Sunday, March 19, 2023

Tonight's Movie: Neptune's Daughter (1949) - A Warner Archive Blu-ray Review

One of my favorite Esther Williams films, NEPTUNE'S DAUGHTER (1949), has just been released on Blu-ray by the Warner Archive Collection.

The movie costars Ricardo Montalban, Betty Garrett, Red Skelton, and Xavier Cugat in a lovely piece of fluff about a gorgeous swimsuit designer (Williams) romantically pursued by a handsome South American polo player (Montalban).

Meanwhile, the swimsuit designer's extremely giddy sister (Garrett) mistakes a masseuse (Skelton) for the polo player, with predictably silly results.

I previously reviewed the movie here over a decade ago, in 2012, and refer readers to that review for more on why I love the movie so much. A pair of classy, attractive leads plus the music, sets, color, wardrobes, and Xavier Cugat create a delightful and diverting 95 minutes.

Highlights include a dance number with the Cugat Orchestra, the swimming finale, and of course, "Baby It's Cold Outside," which originated in this film and won Frank Loesser an Oscar.

The one drawback to the movie is that Skelton can be wearing; over the many times I've seen it I find that how annoying he is seems to depend on my mood. In my previous review I was quite positive about his performance, while I found him more tiresome on this viewing. Garrett, on the other hand, will always be a favorite, no matter how goofy her character.

NEPTUNE'S DAUGHTER was directed by Edward Buzzell and filmed in Technicolor by Charles Rosher. The lovely costumes were created by Irene.

The supporting cast includes Keenan Wynn, Theresa Harris, Mel Blanc, Mike Mazurki, and Ted de Corsia.

Regular readers know I typically rave about the quality of Warner Archive Blu-rays, but there were a couple odd things about this disc compared to the norm. First, the sound levels were unusually low, requiring me to turn the volume on my set up much higher than normal.

Second, because of the low sound levels I checked out the closed captions and was surprised to find they were substantially out of sync, appearing ahead of the actual spoken dialogue through the entirety of the disc. Just a heads up for anyone who relies on captioning.

The picture for the most part was bright and colorful, particularly in the swim finale; I did feel the color in a couple dramatic scenes was somewhat less vivid than I was expecting. As far as I noticed, the print was otherwise good, free of lines and other types of glitches.

It's a solid release, if not the absolute top tier of the Warner Archive's MGM musical Blu-ray discs such as GOOD NEWS (1947) or BRIGADOON (1954), to name two fine examples. The overall quality of the film plus the nice batch of extras make this a recommended disc, with the noted reservations.

Disc extras consist of the trailer; a song selection menu, which I always appreciate; the Pete Smith Specialty short WATER TRIX (1949); the Tom and Jerry cartoon HATCH UP YOUR TROUBLES (1949); an outtake song; Esther Williams' cameo from CALLAWAY WENT THATAWAY (1951); and a radio promo interview.

Thanks to the Warner Archive for providing a review copy of this Blu-ray. Warner Archive Blu-rays may be ordered from the Amazon Warner Archive Collection Store, Movie Zyng, or from any online retailers were Blu-rays are sold.


Blogger mel said...

This is good news about NEPTUNE'S DAUGHTER. I wish they would issue my favorite Esther Williams movie, BATHING BEAUTY (1944) in BluRay...

10:29 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

I'd also be thrilled with a Blu-ray release of BATHING BEAUTY, Mel. And DUCHESS OF IDAHO and THRILL OF A ROMANCE, too. :)

Best wishes,

10:34 PM  

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