Sunday, May 10, 2009

You have the right to enjoy this movie

Our next selection is another British movie; Miranda, airing at 6:15 AM ET May 11 as part of a TCM birthday salute to Margaret Rutherford. Miranda is played not by Rutherford, but by Glynis Johns. However, we'll get to both of them a little later. Griffith Jones plays a London doctor who's on one of his regular fishing vacations to the southwest coast of England. This time, however, his boat gets capsized and the good doctor finds himself apparently in an undersea cave.

For that, he can thank Miranda, who happens to be a mermaid. She apparently is tired of mermen, and wants to see the human world. She'll let the doctor go, but only if he'll take her back to London with him in order to show her what human life is like. Eventually, he gives in, claiming that Miranda is a "patient" who will be staying at their London flat. This is a bit of a difficult ruse to keep up, as doctor has to hide his patient's fins. It doesn't help that she has to have a cold bath drawn for her every night (so that she doesn't dry out), and be fed a diet of raw fish. However, the two are somehow able to keep up the charade, although even then, that's not the end of the problems. Miranda is exceedingly charming, and has the effect that almost every guy she meets seems to be smitten by her. It's not only that there are married men who have to keep this from their wives, but also they have to keep it from each other. As for birthday girl Margaret Rutherford? She plays Jones' nurse, a dotty woman who is the only other human who believes in the existence of mermaids and other "fictitious" creatures.

Miranda is a British movie, made in 1948, at a time when the British were making a lot of "little" pictures that couldn't get the budgets of Hollywood movies, but thanks to their original plots and casts of very talented actors, are generally charming and quite good. Of course, it helps to have somebody as radiant as Glynis Johns in the title role. Sadly, though, Miranda doesn't seem to be available on DVD, so you're going to have to catch TCM's showings, which are too few and far between.

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