Dangerous When Wet (1953)

Genres - Comedy, Musical, Romance  |   Sub-Genres - Romantic Comedy, Musical Comedy  |   Release Date - Jul 3, 1953 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 95 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Dangerous When Wet is one of Esther Williams' best vehicles, the rare one in which the plot actually counts for something. The basic setup -- Williams must swim the English Channel in order to make money to save her family's farm, but love interest Fernando Lamas keeps getting in the way -- clearly gives the aquatic star plenty of opportunity to show off her athletic ability, most memorably in a lovely dream water ballet with cartoon stars Tom and Jerry. But Williams, never a great actress, does surprisingly well in her dramatic and comedic scenes as well. She's helped by a genuine chemistry between her and Lamas, but even in the sequences without him, she does quite well. The script is by-the-numbers and predictable, but it's enjoyable and the climax still generates more than sufficient suspense. The score is quite enjoyable, if not quite first-rate, and Charles Walters directs with a modicum of flair and a minimum of fuss. William Demarest and Charlotte Greenwood, the latter still capable of doing some impressively athletic dance moves, are great fun, and Jack Carson turns in a good performance as the not-so-slick promoter. Dangerous When Wet is great fun, even for those who are not necessarily Williams devotees.