Thursday, June 29, 2017

Movie review - "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" (1949) ***

The majority of Esther Williams movies were focused on her - she was the big attraction, the story was devised to get her around a pool, etc. They were extremely profitable - I think only Jupiter's Darling lost money - but never enjoyed the critical kudos of the musicals made by the Freed unit.

This was her one experience with that unit - she didn't enjoy it, which is a shame because this is a fun movie. It's got A list talent all over the place - Busby Berkley directed, Gene Kelly, Frank Sintara and Jules Munshin do numbers, Betty Garrett supports... many of these went straight into On the Town.

The story is a bit all over the place. Kelly and Sinatra are vaudvillians who play baseball - so they want to make it in vaudeville and baseball, which splits focus. Williams inherits the baseball team bt doesn't seem to have many plans for it. Sinatra likes Williams and so does Kelly but Sinatra backs off pretty quick so the drama is minimised. The "baddie" Edward Arnold is introduced in the last third.

Kelly and Sinatra are lively, as is Betty Garrett. Williams isn't as sparky as she is in her best vehicles; she said she didn't enjoy filming and you can tell. I so didn't like this movie as much as I thought I would; it's very messy, doesn't seem to love baseball that much. It's still got all that MGM skill.

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