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Tribute to the late ESTHER WILLIAMS in her famous 1944 film BATHING BEAUTY

This showing is a tribute to the late actress Esther Williams who passed away in her sleep on June 6. Though many movie buffs revere "Million Dollar Mermaid" as Esther Williams most breathtaking film, the most dazzling visual spectacle really takes place in her earlier 1944 film BATHING BEAUTY with breathtaking aqua production numbers directed by the legendary Busby Berkley (and the remainder of the film directed by George Sidney).

For those of you who are not familiar with the plot, hit songwriter Steve Elliott (Red Skelton) is getting married when his producer (Basil Rathbone) disrupts the ceremony to keep him focused on music; his bride (Esther Williams) leaves to teach at a women’s college and Steve uses every trick in the book to pursue her. Ex swimming champ Williams made such a splash in this first starring role that the Technicolor musical was retitled from its original “Mr. Co-Ed” to give her part its deserved prominence (the pool sequences are justifiably legendary).

At a time when most movies cost less than $2 million, MGM built Ms. Williams a $250,000 swimming pool on Stage 30 which was first used in BATHING BEAUTY. It had underwater windows, colored fountains and hydraulic lifts, and it was usually stocked with at least a dozen bathing beauties. Performing in that 25-foot-deep pool, which the swimmers nicknamed "Pneumonia Alley" (because it was so cold), Ms. Williams ruptured her eardrums seven times--according to longtime entertainment writer Aljean Harmetz. Ms. Harmetz wrote Esther's recent obit for the New York Times which is a quick, but recommended reading at the following weblink:

Tickets: $11 general admission or $7 for Cinematheque members

Advance online ticket purchase weblink:

Parking: Street meter parking is available within a block or two of the theatre

[Note: Attendees are invited to join Jono at a nearby restaurant for a pre-screening happy hour on Montana Avenue--more info forthcoming]

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  • Linda R.

    So sorry to have missed it. Looked like a fun double feature.

    July 20, 2013

  • Jono

    I apologize, but have been dealing with some major important, work related situations that prevented me from unexpectedly attending tonight's screening--please accept my apologies--did not mean to abandon any of you.

    July 19, 2013

  • Sheilah

    Boo hoo wud luv to go but already going to see Pink Martini at the bowl

    July 15, 2013

  • Linda R.

    Hi Juno!

    July 13, 2013

  • Anne Maria T.

    I am tentative right now. I hope to make it. It sounds like a great event!

    June 24, 2013

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