Million Dollar Mermaid
|Million Dollar Mermaid|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Mervyn LeRoy|
|Produced by||Arthur Hornblow, Jr.|
|Written by||Everett Freeman|
|Music by||Alexander Courage (orchestrator)
Adolph Deutsch (conductor & music score)
|Cinematography||George J. Folsey|
|Editing by||John McSweeney, Jr.|
|Release dates||December 4, 1952|
|Running time||115 minutes|
|Box office||$2.75 million (US rentals)|
Million Dollar Mermaid (also known as The One Piece Bathing Suit in the UK) is a 1952 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer biographical musical film of the life of Australian swimming star Annette Kellerman. It was directed by Mervyn LeRoy and produced by Arthur Hornblow Jr. from a screenplay by Everett Freeman. The music score was by Adolph Deutsch, the cinematography by George J. Folsey and the choreography by Busby Berkeley.
In the late 19th Century, a polio-stricken Australian girl, Annette Kellerman, swims as a means to improve her health. Her father, Frederick, who owns a music conservatory, accepts a teaching position in England.
Aboard ship, Annette encounters the American promoter James Sullivan and his associate Doc Cronnol, who are taking a boxing kangaroo called Sidney with them to London.
The teaching position falls through and Jimmy suggests promoting Annette in a six-mile swim to Greenwich. She volunteers to make it 26 miles instead. Word spreads of the swim and Annette's feat makes news.
Jimmy suggests they can make a fortune by going to New York and appearing in Alfred Harper's water ballet at the Hippodrome. They are not offered a job in the show, so Annette goes to Boston for a highly publicized swim and gets in hot water for wearing a one-piece suit too revealing for its time.
She and Jimmy have a misunderstanding and part ways. Harper has a change of heart and makes Annette headliner of his New York show. Lonely after the death of her father, Annette goes to Florida at the behest of Doc to try to dissuade Jimmy from flying in an air race with a $50,000 prize. It does not go well.
As time passes, Harper falls in love with Annette while she travels to Hollywood to make a film. Jimmy and Doc turn up, this time promoting a dog called Rin Tin Tin that they hope to star in the movies.
A water tank bursts during the making of Annette's film, causing her serious injury. With her future in doubt, Harper steps aside when he sees for himself how much Annette and Jimmy are in love.
- Esther Williams ... Annette Kellerman
- Victor Mature ... James Sullivan
- Walter Pidgeon ... Frederick Kellerman
- David Brian ... Alfred Harper
- Donna Corcoran ... Annette Kellerman at age 10
- Jesse White ... Doc Cronnol
- Maria Tallchief ... Pavlova
- Howard Freeman ... Aldrich, Lecture Bureau
- Charles Watts ... Policeman on Revere Beach
- Wilton Graff ... Garvey the Producer
- Frank Ferguson ... Boston Prosecutor
- James Bell ... Boston Judge
- James Flavin ... Train conductor
- Willis Bouchey ... Movie director
"Million Dollar Mermaid" not only became Esther Williams' nickname around Hollywood, but it became the title of her autobiography (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1999), co-written with Digby Diehl. Williams has often called this her favorite film. 
The film was a hit and made a profit of $285,000.
On October 6, 2009, Turner Entertainment released Million Dollar Mermaid on DVD as part of the Esther Williams Spotlight Collection, Volume 2. The 6 disc set was a follow up to the company's Esther Williams Spotlight Collection, Volume 1, and contains digitally remastered versions of several of Williams's films including Thrill of a Romance (1945), Fiesta (1947), This Time for Keeps (1947), Pagan Love Song (1950) and Easy to Love (1953). 
- 'Top Box-Office Hits of 1952', Variety, January 7, 1953
- The Million Dollar Mermaid: An Autobiography, By Esther Williams, Digby Diehl, Published by Harcourt Trade, 2000, ISBN 0-15-601135-2, ISBN 978-0-15-601135-8
- The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study.
- TCM Spotlight: Esther Williams, Vol. 2 DVD
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Million Dollar Mermaid (film).|
- Million Dollar Mermaid at the Internet Movie Database
- Million Dollar Mermaid at allmovie
- Million Dollar Mermaid at the TCM Movie Database