Miranda is a black and white film released in 1948, based on a play by Peter Blackmore, and features a mermaid as the titular character. What's utterly charming about this movie is that it's so sassy and cheeky. Although Miranda is a mermaid who's curious and unfamiliar with human ways, she has a wicked drive to have the adventure she wants to have, see the things she wants to see, and romance the humans she wants to romance. Glynis Johns plays Miranda with subtle charm and cleverness, and it's easy to understand how the various people who meet her become enthralled by her.
After all, this is a mermaid who kidnaps men off boats and takes them into her underwater cave so that they can keep her company. When she does this to Dr. Paul Martin, a married doctor on holiday, he at first is confused and bewildered. When he asks that she return him to shore, she merely laughs coyly and declines. But Miranda also wants to see London, flirt with English boys and visit the opera, and she manages to get Dr. Martin, by now protective and enraptured by Miranda, to convince his wife Clare that Miranda is his patient in need of treatment, and needs to stay at the Martin home as a guest.
Throughout all of this, Miranda's tail remains present. There's no magic transformation, but Miranda doesn't see this as a hindrance, especially because it means various handsome young men have to carry her around. Quite wily, is our Miranda.
Miranda is from the siren part of the mermaid family, and the wonderful part is the Glynis Johns plays her with crafty innocence, a balance that is very difficult to strike. We only see her in her natural habitat at the beginning of the film, and in that portion the black and white does very well in supporting the illusion of her tail. I do like that it's long and muscular, and I also like that at no point does Miranda crave legs instead because her tail is quite lovely, thank you.
For fans of Mary Poppins, there's bonus meta delight in David Tomlinson playing Dr. Martin's driver, Charles, who is one of the three young men that fall in love Miranda over the film.
A sequel was made to this film: Mad About Men.
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