Friday, January 09, 2015

Movie review - "Easy to Love" (1953) **1/2

The challenge of Esther Williams movies was finding different excuses for the swimming related musical numbers - this one handles it well by setting the action at Cypress Gardens, a water ski theme park in Florida. It's run by Van Johnson whose star attraction Esther Williams keeps threatening to quit.

Williams is pursued by three men here - Johnson (though he's only doing it to keep her with his business... what are the chances she's genuinely fall in love), singer Tony Martin (who does a lot of singing) and fellow water skiier John Bromfield (who spends most of the movie walking around with his shirt off).

Williams wears a huge variety of outfits and some of the musical numbers are done very well, including one on a pond covered in flowers, one where Esther is dressed as a clown, and a truly spectacular water skiing finale. Carroll Baker pops up in a small role as a woman interested in Martin.

It's done with professional sheen and all of MGM's skill - which was then still considerable - but I couldn't warm to the movie. Something about the central romance struck me as a bit yuck - Johnson was a horrible boss to Williams and there was no good reason for her to love him other than he's played by a movie star; I didn't much like her for doing it either.

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