This Time for Keeps (1947): Thorpe’s Romantic Musical, Starring Esther Williams

Vet filmmaker Richard Thorpe directed This Time for Keeps, a romantic musical, starring Esther Williams, Jimmy Durante, Johnnie Johnston and opera singer Lauritz Melchior.

This Time for Keeps
Thistimeforkeeps poster.jpg

Theatrical release poster

It became the second film (after Fiesta), in which Williams’s name was billed above the title.

Produced by MGM, it concerns a soldier returning home from war, who does not wish to work for his father’s opera company or to continue his relationship with his pre-war lover.

The film was shot in color and partly on location at the Grand Hotel, on Mackinac Island in Michigan.

Richard Herald (Lauritz Melchior) is a famous opera singer and father to Richard Herald II, who has recently returned from the war and now prefers to be known as Dick Johnson (Johnnie Johnston). Dick has been engaged to socialite Frances Allenbury (Mary Stuart), but he’s still apprehensive about marrying her.

Mr. Herald wants his son to join him at the opera company, but Dick wants to enjoy his life now that he’s out of the army. Backstage at the theater, he sees a magazine featuring Leonora “Nora” Cambaretti (Williams), an aquacade star.  It turns out they had met before, after Dick got injured in the war, he stayed at a hospital where Leonora performed for the patients.


Directed by Richard Thorpe
Produced by Joe Pasternak
Written by Lorraine Fielding, Erwin S. Gelsey, Gladys Lehman, Hans Wilhelm
Cinematography: Karl Freund
Edited by John D. Dunning
Distributed by MGM
Release date: October 17, 1947
Running time: 105 minutes
Budget: $2,648,000
Box office: $4,406,000


TCM showed the movie on April 27, 2020.