Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Girl Week 2016 - Miranda, a guest post by Joel

It's still Day 2 of Girl Week 2016 and I'm Joel is back with another cinematic offering for us. What can I say, the man took the concept and ran with it! All yours, Joel!

Directed by Ken Annakin.
1948. Not Rated, 80 minutes.
Glynis Johns
Griffith Jones
Googie Withers
Margaret Rutherford
David Tomlinson
John McCallum
Yvonne Owen
Sonia Holm
Stringer Davis

While fishing off the Cornish coast one day young Dr. Martin (Griffith Jones) snags something surprising, a young mermaid named Miranda (Glynis Johns) though he ends up being the one who gets caught! She pulls him in and takes him to her underwater home until he agrees to her terms for release-a trip with him back home to London for a month.

Passing her off to his wife (Googie Withers) as an invalid patient who needs special care she moves in along with the dotty nurse (a delightful Margaret Rutherford) he’s hired who’s not only in on the secret but is thrilled to find that mermaids actually exist. Things quickly get complicated since Miranda is a saucy temptress fully and willfully capable of entrancing men with her Circe song. Soon the lives of the doctor, his wife and all those surrounding them have been thrown into upheaval which Miranda takes great pleasure in.

Delightful comedy is in some ways a precursor to Splash but unlike the childlike Madison in Splash Miranda is no babe in the woods but a bewitching siren, aware and secure in her wiles. The real strength of the film comes from Glynis Johns’s performance as the enticing Miranda. Glynis-just 24 is sly, sexy and knowing completely in charge of the action despite the inconvenience of having a tail. Probably best known as Mrs. Banks in Mary Poppins or the obtuse Grandma in While You Were Sleeping and a successful actress before this the movie’s mega success made her an international star.

A small aside: one of the men who falls under Miranda’s spell is played by David Tomlinson, the future Mr. Banks in Mary Poppins.

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  1. Dell you've done it again. This looks great and a GIF to boot! I'm sure Glynis, who is still with us at 93, will be please that she rates her own banner.

    I kicking myself that I forgot to add that this was followed by a sequel about five years afterwards called Mad About Men with Miranda/Glynis causing even more trouble in a dual role!

    1. Great stuff, Joel. This one sounds great.

    2. I haven't even heard of this one before now, but it sounds like a ton of fun. The whole time I was reading this I did think of Splash and even The Little Mermaid. Thanks for sharing this.

    3. Thanks Kevin! It's well worth tracking down. I LOVE Glynis Johns, if you haven't seen it she's also delightful, well she's delightful in everything, but especially in The Court Jester with Danny Kaye, Mildred Natwick and a very young Angela Lansbury who plays a flighty princess.

      Dell, I'm sure that Ron Howard and the writers of Splash must have been influenced by this-it was a big hit when they would have been young. And I'm guessing that the makers of this probably drew some inspiration from the Hans Christian Andersen original.

  2. This movie sounds fun and something I'd like to watch. I'll try to look for a copy of it.

    1. Hope you can find it. It is great, very British entertainment.

  3. I have not seen this film in decades and so fell in love with this movie and the actress! I thought she was bewitching and she could hold her own against the scene stealing Margaret Rutherford.

    1. Glynis Johns is so unique and individual, as is Margaret Rutherford, it's a shame that Hollywood never quite figured out how to present her properly so that she would have become as big a star in the States as she was in Europe. She was successful enough and respected but she didn't receive the sort of vehicles that were Bette Davis, Susan Hayward or Elizabeth Taylor's stock in trade. Maybe her particular brand of magic was just too specifically British.

  4. HEHE, this looks wonderful. I recently adored Googie in Night and the City...so I'll be anxious to see her in a comedy.

    1. Googie does the frustrated and confused wife bit very well here. She was another English performer much better known in her home country than here who's work is worth exploring.

      If you like this there was a sequel a few years later called Mad About Men with both Glynis and Margaret Rutherford reprising their roles.