6.6/10
1,111
18 user 15 critic

Million Dollar Mermaid (1952)

Biopic of Australian swimming champ and entertainer Annette Kellerman. After overcoming polio, Kellerman achieves fame and creates a scandal when her one-piece bathing suit is considered indecent.

Director:

Mervyn LeRoy

Writer:

Everett Freeman (screenplay)
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Esther Williams ... Annette Kellerman
Victor Mature ... James Sullivan
Walter Pidgeon ... Frederick Kellerman
David Brian ... Alfred Harper
Donna Corcoran ... Annette - 10 years old
Jesse White ... Doc Cronnol
Maria Tallchief ... Pavlova
Howard Freeman ... Aldrich
Charles Watts Charles Watts ... Policeman
Wilton Graff ... Garvey
Frank Ferguson ... Prosecutor
James Bell ... Judge
James Flavin ... Conductor
Willis Bouchey ... Director
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Storyline

Million Dollar Mermaid tells the story of Australian swimming sensation Annette Kellerman, who overcame childhood polio to go on and achieve fame as a professional swimmer and film star in the early decades of the 20th century. At the same time, she scandalized the world by wearing a one-piece bathing suit on public beaches long before the style was accepted in polite company, and made waves in other ways as well. The story was a perfect vehicle decades later to showcase the star quality of Esther Williams in the 1950s, and Kellerman's moniker was picked up by Life Magazine when it named Ms. Williams the "Million Dollar Mermaid" herself. Written by Tedosan

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

An eye-filling musical spectacle...wonderful water-revels...marvelous music...rapturous romance...inspired by the real story of a fabulous swimming star. See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

13 March 1953 (Australia) See more »

Also Known As:

One Piece Suit See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film is considered the crown jewel of Esther Williams' career largely because, for once, MGM's writers were not called upon to find novel, far-fetched ways to get their star wet. Being the biography of a famous swimming star, the plot allowed Williams to organically spend nearly the entire running time in the water. See more »

Goofs

Annette Kellerman (Esther Williams) tells the judge that her swimsuit "will cover the entire body except the *forearms* and the head." However, the swimsuit she exhibits in court and which she wears in the following scenes does not cover *any part of her arms*. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Queer as Folk: Hard Decisions (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Jingle Bells
(uncredited)
Music by James Pierpont
Played at the Christmas party
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Million Dollar Mermaid A ****Honey
18 February 2009 | by edwagreenSee all my reviews

Wonderful film exhibiting the talents of Esther Williams portraying swimming Annette Kellerman at the turn of the 20th century.

The water sequences were never lovelier and the story of Kellerman, who overcame adversity as a young child, was remarkable.

Victor Mature is in fine form as her promoter and eventual lover, Frank Sullivan. Jesse White brings his comic relief as Sullivan's side-kick and Walter Pidgeon is endearing as her father.

Coming from Australia to star in the Hippidrome and other features, Kellerman exhibited outstanding talent in her swimming career while at the same time trying to maintain her dream of being a ballerina. Ballet star Maria Tallchief brief appears as the legendary Pavlova in the film.

When professional differences end her romance with Sullivan, Kellerman really makes it on her own thanks to the help of David Brian, as the head of the Hippidrome.

While the tragic accident she had while making "Neptune's Daughter" in Hollywood almost cost her her life, it brings on a wonderful moving ending.

This is a highly entertaining film.


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