Neptune’s Daughter (1949): Musical Comedy with Underwater Star Esther Williams

One of underwater star Esther Williams’ most popular vehicles, MGM’s Technicolor musical Neptune’s Daughter is a light, enjoyable, even campy fare.

Williams, who plays Eve Barrett, a bathing-suit manufacturer and model, is paired with Red Skelton as Jack Spratt, the masseur at a fancy polo club, who falls for Eve’s sister (Betty Garrett).

To prove worthy of her love, Jack poses as a Latin polo star Jose O’Rourke (Ricardo Montalban), resulting in all kinds of comic complications.

The slapstick setpieces include a horse-mounting routine and a climactic set-to between Skelton and petty crook Mike Mazurk,

Mel Blanc is cast as a slow-talking Mexican, and Cugat plays “himself.”

One of Williams’ most commercial film, Neptune’s Daughter opened on June 10, 1949, and became one of the year’s ten top-grossing pictures.

Oscar Context:

The film’s musical high point is the Oscar-winning “Baby It’s Cold Outside,” performed first by Williams and Montalban, and then again by Skelton and Garrett.

Credits

Running time: 92 minutes.

Directed by Edward Buzzell

Written by Dorothy Kingsley

Released: June 1, 1949

DVD: July 17, 2007

MGM