Lastly in this set, is 1953’s Easy To Love, which reunites Esther with her Thrill Of A Romance co-star, Van Johnson. Easy To Love is indeed a standout entry (aside from Esther's scary-ass number in clown make-up!), as it gives Esther a chance to play a much meatier and feistier part than in her previous roles. Ray Lloyd (Van) is the slave-driving manager of Florida’s Cypress Gardens, marketing his army of shapely beauties all across the country, as well as at the Gardens. Ray’s star attraction, Julie (Esther), works live skiing shows and numerous modeling gigs daily, playing Ray’s part-time secretary in the process. It’s clear that Julie loves Ray, but the relationship is a complicated and practically non-existent: he’s too involved in his work, and firmly believes that a romance between the two will cause dissension amongst the other women in his employ. A trip to New York introduces Julie to famous crooner Barry Gordon (Tony Martin), which ignites a few sparks between the singer and the model. Naturally, that’s when Ray figures out he lovers Julie!
While the movies contained in TCM Spotlight: Esther Williams, Vol. 2 have not been remastered, the overall presentations are pretty good. These Technicolor gems show a bit of wear, and some portions of the films looks a bit out of whack (imagine watching a 3D film without the glasses, and that should give you an idea of how bad the movies can get — but it doesn’t happen all that often). The movies are presented in their original 1.37:1 aspect ratios and are quite vibrant at times. Some signs of debris are apparent throughout, but when you consider the age of these films, it’s understandable. All six films contain the original mono soundtracks, which are presented here in Dolby Digital sound. English (SDH) subtitles accompany, and are quite amusing at times (especially when the captions read something like “[Speaks Spanish],” causing one to wonder if anyone at Warner actually speaks Spanish and was just too lazy to translate).
Like the first collection, TCM Spotlight: Esther Williams, Vol. 2 is loaded with some great special features. Each set includes a vintage short (e.g. John Nesbitt’s Passing Parade, Pete Smith’s Specialty Shorts), and a classic color cartoon (any Tex Avery, Droopy, Tom & Jerry, or Barney Bear fans out there?). Most discs also include some rare musical outtakes (extended or altogether deleted numbers) and the original theatrical trailer of their respective film. Million Dollar Mermaid also includes an audio-only recording of the original Lux Radio Broadcast version.