Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid (1948)

89-90 mins | Comedy | August 1948

Director:

Irving Pichel

Cinematographer:

Russell Metty

Editor:

Marjorie Fowler

Production Designers:

Bernard Herzbrun, Boris Leven

Production Company:

Inter-John, Inc.
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HISTORY

According to a HR news item, Mary Astor originally was to co-star with William Powell. HR news items add Nancy Tribble and Millard Mitchell to the cast, but their appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. The film was shot on location at Weeki Wachee Spring, Florida. Ann Blyth wore an enormous foam rubber and latex tail for her role, and seaweed was artfully draped across her upper body, drawing comments from some critics. The LAT review called the seaweed placement "a triumph of the Johnson office over the ichthyologists, and a rather humorous commentary on American mores in itself." Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid was performed on the Lux Radio Theatre on 6 Sep 1948, with William Powell and Irene Hervey recreating their original roles. The 1949 British film Miranda also featured a plot about a mermaid who comes between a man and his wife, and in 1984, the romantic comedy Splash portrayed a man who falls in love with a mermaid and chooses to live with her ... More Less

According to a HR news item, Mary Astor originally was to co-star with William Powell. HR news items add Nancy Tribble and Millard Mitchell to the cast, but their appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. The film was shot on location at Weeki Wachee Spring, Florida. Ann Blyth wore an enormous foam rubber and latex tail for her role, and seaweed was artfully draped across her upper body, drawing comments from some critics. The LAT review called the seaweed placement "a triumph of the Johnson office over the ichthyologists, and a rather humorous commentary on American mores in itself." Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid was performed on the Lux Radio Theatre on 6 Sep 1948, with William Powell and Irene Hervey recreating their original roles. The 1949 British film Miranda also featured a plot about a mermaid who comes between a man and his wife, and in 1984, the romantic comedy Splash portrayed a man who falls in love with a mermaid and chooses to live with her underwater. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
10 Jul 1948.
---
Daily Variety
8 Jul 48
p. 3, 14
Film Daily
13 Jul 48
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Sep 47
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Dec 47
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Dec 47
p. 2, 9
Hollywood Reporter
30 Dec 47
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Jan 48
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Feb 48
p. 17.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Mar 48
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Jul 48
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Aug 48
pp. 8-9.
Los Angeles Times
1 Feb 1948.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
10 Jul 48
p. 4233.
New York Times
7 Mar 1948.
---
New York Times
14 Mar 1948.
---
New York Times
14 Aug 48
p. 6.
Variety
21 Jul 48
p. 10.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Nunnally Johnson Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Underwater scenes photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
COSTUMES
MAKEUP
Hairstylist
Hairstylist
Makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod aide
Scr supv
Prod mgr
Grip
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Peabody's Mermaid by Guy Pearce Jones and Constance Bridges Jones (New York, 1946).
SONGS
"The Caribees," words and music by Johnny Mercer and Robert Emmett Dolan.
DETAILS
Release Date:
August 1948
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 11 August 1948
Production Date:
late December 1947--late February 1948
Copyright Claimant:
Inter-John, Inc.
Copyright Date:
20 August 1948
Copyright Number:
LP1920
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
89-90
Country:
United States
PCA No:
13059
SYNOPSIS

After Polly Peabody tells a skeptical Dr. Harvey that her husband Arthur has fallen in love with a mermaid that he caught in the Caribbean, Arthur joins the doctor for a private consultation and describes what happens: Arthur and Polly leave their home in Boston for a winter vacation at an island resort, and Polly stuns her husband, who has been recuperating from a lengthy bout of the flu, by reminding him that he is turning fifty the following week. Arthur wanders the grounds, depressed over his age, and hears singing coming from a distant key. He takes a boat to the deserted key and while climbing the rocks, finds a woman's comb. Later, at a beach party, Arthur meets Mike Fitzgerald, press agent for the resort, who introduces him to singer Cathy Livingston. Eager to know if hers was the haunting voice he heard earlier, he asks Cathy to sing for him, and her seductive behavior arouses Polly's jealousy. The next day, while fishing from his boat, Arthur feels something powerful tugging at his line, and after a mighty struggle, reels in a beautiful mermaid. He carries the creature up to his hotel room and puts her in a bathtub full of water. When Polly returns from shopping, she smells her perfume wafting out from the bathroom and confronts her husband, scoffing at his story about a mermaid. She enters the bathroom but sees only the mermaid's tail poking through the bubbles in the tub and orders Arthur to get rid of the "fish." However, Arthur cannot bring himself to return the silent mermaid, whom he names Lenore, to ... +


After Polly Peabody tells a skeptical Dr. Harvey that her husband Arthur has fallen in love with a mermaid that he caught in the Caribbean, Arthur joins the doctor for a private consultation and describes what happens: Arthur and Polly leave their home in Boston for a winter vacation at an island resort, and Polly stuns her husband, who has been recuperating from a lengthy bout of the flu, by reminding him that he is turning fifty the following week. Arthur wanders the grounds, depressed over his age, and hears singing coming from a distant key. He takes a boat to the deserted key and while climbing the rocks, finds a woman's comb. Later, at a beach party, Arthur meets Mike Fitzgerald, press agent for the resort, who introduces him to singer Cathy Livingston. Eager to know if hers was the haunting voice he heard earlier, he asks Cathy to sing for him, and her seductive behavior arouses Polly's jealousy. The next day, while fishing from his boat, Arthur feels something powerful tugging at his line, and after a mighty struggle, reels in a beautiful mermaid. He carries the creature up to his hotel room and puts her in a bathtub full of water. When Polly returns from shopping, she smells her perfume wafting out from the bathroom and confronts her husband, scoffing at his story about a mermaid. She enters the bathroom but sees only the mermaid's tail poking through the bubbles in the tub and orders Arthur to get rid of the "fish." However, Arthur cannot bring himself to return the silent mermaid, whom he names Lenore, to the ocean, and after he teaches her how to kiss, Arthur accidentally releases Lenore into the resort's large fishpond. The following morning, Arthur goes to a boutique and buys the top half of several bathing suits, which he brings to the love-struck mermaid. Arthur is greatly pleased to be the object of the simple creature's adoration, and happy that his age means nothing to her. Later that night, Polly implores Arthur to break off all contact with Cathy, promising to end her friendship with suave Englishman Major Ronald Hadley in exchange. Lenore's siren song soon lures Arthur back to the pond, however, and when Polly sees her husband embracing a woman, she angrily packs her bags and leaves. A week later, Polly's car is found near the beach, and Hadley tells Colonel Mandrake and Mike that he suspects Arthur has murdered her. Mike tells Arthur that rumors about the mermaid have been printed in the gossip column of a Miami paper, and Arthur admits that he is in love with Lenore. Mike reports everything to Hadley and Mandrake, and the police are dispatched at once. Arthur takes Lenore back to the key and tells her that he plans to run away with her. Just then, the police reach the key and take Arthur aboard their boat, and Mike tells him that Polly is back in Boston with their child. Lenore's singing is heard by all of the men, and when Arthur jumps overboard, Lenore pulls him into a passionate underwater embrace and nearly drowns him. Back in Boston, Dr. Harvey advises Arthur not to tell his story to anyone who has not yet turned fifty, and shares a story about his own hallucinatory reaction to reaching that age. Later, Arthur gives Polly the comb he found on the key, and the couple makes plans for a romantic evening together. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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