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The bronzed and be-flowered Mimi, a half-American, half-Tahitian girl, was raised on the island but longs for the good old U.S. of A. "All my life's been one long vacation," she sighs, "and I'm bored." Luckily, Hap Endicott arrives on the scene. He's an Ohio schoolteacher who has come to manage his late uncle's coconut plantation. The two meet cute, and love and singing ensue. Includes songs at the drop of the hat, some terrific Tahitian dancing, and a lovely moment when a lovelorn Hap looks up and sees Mimi swimming gracefully among the clouds. Written by
The original title for this film was "Tahiti." The writers of the music for the film, 'Harry Warren' and Arthur Freed, wrote a song by that title, but when the title of the movie was changed, the song was dropped and Nacio Herb Brown and Freed's "Pagan Love Song" was added. See more »
Generally considered the worst of the films created by MGM's legendary "Freed Unit," and probably not helped by the ineptitude of its inexperienced and temperamentally unsuited director, Robert Alton, it still boasts the incredible radiance of Esther Williams, and baby, can that gal radiate. Beautiful wet or dry, she's perfect for fluff of this pitch and though disparaged by Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly for her lack of talent (which they encountered in "Take Me Out to the Ball Game," she's still consummately professional. Would you want to see a film this dopey starring a Meryl Streep? I don't think so. Williams projects vitality, sexuality, life-force and intelligence as the Tahitian-American aristocrat mistaken for a local peasant by island newcomer Howard Keel. A better script might have toyed with this classic musical mix-up for its entire length, but this one disposes of it by Minute 25, leaving it nowhere else to go. What follows is beautiful scenery (Maui standing in for Tahiti), some unmemorable songs (mostly by the great Arthur Freed himself), a lot of racial condescension which will set your teeth to grinding, an underused 17-year-old Rita Moreno, plus somebody's idea of "native dancing" with color co-ordinated hula skirts. Keel is sunny. broad-shouldered and shallow, but Esther's buoyancy keeps the thing afloat and watchable. I have to say at one time Keel fantasizes about her, and imagines her in a water ballet. Hmmm, I know if I fantasized about her, it wouldn't be in no stinkin' water ballet!
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