“Bathing Beauty”: This One Can Be All Wet

Bathing Beauty

Bathing Beauty (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Without its music, Bathing Beauty (1944) would have nothing.  Red Skelton is deeply unsatisfactory, even repelling, as the leading man in the film, and has no business being the love interest for Esther Williams.

Williams, of course, is the star who swims, who does what people surely regard as “water dancing.”  An expert dancer, female, who is also beautiful is not very common.  An expert swimmer, Williams is beautiful; but, in truth, swimming is not dancing.  To me, Williams’s doings are of limited interest (plus her acting is mediocre).  Only the synchronized swimming in BB has any aesthetic merit.

The music can be entertaining.  Much of it comes from Harry James, some of it from Xavier Cugat, and its many Latin sounds seem to promise an appearance by Carmen Miranda.  (But no.)  It’s pretty sapid pop, decently sung, in what is a multifarious movie musical.  Not one of director George Sidney’s best, though: consider that Skelton is around a lot of women and a few men, but never seems to maintain a true connection with any of them.

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