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Scatterbrained Betty Barrett mistakes masseur Jack Spratt for Jose O'Rourke, the captain of the South American polo team. Spratt goes along with the charade, but the situation becomes more complicated when they fall in love. Meanwhile, Betty's sensible older sister Eve fears Betty's heart will be broken when Jose returns to South America. She arranges to meet with the real O'Rourke and love soon blossoms between them as well. Written by
Daniel Bubbeo <email@example.com>
A specially built, one-of-a-kind piano had been used during the early filming, but halfway through production it mysteriously disappeared from the set. Metro boss Louis B. Mayer was very upset at the lack of security and the increased production costs this would mean. Red Skelton told the studio head that he had an identical piano at home and would be willing to rent it to the studio. Mayer didn't believe him until Skelton drove him to his apartment to see it. An ecstatic Mayer offered $50 per diem for its use, but Red held out for $1000 a day. Faced with the prospect of keeping production waiting while a new one was built to order or reshooting the earlier scenes, Mayer capitulated. It never occurred to him that Skelton had stolen it with the aid of stagehands with whom he split the money. See more »
During the polo game at the end of the film, tire tracks from the camera car can be seen on the field right beside the players on horseback. See more »
Two of MGM's biggest box office attractions teamed once again for the film Neptune's Daughter in 1949. Esther Williams and Red Skelton certainly brought their own respective fan bases for this film. With these two MGM was fighting the good fight against the increasing drawing power of television which would certainly soon claim Skelton.
Esther Williams and scatterbrained mantrap sister Betty Garrett are peddling a new line of swimwear and no one could certainly model her own designs better than Esther Williams both in and out of the water. But she's constantly worried about all the boyfriends that Garrett is finding and then discarding. Better to keep a close eye on her.
Enter masseuse Red Skelton at the club resort that Williams and Garrett are staying. He's got no luck with women at all. So he seeks advice from South American polo player Ricardo Montalban who's a devil with the ladies. Red not only seeks advice, but he appropriates Montalban's character name of Jose O'Rourke. That causes some real problems when Montalban courts Williams and Williams learns somebody named Jose O'Rouke has been calling on Garrett.
Red has some really inventive comedy routines one involving tricking Mike Mazurki into thinking he needs a spinal adjustment while he's being held against his will. And the climax is a hilarious polo match where Skelton substitutes for Montalban in a polo match where gamblers are trying for a fix. I've seen many different sports lampooned in film, but Neptune's Daughter is the only film around that took to satirizing polo.
Frank Loesser who was really coming into his own as a writer of both music and lyrics did the score for Neptune's Daughter. Loesser had a big hit in Charley's Aunt running on Broadway and was working on another project when Neptune's Daughter came out, a musical based on Damon Runyon characters called Guys And Dolls. Played instrumentally, but not sung is his previous hit On A Slow Boat To China done during a fashion show sequence involving Esther Williams's swim suits.
And Loesser brought home the film's Oscar for best song with Baby, It's Cold Outside. Montalban and Williams do it first and later there's a comic obbligato from Skelton and Garrett. The big selling record for this song came from Dinah Shore and Buddy Clark in a duet recorded just before Clark was killed in a plane crash. It's a delightful and bouncy number that readily lends itself to satire. I have bootleg recording of a radio broadcast where Charles Laughton and Elsa Lanchester do it. Turn that one over in your minds.
Topping it all off is a water ballet by Esther and they typically got bigger and better in films as she tried to top herself. Williams was really fortunate that her career was with MGM because it would only be a major studio that would have invested the production values in her films.
Because of that this very charming musical comedy holds up very well for today's audience.
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