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.
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
This film is an enigma because, while it is a properly light-hearted musical (but weren't they all), it also boasts a great many oddities- starting with the strange title (exactly what in the film is "for keeps?"). Esther Williams plays a properly likable, properly beautiful, water ballerina whose relationship with Jimmy Durante (a legend whom I've always enjoyed) should have been that of a father and daughter, but instead is something a tad stranger. Thankfully, this isn't ignored in the film, as her actual love interest (Johnnie Johnston), whom Durante relentlessly 'protects' from Williams, challenges his interference in the film's 11th hour. (While Durante seems to have a bothered conscience about this, it is never confirmed or denied.) Co-starring with Williams and Durante is the very genteel and old-school tenor Lauritz Melchior as Johnston's meddlesome (and somewhat annoying) father. The musical numbers are delightful, if a tad uneven in quality. I wasn't particularly fond of Durante's "Lost Chord" routine, but it appears to be legendary with most listeners. I prefer Johnston's "Easy To Love," the various Xavier Cugat pieces, and most of all, the provocative striptease and swim of "Ten Percent Off."
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