A Second Dip of Esther Williams this October

When you think female swimming superstars, there’s only one name: Esther Williams. She’s back with another boxset of her water based musicals in TCM Spotlight: Esther Williams Volume 2. Here’s the press release from Warner Home Video:

TCM SPOTLIGHT: ESTHER WILLIAMS VOLUME 2
Six New-to-DVD Aqua-Musicals
from Americas Favorite Mermaid

Million Dollar MermaidThrill of a Romance
Easy to LoveThis Time For Keeps
FiestaPagan Love Song
October 6 from Warner Home Video

Burbank, Calif. June 22, 2009 — The ravishing bathing beauty who pioneered a new genre of moviemaking — “Aqua Musicals” — will splash once more in Warner Home Video and Turner Classic Movies TCM Spotlight: Esther Williams Volume 2 on October 6. This highly anticipated follow-up to the 2007 TCM Collection includes the DVD debuts of six Technicolor films from classic Hollywoods swimming superstar Million Dollar Mermaid, Thrill of a Romance, Easy to Love, This Time for Keeps, Fiesta and Pagan Love Song. Each of these MGM musical favorites have been newly remastered especially for this DVD release.

Also included are a boat-load of special features, including rarely-seen deleted musical outtakes, vintage shorts and classic cartoons. The films will be available only as a complete collection, in a collectible digi-pak gift set for $59.92 SRP.

About the Films

Million Dollar Mermaid (1952):
Glamorous, amphibious Esther Williams portrays real-life Australian swimming champ Annette Kellerman, in a splashy biopic co-starring Victor Mature. Directed by Mervyn LeRoy and Oscar® nominated for Best Color Cinematography, the movie is loaded with stunning spectacle, including a must-see Busby Berkeley choreographed water ballet extravaganza. Is this lovely Esthers signature film? Well, she called her 1999 autobiography The Million Dollar Mermaid.

Special 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 headline this frothy musical, just the ticket for a World War II-weary nation yearning for laughs, romance and glamour. And thats exactly what they got, plus swinging Technicolor tunes 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: a posh mountain lodge, glorious weather and a drop-dead trousseau. The only thing missing is her tycoon groom, who chose closing a deal in DC over cuddling with his brand-new missus. A pretty sorrowful situation until a good-looking war hero staying at the hotel decides he needs swimming lessons.

Special Features:
· Outtake Musical Numbers:
“Gypsy Mattinata” (Lauritz Melchior)
“I Should Care” (Tommy Dorsey and his Orchestra)
“Please Dont Say No” (The King Sisters)
· Classic M-G-M short subject “The Great American Mug” (1945)
· Classic M-G-M Tex Avery cartoon “Wild and Woolfy” (1945)
· Original theatrical trailer

Easy to Love (1953):
With the Cole Porter classic as the title tune, its easy to love this romantic comedy starring Esther Williams and Van Johnson in their fifth film together. Julie Hallerton (Esther Williams) knows how to win the affection of indifferent Ray Lloyd (Van Johnson): Be his office secretary; be the star of his Florida aquacade and the hearts desire of a Manhattan crooner to make Ray jealous. The ploy works, as does everything else in this aquamusical. Tony Martin lends his smooth vocal styling; Razzle-dazzler Busby Berkeley guides Esthers aquatic routines, including a legendary sequence involving Floridas Cypress Gardens, dozens of water skiers, ramps, pyramid formations, gushing geysers, a helicopter, a trapeze and Esther in the air. Also fun to note is films young Carroll Bakers (Baby Doll) screen debut.

Special Features:
· Classic M-G-M Short “Romantic Riviera”(1953)
· Classic M-G-M Barney Bear cartoon “Cobs and Robbers” (1953)
· Original theatrical trailer

This Time For Keeps (1947):
Whether soaring from the high board or redefining grace in a lavishly choreographed water ballet, Esther Williams is at her radiant, swim-suited best in this lighthearted aquatic musical centered on her romance with an ex-GI (Johnnie Johnston). Settings include Michigans picture-perfect Mackinac Island, with notable supporting stars providing specialty numbers. Famed tenor Lauritz Melchior brings his artistry to La Donna È Mobile, Xavier Cugat (with signature tea-cup Chihuahua at hand) adds big-band élan to the proceedings and Jimmy Durante delightfully dismantles his piano.

Special Features:
· Outtake musical number: “Little Big Shot” (Jimmy Durante)
· Classic M-G-M short subject “Now You See It” (1947)
· Classic M-G-M Tom & Jerry cartoon “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Mouse” (1947)
· Original theatrical trailer

Fiesta (1947):
Glamorous Williams forsakes her trademark swimsuit for a matadors red cape and black montera in the colorful film Fiesta. Williams portrays Maria, disguising herself as her twin brother Mario (Ricardo Montalban in his first credited U.S. film) and enters the ring in his place after he abandons bullfighting for classical music studies. An Oscar-nominated score* (including a restyling of Aaron Coplands “El Salon Mexico”) spices up this gender-bender tale. Lovely Cyd Charisse plays Marios partner in dance and romance.

Special Features:
· Classic M-G-M short Goodbye, Miss Turlock (1947)
· Classic M-G-M Tex Avery cartoon Hound Hunters (1947)
· Original theatrical trailer

Pagan Love Song (1950):
Esther Williams and Howard Keel share the bliss of this eye-filling musical excursion which includes the rhapsodic title tune and a charming Rita Moreno (in her third movie role as a spunky islander). Pristine Hawaiian locations fill in for the storys Tahitian setting. Of course, where theres an island, theres water, and Esther swimming in it. But in one fanciful sequence she also swims among the clouds, sending viewers spirits aloft with her.

Half-Tahitian beauty Mimi Bennett (Williams) is eager to leave the easygoing life of Tahiti for the excitement and bustle of the United States. But when Ohioan Hazard “Hap” Endicott arrives to manage his late uncles coconut plantation, the sparks flying between them may turn Mimis travel plans into wedding plans.

Special Features:
· Seven deleted musical outtakes including
o Why Is Love So Crazy
o Sea of the Moon
o Tahiti Version One
o Tahiti Version Two
o Music on the Water Version One
o Music on the Water Version Two
o The House of the Singing Bamboo
· Classic M-G-M cartoon “The Chump Champ” (1950)
· Classic M-G-M short subject “Curious Contests” (1950)
· Original theatrical trailer

About Esther Williams

Born in Los Angeles in 1921, Esther was the youngest of five children. As a teenager, she was determined to become a world champion swimmer, and by the age of 15 had already set records at such events as the Women’s Outdoor Nationals and the Pacific Coast Championships. When the 1940 Olympics were cancelled because it was wartime, Williams went to work for Billy Rose’s San Francisco Aquacade. An MGM scout spotted her there and offered her a contract, resulting in her screen debut in 1942 as Mickey Rooneys love interest in Andy Hardys Double Life.

Hoping that a swimming star could surpass a skating queen (Foxs Sonja Henie), MGM began grooming Miss Williams for the future by completely restructuring her third film. Filming began in 1943 under the title Mr. Co-Ed, starring Red Skelton as the title character. Early into production, producer Jack Cummings realized his leading lady was stealing the picture. The budget increased, and the picture was re-titled, becoming the Technicolor super-spectacular Bathing Beauty (in TCM Spotlights first Collection). The film was an international smash, and even though Skelton got top billing, it was Esther Williams who walked away with the movie.

Williams went on to become one of the biggest movie stars of the era and over the next decade; she captivated audiences in nearly 20 films. As her popularity soared — she was among the top ten box office stars in 1949 and 1950 MGM created a special group of movies called “Aqua Musicals,” making her swimming sequences more complex and elaborate with each new picture, adding everything from trapezes to fiery hoops.

Ms. Williams also tried her hand at drama with good performances in films like The Unguarded Moment, Raw Wind in Eden and The Big Show. But she ultimately went back to the water, starring in several TV aquacade spectaculars and acting as spokeswoman for her own swimming-pool company. She retired in 1961 to devote her time to husband Fernando Lamas, her children (including stepson Lorenzo Lamas) and her many business activities. She was rarely seen in public during those years, and was conspicuously absent from the reunion of MGM stars in 1974 participating in the release of Thats Entertainment!, the box-office blockbuster that featured a whole sequence around Esthers films. Interest in Esther remained high, but she remained out of the public eye until Lamas death in 1982. She finally came back to the entertainment world in 1984, when ABC asked her to help provide commentary for the aquatic events at the Los Angeles Olympics, much to the delight of her many fans. The success of her classic films on home video and cable television introduced Esther to a whole new audience, and in 1994, she returned to MGM to serve as one of the hosts in the critically-acclaimed Thats Entertainment! III.

ESTHER WILLIAMS MARKETING SUPPORT
Turner Classic Movies is currently seen in more than 80 million homes and will support Warner Home Video and the new collection with extensive marketing. TCMs marketing plan includes print ads in TCMs popular Now Playing guide, banners on tcm.com, and on-air mentions by the networks renowned primetime host, Robert Osborne.

TCM Spotlight: Esther Williams Volume 2
Street Date: October 6, 2009
Collection: $59.92 SRP
All Titles Not Rated and Color

Note: All enhanced content listed above is subject to change.

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