On an Island with You

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On an Island with You
Theatrical release poster featuring caricatures of Esther Williams, Peter Lawford, Ricardo Montalbán and Jimmy Durante.
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Richard Thorpe
Produced by Joe Pasternak
Written by Charles Martin
Hans Wilhelm
Screenplay by Charles Martin
Hans Wilhelm
Dorothy Kingsley
Dorothy Cooper
Starring Esther Williams
Peter Lawford
Ricardo Montalbán
Cyd Charisse
Jimmy Durante
Music by Albert Sendrey
George Stoll
Cinematography Charles Rosher
Edited by Douglass Biggs
Ferris Webster
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date(s)
  • May 3, 1948 (1948-05-03)
Running time 107 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $2,527,000[1]
Box office $5,282,000[1]

On an Island with You is a 1948 musical Technicolor romantic comedy film directed by Richard Thorpe.[2] It stars Esther Williams, Peter Lawford, Ricardo Montalbán, Cyd Charisse, Kathryn Beaumont and Jimmy Durante.[N 1][3]

Plot summary[edit]

Rosalind Reynolds (Esther Williams), a swimming star goes to Hawaii to make a film set on a tropical island, bringing along her fiancé, Ricardo Montez (Ricardo Montalban). A military technical adviser for the film, U.S. Navy Lt. Lawrence Y. Kingslee (Peter Lawford) falls in love with her. Yvonne Torro (Cyd Charisse), her best friend and fellow movie star, secretly wants Ricardo for herself.

Larry, who had met her three years before on a USO show at his Pacific base, makes it obvious that he is smitten with Rosalind, and after kissing her on the set, showing up Ricardo, plans to spirit her away on his aircraft. Later, at the Royal Aloha hotel, the film cast and crew are entertained by real-life orchestra leader Xavier Cugat and his orchestra. The next day, taking advantage of a scene where Rosalind flies over the set, Larry flies to the actual island where he first met her. After asking for a kiss, he knows that Rosalind is attracted to him. Returning to their aircraft, the two discover that the natives have stolen parts, effectively stranding them on the island.

Meanwhile, her fiancé and the search party he formed are captured by the cannibals who inhabit the tropical isle, but are saved by his rival. After everyone leaves the island, complications begin. With Larry facing a court-martial, Rosalind tries to help him by accepting blame for the unauthorized flight to the island. Eventually, they learn that Yvonne has become romantically involved with Ricardo, while Larry and Rosalind also realize they are in love.

Cast[edit]

As appearing in On an Island with You, (main roles and screen credits identified):[4]

Production[edit]

Filming of "On an Island with You," at Anna Maria Island.

Principal photography took place on MGM lots and on location near Key Biscayne, Florida from June 1 to early September 1947.[5] Williams blamed her director, whom she disliked, for an accident on set. During a scene in which she was supposed to fall into a hole in the jungle floor camouflaged by vegetation, she walked into the hole and fell straight down. However, the crew had put no cushioning at the bottom to break her fall. Williams sprained her ankle and had to finish the film using crutches.[6]

A similar fate befell Cyd Charisse who had completed the bulk of her work, including two dance duets with Ricardo Montalban, then tore ligaments in her knee during filming of the big ceremonial dance on the island. She ended up in a cast for two months and a substitute dancer finished her dance scenes, photographed from long distance.[3]

The aircraft that were used in the film included a U.S. Navy Grumman TBF Avenger torpedo bomber that played a pivotal role in the plot, and a Grumman JRF-5 Goose flying boat.

Reception[edit]

Like all of Esther Williams' other films, On an Island with You was a moneymaker and did well at the box office as one of the most popular films of 1948. It earned $3,191,000 in the US and Canada and $2,091,000 overseas resulting in a profit to MGM of $816,000.[1]

Critics, however, recognized both the merits and shortcomings of the Williams format. The review in the New York Times indicated, "The shortcomings of 'On An Island' merit no serious invective, but to make the record complete, it should be observed that Richard Thorpe, the director, never helped the film to rise above its basic material."[7]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Van Johnson had originally been announced as the lead before Lawford was assigned to the film.[3]

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ a b c The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study .
  2. ^ Eames 1982, p. 211.
  3. ^ a b c Miller, Frank. "Articles: On an Island with You." Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved: June 30, 2013.
  4. ^ "Credits: On an Island with You (1948)." Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved: June 30, 2013.
  5. ^ "Original Print Information: On an Island with You." Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved: June 30, 2013.
  6. ^ Williams and Diehl 1999, p. 196.
  7. ^ T.F.B."On an Island with You (1948); The screen; Esther Williams and Peter Lawford head cast of 'On an Island With You,' at Capitol." The New York Times, July 30, 1948.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Eames, John Douglas. The MGM Story: The Complete History of Fifty Roaring Years. London: Octopus Books Limited, 1982, First edition 1979. ISBN 978-0-51752-389-6.
  • Williams, Esther with Digby Diehl. The Million Dollar Mermaid: An Autobiography. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1999. ISBN 978-0-15601-135-8.

External links[edit]