Expected to follow his opera star father into the business, but discontent with his life; a young man pursues a career in popular music and romances the aquatic-ballet dancer he met during his time in the service.
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A singing soldier (Johnny Johnston) newly returned home finds himself discontent to work in his father's opera company or pick up where he left off with his girlfriend. Having met an aquacade showgirl (Esther Williams) while in the service, he reintroduces himself. Romance blossoms. Written by
The film's television premiere took place in Los Angeles Friday 24 May 1957 on KTTV (Channel 11); it was first telecast in Philadelphia Wednesday 13 August 1958 on WFIL (Channel 6), in New York City 11 December 1959 on WCBS (Channel 2) and in San Francisco 16 April 1960 on KGO (Channel 7). At this time, color broadcasting was in its infancy, limited to only a small number of high rated programs, primarily on NBC and NBC affiliated stations, so these film showings were all still in B&W. Viewers were not offered the opportunity to see these films in their original Technicolor until several years later. See more »
A film with great talent like Esther Williams, Lauritz Melchior, Jimmy Durante, Xavier Cugat and May Witty promises a lot, they're great enough individually but seeing them together in the same film is every bit as big a treat. None of the five stars disappoint, but 'This Time For Keeps' as a film could have been much more.
Getting the flaws out of the way, the script really lacks lustre in places, lacks wit and sophistication and anybody looking for sense will be short-changed. The story is flimsy nonsense and often painfully predictable with some draggy pacing in a few scenes that aren't musical numbers.
Despite singing decently, Johnnie Johnston is a charisma-free presence and fails to generate much chemistry with the rest of the cast. Richard Thorpe's direction is competent but undistinguished.
Conversely, 'This Time For Keeps' is lavishly mounted and shot in glorious Technicolor. The songs are pleasant, while the operatic/classical music segments provided by Melchior (which include the likes of "La Donna E Mobile", "M' Apari" and even a bit of Otello) are even better. They benefit from being energetically staged.
Most of the cast work very well. Williams radiates with charm and her swimming talent is second to none. Durante is very funny and seems to be having a ball. Melchior sings with his usual thrilling ring, sounding absolutely wonderful, and is cuddly and amusing. Cugat sends up a storm and Witty is just delightful.
Overall, a pleasant diversion but unexceptional, with the cast being the biggest merit. 6/10 Bethany Cox
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