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Miranda: Mermaid movie of 1948
Mum's favorite movie: Miranda the Mermaid
When I was a child, I had plans for when I grew up. I wanted to be either:
a) an astronaut
b) Ginger Rogers or
c) a mermaid.
(It might not surprise you to know that that none of these things happened). The latter was because of my mum's favorite film, Miranda.
The original mermaid movie
Whether the 1980s film Splash was based on this movie, I don't know but the actor who played the mermaid, Glynis Johns, was my mum's favorite actress so Miranda was a hit in our home on all fronts. Delightfully, it is now available on DVD, so I am enjoying at all over again.
A charming plot
The action starts when a married doctor, Paul, decides to go to Cornwall on a fishing trip. I don't have to tell you what he catches. Actually, it's the other way around. Miranda captures him and keeps him in a cave, where she persuades him to take her to London. To disguise her tail, she goes around in a wheelchair and the doctor claims she is his patient. This is all good stuff and lines us up for the rest of the story. We can already imagine...
Miranda is a flirty little mermaid
I imagine that the life of a mermaid off the coast of Cornwall isn't rife with social opportunities, so once in London Miranda makes the most of the available neighboring men, regardless of the fact that they are otherwise spoken for. And only Paul, and her nurse (the wonderful Margaret Rutherford) are aware that this is no ordinary girl.
The suspicious wife
Paul's wife Clare (another of Mum's favorite actresses, Googie Withers) realizes that there is something odd going on. After all, the girl only eats raw fish, there is seaweed in the bathtub and - the real giveaway - she has no underwear at all. There's not a pair of knickers (panties) to be seen....
Well, that would be telling. No spoilers allowed on this page!
Don't you think there's something quite fascinating about mermaids? We would dearly love them to exists.
There's something mystical and magical about the thought that these creatures who are essential human - from the waist up at any rate - can enjoy the freedoms of the oceans.
It's hardly surprising that they have become a symbol of freedom. Even today, just like in times gone by, we are fascinated by these mythical creatures.
See more from the movie itself
The family chauffeur, who is also enamored, takes Miranda to the sea lion house at the zoo. The quality of the video clip below isn't very high quality (unlike the DVD above) but it gives you an idea of what film PR people call 'this lighthearted romp' is all about.
It's good, but not AS good. However, the truly delightful scene in this film, which is surely inspired by Miranda, is Tom Hanks singing 'Mr Mango on my shoulder'. Remember that?
See the clip below. I feel that the writers of this film must have been influenced by the earlier mermaid movie described above.
That's why it's interesting to watch them both and then compare them - they make great companion pieces. Why not order them both? You'll love them.
In the section of the movie that you see below, Tom Hanks has just discovered his mermaid and taken her home...
One of the reasons I wanted to be a mermaid when I was a child was because my mum used to insist that she had a friend who was one. And guess where? At the 'exotic' North Yorkshire seaside town of Scarborough.
This used to puzzle me because a) I really wasn't sure that there was really such a thing as a mermaid and b) if there was, why would she hang about in Scarborough?
You'd have thought Tahiti or Bali or somewhere would be better for any mermaid with half a brain.
It turned out that my mum knew a woman - a proper flesh and blood woman with legs - who played the part of a mermaid in a sideshow there, complete with convincing (or so my mum said) rubber tail.
Boy, do I wish I had a photograph of that!
© 2013 Jackie Jackson