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“Stars! Laughs! Songs! Spectacle! And Beauty!”

Or so says the original theatrical trailer for 1949’s Neptune’s Daughter, a musical comedy shot partially in Central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs. The exclamation points aren’t an exaggeration. Filmed in ’30s-style Technicolor, the flick features enormous set pieces, ham-handed physical comedy, a full orchestra, and a chorus line of mermaids called the Neptunettes. In other words, it’s a cult classic.

No wonder, then, it’s the first film in the Wolfsonian’s summer series, Guilty Pleasures. The four flicks probably won’t receive the Criterion Collection treatment anytime soon, but each has that certain je ne sais quoi that keeps us coming back. In the case of Neptune’s Daughter, it could be Ricardo Montalban’s turn as a womanizing polo player, or perhaps the classic tune “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” which, when you think about it, is a pretty crazy choice for a movie about mermaids.

This Thursday’s screening is free for members and students; ten-dollar two-for-one admission for everyone else.
Thu., Aug. 6, 7 p.m., 2009

 
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