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Alfred E. Green,
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
Esther Williams stars in "This Time for Keeps," costarring Johnny Johnston, Dame May Witty, Jimmy Durante, and Lauritz Melchior. I guess the Third Reich was still a little too close for comfort, because the magnificent Heldentenor Melchior only sings Italian repertoire in this film, albeit magnificently. He was, of course, one of the all time great, if not the greatest, Wagnerian tenor in history.
Williams is the beautiful star of aquatic ballet when ex-GI Richard Johnson (Johnston) falls for her, having met her once while he was in the service. His father (Melchior) has other plans for him, and they include singing with an opera company and marrying the girl he left behind.
It's a thin story - after all, there has to be room for lots of swimming and singing. Esther is a goddess both in and out of the water, and Durante is terrific as her protective friend and work partner. Although referred to as a handsome man and a magnificent singer, Johnny Johnston makes a goofy looking leading man with a pleasant voice that only a father could think was suitable for opera, though he had some pretty high notes. Melchior rips up the sound system with "La Donna e Mobile" and "M'appari." Gorgeous. Durante's big number is "The Lost Chord," a real delight.
Entertaining, but a little draggy, with some beautiful location shots of Mackinac Island.
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