Op. 71a"
Music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Played during the underwater ballet at the Hippodrome

"Kaiserwalzer, Op. 437 (Emperor Waltz)"
Music by Johann Strauß
Played at the fancy restaurant

"Jingle Bells"
Music by James Pierpont
Played at the Christmas party

"London Bridge Is Falling Down"
Played at the Christmas party

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