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TCM Spotlight: Esther Williams, Vol. 2 (Thrill of a Romance / Fiesta / This Time for Keeps / Pagan Love Song / Million Dollar Mermaid / Easy to Love) (2009)

Esther Williams , Van Johnson  |  NR |  DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)

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TCM Spotlight: Esther Williams, Vol. 2 (Thrill of a Romance / Fiesta / This Time for Keeps / Pagan Love Song / Million Dollar Mermaid / Easy to Love) + TCM Spotlight: Esther Williams, Volume One (Bathing Beauty / Easy to Wed / On an Island with You / Neptune's Daughter / Dangerous When Wet) + Duchess of Idaho
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Product Details

  • Actors: Esther Williams, Van Johnson, Tommy Dorsey, Xavier Cugat, Ricardo Montalban
  • Format: Box set, Color, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 6
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Turner Classic Movie
  • DVD Release Date: October 6, 2009
  • Run Time: 601 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002EWD0DG
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #18,318 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "TCM Spotlight: Esther Williams, Vol. 2 (Thrill of a Romance / Fiesta / This Time for Keeps / Pagan Love Song / Million Dollar Mermaid / Easy to Love)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Thrill of a Romance
  • Vintage Passing Parade short The Great American Mug
  • Classic cartoon Wild and Woolfy
  • Three outtake musical sequences: Gypsy Mattinata, I Should Care, and Please Don't Say No
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Fiesta
  • Vintage Passing Parade short Goodbye Miss Turlock
  • Classic cartoon Hound Hunters
  • Theatrical trailer
  • This Time for Keeps
  • Oscar-nominated Pete Smith Specialty short Now You See It
  • Oscar-nominated cartoon Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Mouse
  • Little Big Shot outtake song sequence
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Pagan Love Song
  • Vintage Pete Smith Specialty short Curious Contests
  • Classic cartoon The Chump Champ
  • Seven outtake musical sequences: The House of Singing Bamboo (unused), Music on the Water, The Sea of the Moon (unused), two versions of Tahiti and Why I Love So Crazy? (unused)
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Million Dollar Mermaid
  • Vintage Pete Smith Specialty short Reducing
  • Classic cartoon The Wise Little Quacker
  • Audio-only bonus: Radio show with Esther Williams and Walter Pidgeon
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Easy to Love
  • Vintage FitzPatrick TravelTalk short Romantic Riviera
  • Classic cartoon Cobs and Robbers
  • Theatrical trailer

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

No doubt about it: this TCM boxed set is all wet. As a collection of movies featuring Esther Williams, MGM's swimming superstar, how could it not be? Six titles, in splashy Technicolor, comprise this daffy musical smorgasbord, all drawn from Williams' glory years as an unlikely box-office draw. Thrill of a Romance, from 1945, is the earliest film of the bunch, a top-drawer production with a coy plot and location shooting in Yosemite Park. Esther's newly wedded to drippy businessman Carleton Young, but when hubby is called away from their honeymoon resort, war hero Van Johnson is nearby--and he needs swimming lessons. Tommy Dorsey and his Orchestra breeze through, and (in on of MGM's amusing attempts to add class to the room) Wagnerian tenor Lauritz Melchoir is on hand to play Cupid and sing an aria or two. Or three. (Melchoir has a pleasant screen personality, actually, even if his presence here is absurd.)

Fiesta,a Mexican bullfighting tale, is duller and doesn't give Williams much screen time, but it does introduce the agile young Ricardo Montalban to the screen; he and Esther are twin offspring of a famous matador. Musical highlights include a folk version of "La Bamba" and Aaron Copland's "El Salon de Mexico." In This Time for Keeps, Esther is employed in an Aqua Follies show and backed by Jimmy Durante; Forties crooner Johnnie Johnston is torn between pop singing and the operatic expectations of his father (Melchior again). The collection's low point is Pagan Love Song, a 1950 musical seemingly offered to cash in on the tropical-island appeal of South Pacific. Howard Keel belts out his love for Williams with his usual oak-barrel gusto, and there's one crazy you-gotta-see-this-to-believe-it number with (thanks to trick photography) Esther appearing to swim through a series of different underwater sets as Keel sings the irresistible title tune. Lots of cut songs, included on the DVD, suggest how the movie got down to 77 minutes.

Million Dollar Mermaid purports to be the bio of Australian swimmer Annette Kellerman, though the plot conforms to nostalgic period pieces of the era: Esther really loves brash Victor Mature, but contrivances keep them apart. If the story is tedious, the numbers are fun, especially the big ballet with water slides, trapeze divers, and all those sparklers going into the water with our star. Busby Berkeley worked on the big set-pieces; gee, what a surprise. Berkeley also did duty on Easy to Love, which has a few delirious musical interludes as Esther chooses between Van Johnson and Tony Martin. Much of it was filmed at Cyrpress Gardens, the Florida resort that also served as a watery backdrop to This is Cinerama. Some of the stunts involved prove Williams had as much in common with Jackie Chan as she did with Fred Astaire (she actually did break her neck on a diving stunt in Million Dollar Mermaid), and her fabulous physique remains impressive throughout these zany pictures. Watch a few in a row, and your head will be swimming right along with the star. --Robert Horton

Product Description

Thrill Of A Romance - Man overboard! War hero Van Johnson takes one look at Esther Williams and decides he needs swimming lessons. With Tommy Dorsey, Xavier Cugat and more. Dive in. Fiesta - Mexico's greatest bullfighter is... Esther? She plays a devoted sister who secretly fills in for her twin matador brother (Ricardo Montalban) after he abandons the ring. This Time For Keeps - An ex-GI falls for a bathing beauty (guess who!). Lauritz Melchior, Xavier Cugat, Jimmy Durante and Mackinac Island locations add to the good times and romance. Pagan Love Song - Island girl Esther plans to leave Tahiti, but maybe she'll have a reason to stay when Howard Keel arrives. Gorgeous, frothy fun with pristine Hawaiian locations filling in for Tahiti. Million Dollar Mermaid - Tonight in the Hippodrome Tank: Annette Kellerman, Goddess of the Sea! Esther portrays Kellerman in a splashy biopic that includes a must-see Busby Berkeley extravaganza. Easy To Love - Esther wins fans at the Cypress Gardens' aquashow, but will she ever win the heart of her all-business boss Van Johnson? Busby Berkeley guides the legendary water-ski number.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
48 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A second helping of Esther Williams June 28, 2009
Format:DVD
It is good to see that Esther William's films that did not make Volume 1 of her DVD collection are being given a general release with lots of extras rather than being put on DVD-R into the Warner Archive. The Archive is a good idea for obscure films in which visuals are not that important - Marie Dressler's films of the early 1930's are good examples of such films - but Esther's Technicolor musicals needed to be restored to their original visual splendor to be appreciated. The following is the press release for this film indicating extras, costars, and brief plot outlines.

Million Dollar Mermaid (1952)
Esther Williams portrays real-life Australian swimming champ Annette Kellerman. Directed by Mervyn LeRoy and costarring Victor Mature, this film was nominated for Best Color Cinematography. The movie includes a Busby Berkeley choreographed water ballet extravaganza. This is considered to be Esther's signature film.
BONUS FEATURES:
AUDIO ONLY: Lux Radio Theater Presentation of Million Dollar Mermaid starring Esther Williams and Walter Pidgeon
Classic M-G-M Tom & Jerry Cartoon The Little Wise-Quacker (1952)
Classic M-G-M Short Subject Reducing (1952)
Original Theatrical Trailer

Thrill of a Romance (1945)
Van Johnson and Esther Williams star. The film include performances from Tommy Dorsey and his Orchestra and operatic grandeur from famed Wagnerian tenor Lauritz Melchior in his film debut.

Newlywed swimming teacher Cynthia Delbar (Williams) has everything a girl could want for her honeymoon in the mountains. The only thing missing is her tycoon groom, who is in DC closing a deal. A pretty sorrowful situation - until a good-looking war hero staying at the hotel decides he needs swimming lessons.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars JUST WONDERFUL!!! July 1, 2009
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Thanks so much to TCM and Warner Home Video for producing the long overdue and much anticipated second volume of Esther Williams films.

I am thrilled that "THRILL OF A ROMANCE" (no pun intended) is included - my all-time favourite Esther film.

This lady has brought continuous joy and pleasure to millions of people with her warm, engaging personality and excellent swimming and athletic talents and the films all boast lovely music scores and songs, and many other talented players.

The films were originally produced when Metro Goldwyn Mayer was at its zenith, providing the world with delicious family and general entertainment.

Much appreciation also to the previous Reviewer who has provided us with all the feast of information about the very generous extras on the individual DVD pressings.

WELL DONE!
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Esther Williams movies are one of my favorites! July 18, 2009
Format:DVD
I had these on VHS and have been WAITING what seems like forever for this Volume 2 set. PLEASE DON'T MAKE US WAIT SO LONG FOR THE NEXT - VOLUME 3!!!!! I would really love it if they moved as fast with Esther Williams as they did with Doris Day. Please give us the rest by spring 2010 at the very latest.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hooray for volume 2 November 21, 2009
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
It's been a long time coming, but finally volume 2 has arrived and hope it's a great seller so Warner's will release a third and final volume which would include the underated SKIRTS AHOY. Also included should be TEXAS CARNIVAL; JUPITER'S DARLING and the very good DUCHESS OF IDAHO. Howewver, because Warner's has taken a new stand of releasing their classics in a burned edition and at a ridiculous price of $20.00 each plus shippping a tax, I doubt that they will release this third collection. For shame.
But back to tis volume. Very impressive titles here except for PAGAN LOVE SONG. Good that it has a short run time. FIESTA isn't really a SWIM movie, but good just the same. The others are typical fun comedies with some wonderful water ballets.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Colorful, Splashy Escapism November 11, 2009
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Esther, Esther, Esther...what a unique joy you brought to the movies. There was never a more spectacular genre than that fashioned around this talented swimstar. She cheerfully lived in a world inhabited by man-hungry younger sisters, opera stars and leading men who'd burst into song at the drop of a cliche, and prestigious family members and friends like Jimmy Durante, Walter Pigeon, Mary Astor, Rita Moreno and Cyd Charisse. By day, she was in the water but always managed to dry off before moving to night clubs where, inevitably, some big-name band conducted by Xavier Cougat or Tommy Dorsey was playing the latest hits. Collection Number Two doesn't let us down. Here, we have her chemistry with Van Johnson demonstrated yet again in "Thrill of a Romance" and "Easy to Love" I lunched with Van on his last visit to Australia, and still boyish at 80, he made it quite clear that the best years of his career were spent at MGM, and some of the most enjoyable movies were with Esther Williams. There are two diversions from the formula. In "Fiesta", Esther gets wet for just a moment, but still has the lush technicolor treatment in a crazy mix of sibling devotion and bull-fighting in Mexico, and - like "Million Dollar Mermaid" - is not strictly a musical. But by "Million Dollar Mermaid" Esther had learned her chops as an actress and as the world's first mermaid, Aussie Annette Kellerman, gives a creditable dramatic performance inbetween the Busby Berkeley aquatic spectaculars. I have to admit "Pagan Love Song" is my favourite.....Esther in Tahiti (shot in Hawaii), sun-drenched, splashing around in the ocean, serenaded by Howard Keel at his handsome best...it's like taking an utterly carefree vacation with people you love. So. Is there to be a Volume Three? One hopes so. We still await "Texas Carnival", "Skirts Ahoy". "Duchess of Idaho" and "Jupiter's Darling"...surely enough reason to complete the trio.
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