Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Great On Screen Couples: Esther Williams and Van Johnson.

Esther Williams and Van Johnson, performed in five movies together. It was when Esther Williams landed a small part in the film, A Guy Named Joe, that she first met and worked with Van Johnson.

The studio's publicity department tried put the two together in the hopes of encouraging a romance. When asked why they didn't date, Johnson replied, "because I'm afraid she can't get her webbed feet into a pair of evening sandals".

A Guy Named Joe was then followed by, Thrill of a Romance(1945). Directed by Richard Thorpe. The film tells the story of Cynthia Glenn, who, after a whirlwind romance, marries a rich businessman. As luck would have it, on the first day of their honeymoon, her new husband is called away on business, leaving her alone at a resort. During this time, she meets and falls in love with Tommy Milvaine, played by Van Johnson. I thought this was a very nice romantic film. . Lauritz Melchior,(Nils Knudsen) sings many songs since he was a wonderful opera star. Loved seeing Tommy Dorsey and his orchestra.

Next on the list is the film, Easy to Wed (1946), a remake of 1936's Libeled Lady, with Johnson and Lucille Ball. The story begins when J.B. Allenbury is determined to file a $2 million libel suit against The Morning Star when the newspaper prints a story claiming his daughter Connie was responsible for the breakup of a marriage. Reporter Bill Chandler's job, is to prove that the story was true. I think this maybe one of my favorite Lucille Ball performance.

Duchess of Idaho (1950). is a musical romantic comedy. Directed by Robert Z. Leonard, it was the fourth film pairing Esther Williams and Van Johnson. It was shot mainly on location in Sun Valley, Idaho. Christine Riverton Duncan, plays matchmaker for her friend Ellen by helping her pursue Douglas J. Morrissen, Jr., all the way to Idaho. There, Christine decides to play a joke on Douglas. After boarding his train to Sun Valley, Christine shocks him with hints that she expects a commitment. Once she's in Sun Valley, things become complicated when Christine falls in love with hotel bandleader, Dick Layne. The songs are wonderful, as well as the swimming numbers. And a couple of fun cameos. Which I want to keep a secret. :)

Next on the list of films, Easy to Love(1953). Was filmed on location in Cypress Gardens, where a Florida-shaped pool had been built specifically for the film. Williams character is in love with her boss and finally wins him over when she starts an affair with another man. Fun Fact: Tony Martin bumps into Cyd Charise (in a cameo), his real-life wife at the time.

Supposedly Esther Williams favorite of her movies.


  1. Dawn, you keep choosing some unlikely couples in my universe. I haven't seen any of the films they starred together in!

  2. I know what you mean.. Sometimes, I feel the same way when I read your movie reviews.. Which.. I think is a good thing.. I have watched a lot of "new to me" movies, that I may have never known about. :)

  3. I thought Esther and Van made a great pair. Finally saw Easy to Wed a few months ago. Loved it! Great post Dawn!

  4. Monty, Wasn't Lucille Ball great?

  5. I've seen several Esther Williams films, but not the three earlier ones you mentioned in this post.

    I noticed you also did a later post about Gene Tierney. She and Williams are my choice for the most beautiful actresses of the 40s. (And Williams run neck and neck with Grace Kelly in the 50s).

  6. Chip Lary, Easy to Wed (1946), is my favorite of the films, I just listed.. I hope you get a chance to see all of them..

    I'm also a huge fan of both Gene Tierney and Esther Williams.


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