Pop Culture

Miranda (1948)

Film Poster for Miranda (1948)

Miranda is a classic black and white mermaid film that was released in 1948. The film is based on the play based on the play Miranda: A Comedy in Three Acts by Peter Blackmore, the storyline closely resembles The Sea Lady by H.G. Wells.

Legendary actress, Glynis Johns plays the title role of Miranda. 

Glynis Johns and David Tomlinson later appeared together as husband and wife in Disney’s Mary Poppins (1964)

The film opens when young married physician Paul Martin (Griffith Jones) wants to go on a fishing excursion, but his wife, Clare (Googie Withers) doesn’t want to go. So, Paul decides to go fishing alone on the Cornwall coast. He casts his fishing line and quickly catches something. It doesn’t take long for Paul to be pulled into the water.

Official Film Still from Miranda (1948)

Paul wakes up and finds himself in a cave, alongside the beautiful Miranda (Glynis Johns) a mermaid. Paul soon realizes that due to the nature of the cave, that he is unable to leave of his own free will. Miranda delightfully tells Paul that he is her prisoner. He glances around the cave and notices that it’s filled with various magazines and newspapers that Miranda has used to learn about humans and how they live their life. Sometime passes and Miranda decides to make a deal with Paul: She will release him as her prisoner if he takes her to London to see the sights and to experience the human world. Her plan is that since Paul is a physician, he can cover her tail and tell people that she is one of his patients and in need of his help.

At first, Paul is reluctant to agree to Miranda’s plan, but eventually agrees to Miranda’s plan. He orders Miranda’s dresses from a designer that he and his wife for her to wear while in London. The designer however is perplexed and confused as to why he needs dresses that go past a woman’s feet, but makes the dresses anyways.

Official film still from Miranda (1948)

When Paul returns to London with Miranda, he immediately sends her out on a drive with his house butler, Charles (David Tomlinson) to explore the city. While Charles and Miranda are out, Paul tells his wife Claire, that Miranda will be a guest in their home for a month and that he hired a woman named Carey (Margaret Rutherford) to watch over her.

While Miranda is a guest in Paul’s home, she begins to display some peculiar habits. She prefers to eat raw oysters and fish and sometimes in the evening, she sings in a beautiful, alluring voice.

Miranda manages to entrance Charles (whose engaged to Betty), as well as nearby artist named Nigel (whose also engaged). Miranda enjoys enticing the various men around her and making them falling in love with her. Miranda even enthralls Paul and he takes her on a late-night drive and are frolicking together in a pond.

Official Film Still for Miranda (1948)

The only other person who knows that Miranda is a mermaid is Nurse Carey, whose excited to take care of Miranda, since she’s believed in mermaids existing for years.

Tensions begin to rise, as Nigel and Charle’s fiancées believe that their men are being bewitched away from them. Nigel’s fiancé becomes extremely jealous, when she sees that he’s painted a portrait of Mirada.

Meanwhile, Clare begins to notice that her large fishbowl full of exotic fish has significantly decreased in size. Also, there are various reports from Betty there’s seaweed in Miranda’s bath and that they haven’t found any ladies panties in Miranda’s quarters at all. Clare begins to suspect that Miranda is a mermaid.

Then Nigel and Charles both come and surprise Miranda with marriage proposals. It’s also revealed that Miranda have given both men a lock of her hair and feel foolish that she had played with their emotions. Both men decide to go make amends with the women they had scorned and reconcile with them.

When Paul arrives home, Clare makes Miranda reveal that she’s in fact a mermaid. Miranda tells Clare that she’s leaving soon and will be traveling to warmer waters for the month of May. Miranda leaves for her room, promising Clare that she can see her tail when she bathes. A few minutes pass, Clare and Paul go into the bathroom to go check on her and notice that she is gone. When they look outside, they see Miranda wheeling her chair to a nearby river. They watch intently as Miranda dives into the water and makes her way into the sea.

As Paul wonders why Miranda said she’d choose a warmer climate for the month of May, Miranda appears on the screen, she’s sitting on a rock, holding a mer-child. A child whose father is never revealed.


Pop Culture

Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid (1948)

Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid film poster (1948)

     Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid is an American fantasy film that was released in August of 1948. The classic film was directed by Irving Pichel and starred William Powell as Mr. Peabody and Ann Blyth as the Mermaid/Lenore. The film is based on the 1945 novel Peabody’s Mermaid written by Guy Jones and Constance Jones. 

      The film opens with Polly Peabody (Irene Hervey) telling a skeptical Dr. Harvey (Art Smith) that her husband, Arthur Peabody (William Powell) has fallen in love with the mermaid that he caught, while on vacation in the Caribbean. Arthur has a private consultation with Dr. Harvey and tells him what happened…

Film Still from Mr.Peabody and the Mermaid (1948)

     Polly and Arthur leave Boston and go on a tropical vacation to the Caribbean. Polly reminds Arthur that he will be celebrating his 50th birthday in a week and he doesn’t take it so well. Arthur gets depressed about being reminded of his age, so he wanders the resort and hears singing from a distance. He later takes out a boat and travels to a deserted key. There he climbs rocks and discovers a woman’s comb. Later that evening, Arthur meets Mike Fitzgerald, who works as a press secretary for the resort. Mike introduces Arthur to singer, Cathy Livingston and Arthur is intrigued to know if she is the one who he had heard singing earlier. As Cathy sings for Arthur flirtatiously,  it ignites Polly’s jealousy. 

     The next day, Arthur goes on a fishing excursion by himself and to his surprise, catches a beautiful mermaid. He takes the mermaid to his hotel room and places her in the bathtub filled with water. When Polly returns from a shopping trip, she smells her perfume in the bathroom and confronts Arthur about it. Arthur exclaims that he caught a mermaid and Polly scoffs at his story and tells him to get rid of the “fish” in the bathtub. 

    Arthur, unfortunately can’t return the mermaid back to the sea. He names the mermaid, Lenore and teaches the mute mermaid how to kiss. He accidentally releases Lenore into the resort’s large fishpond. 

Film Still from Mr.Peabody and the Mermaid (1948)

     The following day, Arthur goes to a boutique located in the hotel and purchases bikini tops for Lenore, so she’d be more modest. Later that day, Polly begs Arthur to stop seeing Cathy and in exchange, she’ll stop talking to her friend Major Ronald Hadley. Lenore sings her hypnotizing song and Arthur goes to the pool to be with her. Polly watches from a distance as Arthur and Lenore embrace. She becomes so angry, that she packs her belongings and leaves the resort without Arthur. 

     A week goes by and Polly’s car is found on the side on the road near the beach. Immediately, Arthur is accused of murdering his wife. Arthur denies any involvement in his wife’s disappearance. Mike tells Arthur that there were articles recently printed of him being seen with a mermaid. Arthur admits that the rumors are in fact true, and that he loves the mermaid, Lenore. Mike reports the story to Hadley and Mandrake and the police are notified immediately. A worried Arthur, takes Lenore back to the key and proclaims that he wants to run away with her.  Moments later, Arthur is ordered to board the boat by the police and that Polly safely returned home to Boston and is with their child. Lenore begins to sing her siren song to all the men. Arthur immediately jumps into the water to be Lenore and shares a passionate underwater embrace with the hypnotizing mermaid. Arthur almost drowns to death. 

     Back in Boston, Dr. Harvey advises Arthur, not to tell his mermaid tale to anyone. When Arthur returns home to Polly, he gives the comb that he discovered at the key, proving Lenore existence.