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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
Williams is lovely as always in this colorful musical, but it lacks the effervescence and spectacle of some of her other, more memorable films. Here she plays the headliner of an aquatic show which also features piano-playing Durante, who has become a father figure to her over the years.
She's all set to settle down with kind, but bland Simmons when ex-GI Johnston spots her and recalls being charmed by her when he was hospitalized for a war injury. He begins wooing her heavily, but his father (opera singer Melchior) wants him to marry society debutante Stuart. Meanwhile, Johnston is busy trying to win over Williams' exacting grandmother Witty and precocious little niece McManus. There's a lot of music in the film and quite a bit of romantic complications and misunderstandings, but not really very much water ballet. At this stage in her career, Williams' acting hadn't quite reached a level of confidence or excellence so, while she is gorgeous and appealing, the film lacks the spark to put the contrived and convoluted story across. It doesn't help that the script is pretty lackluster or that her leading man Johnston is not exactly riveting either. He's an accomplished singer, but with very limited screen appeal. Durante holds things together to a point and Witty is always delightful. It just all seems to get spread a little thin by the time Melchior bellows out several numbers and Cugat (along with his worried little Chihuahua) performs several songs featuring an attractive female singer. One major asset (apart from the sight of Williams in her various drop-dead clothes and tasteful swimsuits) is the location work on Mackinac Island with it's stately buildings and eye-catching scenery. ("Somewhere in Time" enthusiasts will recall this magnificent location as well.) Fans of "Search for Tomorrow" will be delighted to see Stuart in her small role as the young fiancée.
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