Million Dollar Mermaid (1952)

Million Dollar Mermaid (1952)





Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Million Dollar Mermaid Photos

Movie Info

Who else but Esther Williams could star in a romantic drama (with musical numbers) bearing a title like this? In Million Dollar Mermaid, Williams plays Annette Kellerman, a real-life Australian swimming star who took up the sport as a child to strengthen her legs, which were severely weakened by a birth defect. The treatment proves effective, and as she grows to adulthood, Annette shows that she has the talent to be a champion swimmer, though she prefers to follow her dream of becoming a ballet dancer. When Annette's father Frederick (Walter Pidgeon) accepts a position in London teaching music, Annette opts to go with him, and along the way she meets James Sullivan (Victor Mature) and Doc Cronnol (Jesse White), the joint-owners of a boxing kangaroo they intend to exhibit in London. James is already aware of Annette's abilities as a competitive swimmer, and he offers to be her manager and help her earn a living from her aquatic skills. At first Annette isn't interested, but when Frederick's job falls through and she can't find work as a dancer, Annette reluctantly agrees to work with James. He arranges a publicity stunt in which Annette swims 30 miles down the Thames River, which attracts the avid attention of the British press and wins her some work as a dancer. Convinced that the big money is in America, James persuades Annette to travel with him to the U.S., where she creates a scandal in Boston by staging another long swim in a one-piece bathing suit, considered shockingly-revealing at the turn of the Century. The stunt nearly lands Annette in jail, but she escapes the long arm of the law and becomes the star of a water ballet revue. Annette had fallen in love with James, but after an argument, he resigns as her manager and Annette takes up with Alfred Harper (David Brian), the male lead in her show. Annette and Alfred agree to marry while working on a movie together, but James returns on the last day of shooting, determined to win back the heart of the woman he loves. Legendary choreographer Busby Berkeley staged the film's elaborate water-ballet sequences.
Drama , Musical & Performing Arts
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Esther Williams
as Annette Kellerman
Victor Mature
as James Sullivan
Walter Pidgeon
as Frederick Kellerman
David Brian
as Alfred Harper
Donna Corcoran
as Annette (age 10)
Jesse White
as Doc Cronnel
Howard Freeman
as Aldrich
Charles Watts
as Policeman
Wilton Graff
as Garvey
Frank Ferguson
as Prosecutor
James Bell
as Judge
James Flavin
as Conductor
Charles Heard
as Official
Queenie Leonard
as Mrs. Graves
Wilson Benge
as Caretaker
Al Ferguson
as London Bobby
Thomas P. Dillon
as Process Server
Creighton Hale
as Husband
Vernon P. Downing
as Newspaper Man
James L. Kelly
as Policeman
Pat Flaherty
as Policeman
Paul Bradley
as Defense Attorney
Jimmy Aubrey
as Pawnbroker
Patrick O'Moore
as Master of Ceremonies
George D. Wallace
as Bud Williams
Paul H. Frees
as Band Leader
Louis Manley
as Fire-eater
Edward Clark
as Elderly Man
Pat O'Moore
as Master of Ceremonies
Rod Rogers
as Marcellino the Clown
Harry Hines
as Watchman
Tom Dillon
as Process Server
Mack Chandler
as Robbie the Prop Man
Gail Bonney
as Outraged Woman
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Critic Reviews for Million Dollar Mermaid

All Critics (3)

If you can get past the tedious love story, then you will be rewarded in seeing the absolute best water-ballet routines ever filmed.

Full Review… | September 20, 2005
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Quote not available.

March 14, 2013

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May 30, 2007

Audience Reviews for Million Dollar Mermaid

There is nothing spectacular about the story and the biopic in general, but the film provides plenty of great water numbers by Esther Williams. It's an old-fashioned MGM extravaganza and a joy to watch

Vadim Dyment
Vadim Dyment

Esther Williams' most ambitious MGM film features amazing water ballets directed by Busby Berkeley and a sappy love story.

Michael Troudt
Michael Troudt

★★1/2 (out of four) Lush and colorful swimming musical numbers highlights this highly fictionized account of the legendary swimmer/actress Annette Kellerman. While I admire the efforts put into the lavish production, the script and story still limps along with a slew of clunky dialogue and hammy performances. Esther Williams plays Kellerman. Despite barely being able to walk as a child she is able to grow up to be a world class swimmer. She plays on Broadway as well as in many silent films [IMG][/IMG] Looks nice, but lacks substance.

Steve Smith
Steve Smith

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