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Mermaids of Tiburon

Mermaids of Tiburon is a gorgeous film, with some extensive and advanced underwater sequences that are all the more impressive for the fact that this film came out in 1962. The plot is miniscule, so much so that it seems that the film exists only so that the underwater portions exist, which seem to be at least half of the film's total running time. It's also the only live-action mermaid film I've seen that has underwater crowd scenes, with numerous merfolk all swimming together like a school of fish.

There are three types of "mermaids" in the film: (1) those with full tails, (2) those with human legs and fins instead of feet, and (3) those with entirely human legs and feet. Although this seems a little like cheating, these creatures are all equally otherwordly, so they come off as a single species with some variations. The human characters also don't differentiate between the types, calling them all "mermaids".

Among the mermaids there's a mermaid queen (played by Diane Webber) who's one of the few with the full-on tail, and she follows the human characters who've arrived at their home with wariness and suspicion. There's also a "junior" mermaid (Gaby Martone) with human legs and feet who develops a childish curiosity about the hero and is the most welcoming in showing him around their home.

The plot is a simple one: Dr. Samuel Jamison is a diver who's been hired to take a man to the island of Tiburon, the source of giant, multicoloured pearls. The man who hired him disappears mysteriously, so Jamison travels out there by himself, followed by an unscrupulous villain who wants the pearls for himself. Neither one of them expect mermaids.

Note: There is a great deal of nudity in this film, though none of the screencaps on this page feature that nudity.


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