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WHV Press Release: TCM Spotlight: Esther Williams Volume 2


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#1 of 56 Ronald Epstein

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Posted June 22 2009 - 01:05 AM

TCM SPOTLIGHT: ESTHER WILLIAMS VOLUME 2
Six New-to-DVD ‘Aqua-Musicals’
from America’s Favorite Mermaid

Million Dollar Mermaid - Thrill of a Romance
Easy to Love - This Time For Keeps
Fiesta - Pagan 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 Hollywood’s 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 Esther’s 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 that’s exactly what they got, plus swinging TechnicolorÒ 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 Don’t 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, it’s ‘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 heart’s 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 Esther’s aquatic routines, including a legendary sequence involving Florida’s 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 film’s young Carroll Baker’s (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 Michigan’s 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 matador’s 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 Copland’s “El Salon Mexico”) spices up this gender-bender tale. Lovely Cyd Charisse plays Mario’s 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 story’s Tahitian setting. Of course, where there’s an island, there’s 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 uncle’s coconut plantation, the sparks flying between them may turn Mimi’s 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 Rooney’s love interest in Andy Hardy’s Double Life.

Hoping that a swimming star could surpass a skating queen (Fox’s 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 Spotlight’s 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 That’s Entertainment!, the box-office blockbuster that featured a whole sequence around Esther’s 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 That’s 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. TCM’s marketing plan includes print ads in TCM’s popular Now Playing guide, banners on tcm.com, and on-air mentions by the network’s 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

Million Dollar Mermaid
Run Time: 115 minutes

Thrill of a Romance
Run Time: 105 minutes

Easy To Love
Run Time: 96 minutes

This Time For Keeps
Run Time: 105minutes

Fiesta
Run Time: 104 minutes
Pagan Love Song
Run Time: 76 minutes

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

Ronald J Epstein
Home Theater Forum co-owner

 

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#2 of 56 Richard M S

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Posted June 22 2009 - 01:14 AM

Wow, this is even better than I had hoped!! Awesome news!

All 6 films newly remastered with amazing extras! The deleted footage from PAGAN LOVE SONG! And even a Tommy Dorsey outtake from THRILL OF A ROMANCE!



And finally, MILLION DOLLAR MERMAID!

#3 of 56 Mark B

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Posted June 22 2009 - 01:18 AM

Excellent news!! I can not wait to get this.

#4 of 56 RafaelPires

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Posted June 22 2009 - 01:18 AM

It was about time!!! This set is highly antecipated in my wish list and I am very glad to find out it's finally coming.

Glad to hear about the inclusion of This Time for keeps and Thrill of a Romance.

WB, thanks a lot for this!!! Here hoping you will release a 3rd volume with Duchess of Idaho, Texas Carnival, Jupiter's Darling and Skirts Ahoy.

This being said, I can't wait till october to put my hads in this incredible set.

#5 of 56 Matt Hough

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Posted June 22 2009 - 02:03 AM

I'd rather have had JUPITER'S DARLING instead of FIESTA, but I'm not really going to complain. These are all entertaining films, and I look forward to getting this in the fall.

#6 of 56 Charles H

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Posted June 22 2009 - 02:26 AM

I understand that EW hated JUPITER'S DARLING (her only Scope film and final MGM), and I foolishly sold my LD of it. I hope that DUCHESS OF IDAHO and JD come out if only on the Archive. FIESTA is an interesting selection (and new to homevideo).
Charles Hoyt

#7 of 56 Richard M S

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Posted June 22 2009 - 02:57 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles H
I understand that EW hated JUPITER'S DARLING (her only Scope film and final MGM), and I foolishly sold my LD of it. I hope that DUCHESS OF IDAHO and JD come out if only on the Archive. FIESTA is an interesting selection (and new to homevideo).


Since I sold my JUPITER'S DARLING laser disc as well, I was hoping for that film's inclusion. However I also sold my VHS of MILLION DOLLAR MERMAID and PAGAN LOVE SONG so 2 out of 3 are not bad.

I also was hoping for the inclusion of the Busby Berkely documentary with MILLION DOLLAR MERMAID but I am not complaining at all, this set is extremely welcome news and it surpassed my expectations.

#8 of 56 Daniel BARBIEUX

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Posted June 22 2009 - 05:04 AM

I just hope they will make a good job on the restoration of "Million Dollar Mermaid". This movie looks superb in Technicolor. By the way, I have an unusual question : Let's pretend you get another WHV Press release tomorrow morning about another box set including ALL the Esther Williams musicals at MGM (from Bathing Beauty to Jupiter's Darling). The price ? $89.99.
How many of you would accept to buy it ? I know this is a strange question but there are only 4 musicals (Jupiter's Darling, Skirts Ahoy, Texas Carnival and Duchess of Idaho) still not available on DVD, that's the reason I do not understand why the people at Warner Bros do not release them on DVD.
But ... maybe they will come out on the archive.

Daniel.

#9 of 56 Charles H

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Posted June 22 2009 - 05:12 AM

Throw in A GUY NAMED JOE, ANDY HARDY'S DOUBLE LIFE, and THE HOODLUM SAINT and call it "The Compleat Esther Williams" and I'd pay $110 for it.
Charles Hoyt

#10 of 56 Daniel BARBIEUX

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Posted June 22 2009 - 05:19 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles H
Throw in A GUY NAMED JOE, ANDY HARDY'S DOUBLE LIFE, and THE HOODLUM SAINT and call it "The Compleat Esther Williams" and I'd pay $110 for it.

SOLD !!!

I do agree with you Charles, the compleat Esther Williams box set would be a very important one for every fan of this swimming superstar.
Daniel.

#11 of 56 Greg_M

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Posted June 22 2009 - 06:55 AM

Glad to See WB releasing cat titels - but honestly, will Esther Williams really sell?

#12 of 56 RafaelPires

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Posted June 22 2009 - 07:35 AM

Well, Greg, if you are not aware, this is the second volume of the Esther Williams collection So you have to agree that this is only being released because "volume 1" was a huge success.

And if you search in other forums and even on amazon you will find out tons of requests for a second volume of her movies.

And considering the excellent selection, I am sure it will sell very well.

#13 of 56 Rob_Ray

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Posted June 22 2009 - 09:06 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by RafaelPires
Well, Greg, if you are not aware, this is the second volume of the Esther Williams collection So you have to agree that this is only being released because "volume 1" was a huge success.

And if you search in other forums and even on amazon you will find out tons of requests for a second volume of her movies.

And considering the excellent selection, I am sure it will sell very well.

This should do quite well, since it includes "Million Dollar Mermaid" which may be her best picture. I remember when "That's Entertainment!" came out back in 1974. There was no home video in those days and few people were as familiar with these titles as we are today, thanks to TCM and DVDs. Everyone was thrilled to see the likes of "Singin' in the Rain" and "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" back on the big screen but the sequence that generated the most buzz among everyone I spoke with was the segment on Esther Williams, culminating with the clip from "Million Dollar Mermaid." We were blown away by the Busby Berkeley extravagance of it all. (Few of us had ever seen "Footlight Parade" in those days...)

#14 of 56 John_S

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Posted June 22 2009 - 09:12 AM

Count me in!!!

#15 of 56 Sammy-G

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Posted June 22 2009 - 09:58 AM

Awesome. I actually like this selection of films better than Vol 1. Wish it would have been out in time for summer (that's when I like to watch her movies) but I'm grateful and a little surprised that we're getting them at all.
Most-wanted R1s: The Patsy (1927); Personal Property (1937); Ever Since Eve (1937); Hold Back the Dawn (1941); Two-Faced Woman (1941); Kitty (1945); Yolanda and the Thief (1945); Black Magic (1949); Rapture (1965)

#16 of 56 ahollis

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Posted June 22 2009 - 01:36 PM

Thank Goodness. Another must buy.
"Get a director and a writer and leave them alone. That`s how the best pictures get made" - William "Wild Bill" Wellman


#17 of 56 Mike*HTF

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Posted June 22 2009 - 04:22 PM

Finally a proper classic (pressed) DVD announcement!

Definitely will pick this up.

#18 of 56 Drew Salzan

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Posted June 22 2009 - 11:41 PM

SOLD!

#19 of 56 ahollis

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Posted June 23 2009 - 01:41 AM

And we still have enough titles for Volume 3, Jupiter' Darling, Texas Carnival, Skirts Ahoy, and Duchess Of Idaho. Hoodlum Priest could be added to give us five films.

I am sure the Andy Hardy series will get it's on release also A Guy Named Joe, so Miss Williams my soon be as complete as Carman Miranda and Doris Day.

Swim on Esther, swim on.
"Get a director and a writer and leave them alone. That`s how the best pictures get made" - William "Wild Bill" Wellman


#20 of 56 RafaelPires

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Posted June 23 2009 - 06:14 AM

Carmen is not complete. We still need to get Springtime in the Rockies released by Fox.




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