Bathing Beauty (1944)
Director: George Sidney
Screenplay by: Dorothy Kingsley &Allen Boretz and Frank Waldman, adaptation: Joseph Schrank, based on a story by Kenneth Earl & M.M. Musselman and Curtis Kenyon / uncredited George Oppenheimer
Starring: Red Skelton, Esther Williams, Basil Rathbone, Jean Porter, Xavier Cugat and His Orchestra, Lina Romay, Donald Meek and Margaret Dumont
Tagline: M.G.M’s Mammoth Technicolor Musical Spectacle!
The Overview: Beware of spoilers…
New York producer, George Adams (Rathbone) is afraid that he’s going to lose his number one song writer, when Steve Elliott (Skelton) marries Caroline Brooks (Williams). So Adams hires a woman to show up to the wedding claiming she’s married to Steve. The woman brings three red headed boys as proof! The ruse works even though Steve and Caroline both said, “I do.” Caroline runs out saying that she’s getting an annulment.
Caroline returns to the all-girl college where she was a gym teacher. Using a technicality to enroll in the all-girl college, Steve plans to prove his innocence.
Bathing Beauty was advertised as M.G.M’s Mammoth Technicolor Musical Spectacle and lives up to it’s billing. The movie is heavy on song & dance broken up by short comedy scenes highlighting Skelton’s clowning ability. Bathing Beauty is also the film that features one of the most copied water dance numbers. It’s the one with dozens of bathing beauties doing a side dive into the pool as the camera glides past. Ester Williams is easy on the eyes (so is Jean Porter) and Red Skelton is just plain likeable. If you’re looking for light hearted fun, you could do a lot worse than Bathing Beauty which rates 3 of 5 stars.