6.5/10
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18 user 15 critic

Million Dollar Mermaid (1952)

Biopic of Australian swimming champ and entertainer Annette Kellerman. After overcoming polio, Kellerman achieves fame and creates a scandal when her one-piece bathing suit is considered indecent.

Director:

Mervyn LeRoy

Writer:

Everett Freeman (screenplay)
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Esther Williams ... Annette Kellerman
Victor Mature ... James Sullivan
Walter Pidgeon ... Frederick Kellerman
David Brian ... Alfred Harper
Donna Corcoran ... Annette - 10 years old
Jesse White ... Doc Cronnol
Maria Tallchief ... Pavlova
Howard Freeman ... Aldrich
Charles Watts Charles Watts ... Policeman
Wilton Graff ... Garvey
Frank Ferguson ... Prosecutor
James Bell ... Judge
James Flavin ... Conductor
Willis Bouchey ... Director
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Storyline

Million Dollar Mermaid tells the story of Australian swimming sensation Annette Kellerman, who overcame childhood polio to go on and achieve fame as a professional swimmer and film star in the early decades of the 20th century. At the same time, she scandalized the world by wearing a one-piece bathing suit on public beaches long before the style was accepted in polite company, and made waves in other ways as well. The story was a perfect vehicle decades later to showcase the star quality of Esther Williams in the 1950s, and Kellerman's moniker was picked up by Life Magazine when it named Ms. Williams the "Million Dollar Mermaid" herself. Written by Tedosan

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

M.G.M's Miracle Technicolor Musical! (Million Dollar Mermaid) See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

13 March 1953 (Australia) See more »

Also Known As:

One Piece Suit See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film is considered the crown jewel of Esther Williams' career largely because, for once, MGM's writers were not called upon to find novel, far-fetched ways to get their star wet. Being the biography of a famous swimming star, the plot allowed Williams to organically spend nearly the entire running time in the water. See more »

Goofs

Annette Kellerman (Esther Williams) tells the judge that her swimsuit "will cover the entire body except the *forearms* and the head." However, the swimsuit she exhibits in court and which she wears in the following scenes does not cover *any part of her arms*. See more »

Quotes

James Sullivan: Baby, somewhere along the line, we got our signals crossed. You've got it into your head that you're Joan of Arc. Well, get it out fast. You're a swimmer doing a tank act in Sullivan's water carnival, and not a bad show either.
Annette Kellerman: And how long can it last? After all, all we're doing is capitalizing on a lot of cheap bathing suit publicity.
James Sullivan: Well, what do you think this Aldrich thing is anyway? All he's trying to do is cash in on the same dodge, a ballyhoo that I arranged.
Annette Kellerman: That you arranged?
James Sullivan: Sure. ...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Featured in That's Entertainment, Part II (1976) See more »

Soundtracks

When You Wore a Tulip (and I Wore a Big Red Rose)
(uncredited)
Music by Percy Wenrich
Played as carnival music for the first day of the show
See more »

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User Reviews

Excellent Esther Williams film is biography of Annette Kellerman...
26 May 2001 | by DoylenfSee all my reviews

Annette Kellerman was an Australian swimming star who created a scandal in 1902 by introducing the one-piece bathing suit at a public beach. Her rise from obscurity is chronicled here, after a bout with a childhood illness that left her crippled for awhile. America's swimming sweetheart Esther Williams was the obvious choice to play the champion swimmer and she does a fine job. She gets solid support from Victor Mature as a cocky promoter with Walter Pidgeon and David Brian in good supporting roles.

The main ingredients are the swimming numbers--and the highlight is the acquacade spectacular choreographed by none other than Busby Berkeley. With exceptional color photography, good script and more than competent performances, this one is a winner.

Victor Mature has a colorful performance as the cocky promoter.

As for Esther Williams, it's easy to see why she was a top box-office draw at MGM during the '40s and '50s.


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