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.