Plunging her way through a series of delightfully over-the-top swim musicals, Esther Williams, TCM Star Of The Month for May, spread bubbly euphoria through movie audiences of the 1940’s and ‘50’s. Critic James Agee aptly compared her to “a porpoise amused by its own sex appeal.” A champion swimmer born in Los Angeles, Williams served a brief apprenticeship at MGM before making a huge splash in Bathing Beauty (1944), which had been planned as a comedy vehicle for Red Skelton but quickly turned into a showcase for the movies’ new aquatic star. Van Johnson partnered Esther Williams in four of her most popular films, Thrill of a Romance (1945), Easy to Wed (1946), Duchess of Idaho (1950) and Easy to Love (1953). But her signature film at MGM was Million Dollar Mermaid (1952), a movie biopic of her forerunner in swim-spectacle stardom, Annette Kellerman.
Check your local listings for schedule of Esther Williams films on TCM in May