The Duchess of Idaho

Overview

This formula Esther Williams musical casts the star as Midwestern carnival swimmer Christine Duncan, in love with bandleader Dick Layn Van Johnson. Attempting to smooth the course of romance for her friend Ellen Hallet Paula Raymond, Christine makes a play for Ellen's wealthy boss Douglas J. Morrissen, Jr. John Lund. Ellen wants to protect Douglas from fortune hunters, so Christine pretends to be a fortune hunter, so that he'll appreciate anew how much Ellen cares for him. Confused? So is Dick, who can't fathom ...
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Overview

This formula Esther Williams musical casts the star as Midwestern carnival swimmer Christine Duncan, in love with bandleader Dick Layn Van Johnson. Attempting to smooth the course of romance for her friend Ellen Hallet Paula Raymond, Christine makes a play for Ellen's wealthy boss Douglas J. Morrissen, Jr. John Lund. Ellen wants to protect Douglas from fortune hunters, so Christine pretends to be a fortune hunter, so that he'll appreciate anew how much Ellen cares for him. Confused? So is Dick, who can't fathom Christine's bizarre behavior. If for nothing else, Duchess of Idaho is memorable as the "comeback" picture for dancing star Eleanor Powell, who has just as little to do as her fellow guest stars Lena Horne and unbilled Red Skelton. Watch for Amanda Gunsmoke Blake and Dick Sergeant Preston Simmons in supporting roles.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
The Duchess of Idaho is a lesser Esther Williams vehicle, and while it's certainly painless, it's also a film best appreciated by members of her fan club. Duchess of Idaho finds Williams moving into situation comedy territory, "best friend" division -- meaning that there's a complicated (and fairly far-fetched) plot in which Williams will go through a pointless charade in order to win a man for her roommate and pal. This kind of thing works better on the small screen where it can be condensed into a breezy half-hour; onscreen it takes more precision and invention to pull this thing off for an hour and a half, and the writers fall down on the job here. It's not all their fault, as they have a mandate to find room for a couple of water ballets, a number of irrelevant specialty acts and a bit of Sun Valley scenery, all of which gets in the way of both plot and pacing. Still, those water ballets are certainly something (featuring a bit more "dry land" dancing than is normal) and the cutaway numbers by Lena Horne and Eleanor Powell are keepers. Plus, there's Williams, not a great actress but a pleasant personality, who's fun to be with here and the always entertaining Van Johnson. Duchess is hardly cinematic royalty, but it's genial good fun.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 11/1/2011
  • UPC: 883316395738
  • Original Release: 1950
  • Rating:

  • Source: Warner Archives
  • Region Code: 0
  • Presentation: Pan & Scan
  • Time: 1:38:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 15,872

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Esther Williams Christine Riverton Duncan
Van Johnson Dick Layn
John Lund Douglas J. Morrissen, Jr.
Paula Raymond Ellen Hallet
Clinton Sundberg Matson
Connie Haines Peggy Elliott
Melvin Howard Torme Cyril
Amanda Blake Linda Kinston
Tommy Farrell Chuck
Sig Arno Mons. Le Blanche
Mae Clarke Betty, the flower girl
Lena Horne Guest Star
J. Louis Johnson Pullman Porter
Harold Miller Men at Table
Roger Moore Escort
Allan Ray Elevator Man
Suzanne Ridgway Cleo
Dick Simmons Alec J. Collins
Red Skelton Guest Star
Charles B. Smith Johnny
Larry Steers
John Trebach Waiter
Bunny Waters Marsha
The Jubalaires Themselves
Eleanor Powell Specialty
Technical Credits
Robert Z. Leonard Director
Malcolm Brown Art Director
Dorothy Cooper Screenwriter
Jerry Davis Screenwriter
Jack Dawn Makeup
Jack Donohue Choreography
Adrienne Fazan Editor
Cedric Gibbons Art Director
Arthur Krams Set Decoration/Design
Joe Pasternak Producer
Eddie Polo Makeup
Helen Rose Costumes/Costume Designer
Charles E. Schoenbaum Cinematographer
George Stoll Musical Direction/Supervision
Edwin B. Willis Set Decoration/Design
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