Pop Culture

Splash (1984)

Official Splash movie poster, starring Tom Hanks as Allen Bauer and Daryl Hannah as Madison

 Splash was the first film produced by the Walt Disney Productions under Touchstone Pictures. Touchstone Pictures was created, so the Walt Disney Productions, could appeal to adult audiences, featuring more mature content and themes.

Splash was rated PG for brief scenes of nudity and profanity.

The film was written by Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel and directed by Ron Howard. Splash starred Tom Hanks (Allen Bauer), Daryl Hannah (Madison), John Caddy (Freddie Bauer), and Eugene Levy (Dr.Walter Kornbluth).

Splash opens in 1964, eight year old Allen Bauer (David Creps) is aboard a tourist boat with his family in Cape Cod. He notices something shimmering in the water and dives in, even though he can’t swim. Young Allen is rescued by a mysterious, blonde haired little girl, who can breathe underwater. When Allen is pulled back up to the surface, he’s baffled about what he has seen and knows deep down, that he has a connection with whoever had saved him.

Flash forward to 1984. Allen (Tom Hanks) and his eldest brother Freddie (John Candy), own and run a wholesale vegetable fruit and vegetable warehouse. Allen is down on his luck with love. His girlfriend, breaks up with him over the phone and he is devastated and depressed. When Allen and Freddie attends a friend’s wedding, Freddie goes to Rio de Janeiro with two attractive women, while Allen gets drunk and returns to Cape Cod.

At Cape Cod, Allen boards a small boat with Dr. Walter Kornbluth (Eugene Levy), who is on the hunt for mermaids, unbeknownst to Allen and the other crew members. Allen falls into the water and is miraculously saved by an enthralling naked woman (Daryl Hannah) who takes him to shore. Allen pleads with the woman, to know more about her, but she runs off into the water without saying a word and transforms into a mermaid.

Official Promotional photo for Splash starring Daryl Hannah as Madison

The mermaid discovers Allen’s wallet in the water and goes through it to discover where he lives. New York. She winds up at the Statue of Liberty, naked and creates a lot of controversy at the historic landmark and is taken into custody.

It doesn’t take long, for Allen to get a call from NYPD regarding the girl and his wallet. The girl is released to Allen’s custody and the two share a passionate evening together.

The following morning, Allen leaves the girl for work and she entertains herself with T.V. and watches an advertisement for Bloomingdale’s. The girl leaves the apartment and asks the doorman to take her Bloomingdale’s, where she gets a new wardrobe, using Allen’s credit cards.

Allen’s mood at work, has transformed overnight. He’s happier and Freddie notices. Allen cannot wait to return to the apartment, to spend more time with the mysterious girl who had saved him. Upon returning home, he realizes that the girl is gone and the doorman informs him, that the girl went to Bloomingdale’s. He goes to the store, to discover that the girl can now talk and has a glamorous new wardrobe. He becomes curious, as to how she can suddenly talk and she explains she learned by watching the T.V.’s in the store’s electronic department. He asks her, what her name is, but she says it’s difficult to pronounce for most people.

As they walk home, Allen tries to think of a name to call the girl. They stop on Madison Avenue and she asks to be called Madison. He explains to her, that Madison isn’t a real name, but she insists that’s what she wants to be called and Allen complies. Madison, then explains to Allen, that she can only stay in New York for six days and that she can never come back to New York, even if she wanted too. So, Allen decides to take time off of work, to spend time with Madison. He buys her a small music box as a present, that fascinates her.

One day, when they’re alone together in the apartment, Madison decides to take a bath to spread her fins. Allen wakes up, not knowing where she went and soon discovers she’s in the bathroom. When he asks her to come in, she tells him, she’s fine. He insists she opens the door for him. Madison gets out of the bathtub with a loud thump and he becomes  even more concerned. Madison uses a towel and hair dryer to dry her tail, so it can quickly become a pair of legs. When Allen opens the door, he finds Madison with a towel wrapped her and she tells him once that she was ‘shy’. He is dumbstruck, uncertain of what had happened, since Madison wasn’t shy with all day. That evening, Allen and Madison, go for a walk and Allen stops, when he sees a mermaid foundation. He explains to Madison, that it reminds him of a memory that he had from childhood. He tells her, that they are removing the fountain to build condos and Madison is saddened by the news.  Madison purchases the fountain and surprises Allen with it. He’s shocked that it’s in his apartment.

The next day, Freddie tells Allen, that he somehow managed to get tickets to a formal dinner that the President of the United States will be attending. Freddie taunts Allen, telling him, that he’s in love with Madison, but Allen denies it, claiming that he has a strong connection with Madison and that is it.

Meanwhile, Dr.Kornbluth reads the paper and discovers that the mermaid that he saw is in New York. He tells his colleague Dr.York of his theory about the mermaid and when Dr.York isn’t so keen on the theory, Dr.Kornbluth is determined to prove him wrong and goes in search of the mermaid. He mistakes a couple, that appears like Madison and Allen twice and is beaten up by the couple for stalking them.

As time goes by, Allen becomes scared of losing Madison forever and proposes to her. She rejects his offer and is still very secretive about who she really is and where she comes from. Madison, runs away, only to return and accepts Allen’s proposal of marriage.

They attend the dinner and Madison turns to Allen, telling him that she is ready to tell him her secret, but she wants to tell him, away from the crowds. Allen gets eager and they go outside. Dr.Kornbuth sees Madison on the street with Allen and claims out in the open, that she’s a mermaid. He gets Madison soaked with a hose and she’s instantly transformed into a mermaid. Allen is confused, heartbroken, and betrayed, that the girl he loved all along was a mermaid. Madison tries to apologize, for not telling him sooner, that she’s a mermaid, but he is too distraught to listen to her.

Promotional Photo of Tom Hanks as Allen and Daryl Hannah as Madison in Splash

Allen and Madison are immediately taken to a top-secret facility for study. Allen is put in a tank and pressured to be a fish-man (merman).

After further research, they discover that Allen is just a normal human guy, but they keep Madison for study. Upon being released, Allen returns home, mobbed by the press. Allen confides in his brother, that he had found the girl of his dreams, but she ended up being half-fish…a mermaid. Freddie tells Allen that he was the happiest when he was with Madison and that he’s never felt that way about anyone before.

lDr. Kornbluth is back at the lab, explaining how he thinks Madison should be treated in her confined tank. Dr. Ross, whose in charge of Madison, tells Dr.Kornbluth that he plans on dissecting her for further study. Dr.Kornbluth is mortified and disgusted by the idea of harming the mermaid.

He has a chance meeting with Allen at the dentist and the two join forces and devise a plan to rescue Madison.

Freddie, Dr.Kornbluth, and Allen go to the Natural History Museum, where Madison is being held. The three men disguise themselves as Swedish scientists and rescue Madison from the lab. But it doesn’t take long, for them to be discovered. All four of them are chased by the police and the military, til they make it to Hudson River.

Madison and Allen find it difficult to say goodbye. She jumps into the water and Allen chases after her, still unable to swim. Madison grabs Allen by the hand and pulls him deep into the water with her.

Madison kisses Allen in the water and he is able to breathe underwater. Allen and Madison swim off to Madison’s magical kingdom and they both live happily ever after…under the sea.