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This 1946 movie was a remake of Libeled Lady, from ten years earlier.  Esther Williams (looking stunning) is Connie Allenbury, daughter of a successful tycoon, who wants to sue the newspaper that Warren Haggerty (Keenan Wynn) works for, when they print a libellous story about her lifestyle.  The newspaper will go under if Connie wins her case, so they send Bill Chandler (Van Johnson) to try and seduce Connie, so that the story will then be true and she won’t be able to sue them!  Lucille Ball steals all of her scenes as Gladys, Warren’s long-suffering fiancee, who gets entangled in the scheme.

In many ways, this was an enjoyable film – Lucille Ball, as mentioned above, was absolutely terrific, and was definitely the stand-out actor (her role was played by Carole Lombard in Libelled Lady and Ball’s performance has been compared unfavourably with that of Lombard.  I would like to see the earlier film to compare).  Esther Williams was beautiful and great as the cool and shrewd Connie, and Keenan Wynn and Cecil Kellaway both gave good comic turns as Warren and J.B. Allenbury (Conie’s father) respectively.  The weak link in the cast unfortunately was Van Johnson.  Chandler was supposed to be irresistible to women, with the ability to charm the proverbial birds out of the trees; I just didn’t get that.  He seemed to lack the charisma to play such a part.

However, the plot was amusing and clever (if slightly predictable, but that is probably to be expected when starting the movie) and some slightly ludicrous plot developments added to the laughs.

Overall, worth seeing for Ball’s excellent role, and an enjoyable film, but ultimately forgettable.

Year of release: 1946

Director: Edward Buzzell, Buster Keaton, Edward Sedgwick

Writers: Dorothy Kingsley, George Oppenheimer, Howard Emmett Rogers, Maurine Dallas Watkins, Buster Keaton

Main cast: Van Johnson, Esther Williams, Lucille Ball, Keenan Wynn, Cecil Kellaway

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