Thursday, February 25, 2010


Bathing Beauty (1944). Musical. Cast: Red Skelton, Basil Rathbone and Esther Williams, Harry James and his Music Makers, Ethel Smith, Helen Forrest and Xavier Cugat and his Orchestra. Director: George Sidney. This was not William's screen debut, but it was her first musical. The film was initially to be titled "Mr. Co-Ed" with Red Skelton having top billing. However, once MGM executives watched the first cut of the film, they realized that Esther Williams' role should be showcased and changed the title to "Bathing Beauty". The film is Janis Paige's film debut.

As famous songwriter Steve Elliott and swimming instructor Caroline Brooks plan to marry. Steve decides to quit his songwriting career, even though producer George Adams has already hired him to write new songs for a water ballet show. When George overhears Steve discussing his "retirement" with Caroline, he plans to prevent the marriage and hires Maria Dorango, to pose as a Latin American singer, to help him. At the wedding, Maria rushes in, claiming that Steve is her husband and the father of her three redheaded children. Even though Steve says he is innocence, Caroline returns to Victoria College in New Jersey, alone. Steve follows her, but is denied entrance to the all-female school. Later, in a nightclub, Steve meets lawyer Chester Klazenfrantz and learns that Klazenfrantz has been hired to change the charter of Victoria College, which has never officially become an all-female College. Steve returns to Victoria and insists on applying for admission. Unaware that Caroline is married to Steve, Dean Clinton suggests to the faculty that he be admitted for a two-week probationary period, during which time they would give him 100 demerits and expel him before Parents Day. Steve tries to speak with Caroline, but she refuses to listen to him and tells him she is seeking an annulment. Highlights of the film include: music from both Harry James and his Music Makers and Xavier Cugat and his Orchestra, Skelton in a pink tutu dancing to Tchaikovsky and a spectacular water finale. Will Steve win back his estranged swimming-teacher wife?

FUN FACT : At the time of its release, this was MGM's third-highest grossing film, after Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ (1925) and Gone with the Wind (1939).

One of my favorite scenes in the movie is when, Caroline realizes that Steve is hiding in her closet, spying on her, she has a Great Dane guard the closet door. Steve manages to trick the dog long enough to escape.


"Magic is the Moonlight (Te quiero juste)"
Music by María Grever
English lyrics by Charles Pasquale
Played during the opening credits
Sung by Carlos Ramírez in Spanish with Xavier Cugat and His Orchestra
Whistled by Red Skelton
Played often in the score

"I'll Take the High Note"
(1943) (uncredited)
Music by Johnny Green
Lyrics by Harold Adamson
Played during the opening credits
Sung and danced by Red Skelton, Jean Porter, Janis Paige, Carlos Ramírez,
Helen Forrest, Harry James and Buddy Moreno with Harry James and His Music Makers and Ethel Smith on organ

"Bim, Bam, Bum"
Music and Lyrics by Johnnie Camacho, Noro Morales and Harold Adamson
Sung by Lina Romay with Xavier Cugat and His Orchestra

"Trumpet Blues and Cantabile"
Music by Harry James and Jack Matthias
Instrumental played by Harry James and His Music Makers with Harry James on trumpet

"By the Waters of Minnetonka: an Indian Love Song"
Music by Thurlow Lieurance
Lyrics by J.M. Cavanass
Played by Ethel Smith on organ with the MGM Studio Orchestra

"Tico-tico no fubá"
(1917) (uncredited)
Music by Zequinha De Abreu
Enlish lyrics by Ervin Drake (1943)
Played by Ethel Smith on organ with the MGM Studio Orchestra

"Loch Lomond"
Traditional Scottish folk song
Sung by the Co-eds with Ethel Smith on organ

"Alma llanera"
(1914) (uncredited)
Music and Lyrics by Pedro Elías Gutiérrez
Sung by Lina Romay and chorus with Xavier Cugat and His Orchestra

"Waltz of the Flowers"
(1891-2) (uncredited)
from "The Nutcracker Suite, Op.71a"
Written by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Danced at the Eurythmics session by the Co-eds and Red Skelton

"Hora Staccato"
(1906) (uncredited)
Music by Grigoras Dinicu and Jascha Heifetz
Played by Harry James on trumpet with Harry James and His Music Makers

"I Cried for You"
(1923) (uncredited)
Music and Lyrics by Arthur Freed, Gus Arnheim and Abe Lyman
Sung by Helen Forrest with Harry James and His Music Makers

"Bridal Chorus (Here Comes the Bride)"
(1850) (uncredited)
from "Lohengrin"
Written by Richard Wagner
Whistled and hummed by Red Skelton

"Boogie Woogie"
Music by Carlos Ramírez and Harry James
Played by Harry James and His Music Makers before and during the water ballet sequence

"The Thrill of a New Romance"
(1939) (uncredited)
Music by Xavier Cugat
Instrumental played by Xavier Cugat and His Orchestra at the start of and during the water ballet sequence

"Die Fledermaus Overture"
(1874) (uncredited)
Written by Johann Strauß
Played in the score for Caroline's participation in the water ballet sequence

"Mucho Mucho Mucho"
(Te quiero dijiste / Tu m'as Dit Je t'aime)
Music by Carlos Ramirez
Lyrics by Lull Micaelli
Sung by Luis Mariano

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