The MGM Musical Magic Blogathon…

on-an-island-with-you 2
source: MGM

It’s typical for most Esther Williams‘ films to start with some sort of swimming number.

The film doesn’t necessarily need it, but since Williams was an ex-swimmer it’s shoehorned into the film anyway.

On an Island With You is no different.

Directed by Richard Thorpe, and co-starring a talented cast that boasts the likes of Cyd Charisse, Peter Lawford, Richardo Montalban, Leon Ames, and Xavier Cugat, On an Island With You is your quintessential MGM musical.

With a flowery set, endless musical numbers and an impromptu cameo from a bandleader, the movie tells the story of a swimming star Rosalind Reynolds (Williams) and her efforts to film a movie in the lush jungles of Hawaii.

Stringing along her fiancé, Ricardo Montez (Montalban), on the island (hehe) the movie’s technical director, Lt. Lawrence Y. Kingslee (Lawford)  falls in love with her instead. If the plot can’t get any wackier, Rosalind’s best friend, Yvonne Torro (Charisse) gets enamored with her friend’s almost husband, thus leading to a love rectangle, of sorts.

on an island with you 3
source: MGM

The rest of the movie sees Lawrence attempting to wine and dine Rosalind despite her being very involved with another man.  It isn’t until he kidnaps her on a prop jet, whisking her away to different Hawaiian island that the plot really starts to kick into high gear.

While this is happening, Rosalind’s fiancé and the search party he brings together gets kidnapped by a group of cannibals who inhabit the island Lawrence took Rosalind on. Luckily, by the time Lawrence confesses his feelings for Rosalind and her fiancé finds them, in traditional classic Hollywood fashion, the problem gets fixed in the end.

Yvonne gets involved with Ricardo and Lawrence finally has his love reciprocated by Rosalind.


To be quite frank, when I initially watched this film, I really enjoyed it. Re-visiting it 3 years later, it didn’t leave the same impression it did a couple of years earlier.

I will admit, it’s a great movie, but compared the classic MGM greats, it’s hard to have On an Island with You stick out in your head.

Of course, there are people who enjoy the film, I can’t say I’m one of them. That’s not to say this movie doesn’t have great moments – because it does. Peter Lawford, for example, is a great actor. I’ve always loved him in whatever role he took on, this film is no different.

All in all, On an Island with You has a great premise but fails to make any lasting impact. Maybe, I’ll revisit it again in the future, who knows?

 

To read the rest of the entries click: here.

Advertisements

The Mesmerizing Colour Palettes of Oceans 11 (1960)

oceans11
source: Warner Bros

I’ve always had a fascination with Las Vegas – vintage Las Vegas in particular. Vegas always had this aura of mystery and secrecy to me.

Despite it being a popular tourist destination, I have always felt that ‘Sin City’ was reserved for gangsters, ruffians, and showgirls that were desperately looking to con you out of your money. That’s the thing about Vegas because it has this shiny facade of colors and wealth, we don’t see that seedy underbelly underneath all of the glitz and glamour.

Come to think of it, that’s the perfect way to summarize the 1960 heist film Ocean’s 11. Starring Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr, Peter Lawford, Joey Bishop and Angie Dickinson otherwise known as ‘The Rat Pack’, Ocean’s 11 is basically a 2-hour self-congratulatory movie made to showcase how awesome it is to robe few casino with 10 of your closest friends.

It’s a very enjoyable flick, don’t get me wrong. It’s so enjoyable that I even have this poster of the movie on my bedroom wall. The problem with Ocean’s is that it isn’t the best plot-wise. There tends to be a ton of moments in the film where there’s a lot of standing and talking, talking and standing. That would be great if it were a courtroom drama, but for an action-adventure picture, it gets tired very quickly.

That’s where the cinematography comes in.

What’s so great about Ocean’s 11 is the way it looks. The movie’s cinematographer William H. Daniels did such a fantastic job on this movie that the cinematography makes up for what the plot lacks. The vivid colors contrasted with the black backgrounds is something I would frame and put in my living room.

oceans11-4
source: Warner Bros
oceans11-5
source: Warner Bros
oceans11-3
source: Warner Bros
oceans11-9
source: Warner Bros
oceans11-10
source: Warner Bros
oceans11-8
source: Warner Bros

As you can see above, there are dozens of instances in the film where the contrasts of colors are breathtaking.

Even though I don’t necessarily enjoy certain aspects of the movie, the cinematography more than makes up for what the script is lacking.

That’s what so great about this movie. It’s fun, slow-paced and doesn’t take itself too seriously. If you have the chance to watch it on TCM or buy it on DVD, it’s undoubtedly a great movie to cozy up with on a Saturday evening, paired with your favorite beverage and a nice bowl of popcorn.