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14 May 2017

Free Spirited and Finny: Glynis Johns as Miranda, 1948

This is one of those movies that made such an impression on me when I was about seven years old that I can't even calculate how it's influenced me. I loved exotic, vaguely supernatural females with special powers when I was a child, and certain movies meant a great deal to me. (Another favorite was Rita Hayworth as the goddess Terpsichore in Down to Earth, flitting around her misty celestial temples in the sky.)

Of course, at that age I didn't even realize how startlingly sexy Miranda is, especially for 1948, when post-war staidness was beginning to take hold; one of Miranda the mermaid's special powers, after all, is the happy ability to entice all men. And her soft, oval face, her long golden hair rippling down to her waist, and most of all her unique, whisky-and-honey voice, certainly do the trick.

The plot is fairly simple; an Englishman (the extremely attractive Griffith Jones) on vacation in Cornwall is captured by a mermaid (lovely Glynis Johns) , who is discontented with her undersea life and demands that he show her how humans exist in the city in exchange for his freedom.  Fortunately he is doctor, and agrees to help disguise her as a patient who can't walk and needs assistance. She charms every man she meets, from her chauffeur (played by a very young David Tomlinson) on up. The thing about Miranda is, she's just taken with them as they are with her -- all of them. (To paraphrase Claire Trevor's Helen in Murder My Sweet, she finds men very attractive.)

After a few complications, Dr. Martin's fiancee finds out about Miranda, and voices her intention to reveal her to the world. But Miranda overhears this, and slips out the window into the river and back to her grotto.

It's a pretty little slightly risque fantasy. But there's one final note that I frankly did not even notice when I was seven -- and why I'm posting this on Mother's Day. For this is the last shot in the film:

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