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Miranda (1948 film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

UK release poster
Directed byKen Annakin
Written byPeter Blackmore
additional dialogue
Denis Waldock
Based onMiranda by Peter Blackmore
Produced byBetty E. Box
StarringGlynis Johns
Googie Withers
Griffith Jones
Margaret Rutherford
John McCallum
David Tomlinson
CinematographyRay Elton
Bryan Langley (uncredited)
Edited byGordon Hales
Music byTemple Abady
Distributed byJ. Arthur Rank
General Film Distributors (UK)
Eagle Lion (US)
Release date
  • 6 April 1948 (1948-04-06)
Running time
80 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
Box office£181,300 (by Dec 1949)[1] or £176,000[3]

Miranda is a 1948 black and white British comedy film, directed by Ken Annakin and written by Peter Blackmore, who also wrote the play of the same name from which the film was adapted. The film stars Glynis Johns, Googie Withers, Griffith Jones, Margaret Rutherford, John McCallum and David Tomlinson. Denis Waldock provided additional dialogue. Music for the film was played by the London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Muir Mathieson. The sound director was B. C. Sewell.

The film is a light comedy fantasy about a beautiful and playful mermaid Miranda and her effect on the men and women she meets, as she outrageously flirts with and flatters every man she meets.

Glynis Johns and Margaret Rutherford reprised their roles in the 1954 colour sequel, Mad About Men.

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid (1948) Clip
  • A Fishy Encounter! - Margaret Rutherford, Glynis Johns


Plot summary

As his wife is uninterested in fishing, Dr. Paul Martin goes on a holiday on the Cornwall coast without her. There, Miranda, a mermaid, catches him by pulling on his fishing line and making him fall in the water. She drags him down to her underwater cavern where she keeps him prisoner for a week and only lets him go after he agrees to show her London, where he lives. Having ordered several extra long dresses from his wife's London couturier to cover her tail, he disguises her as an invalid patient in a bath chair and takes her to his home, initially for a three weeks stay.

Martin's wife Clare reluctantly agrees to the arrangement, but insists he hire someone to look after the "patient". He selects Nurse Carey for her eccentric nature and takes her into his confidence. To Paul's relief, Carey is delighted to be working for a mermaid as she has always believed they exist.

Miranda's seductive nature earns her the admiration of not only Paul, but also his chauffeur Charles, as well as Nigel, the fiancé of Clare's friend and neighbour Isobel, arousing the jealousy of the women. Nigel even breaks off his engagement, but when he and Charles discover that Miranda has been flirting with both of them, they come to their senses.

With Clare strongly suspecting that Miranda is a mermaid, she makes Martin admit it. But when Miranda overhears Clare telling Paul that the public must be told, Miranda wheels herself down to the Thames and makes her escape into the water. She had previously told them she would go to Majorca for a visit.

In the final scene, Miranda is shown on a rock, holding a merbaby on her lap.


Original play

The film was based on a play by Peter Blackmore. He says he was inspired to write it after reading a scientific article about mermaids.[4]

In the play on which the film is based, Miranda eventually has to return to Cornwall to spawn, much to the displeasure of Martin's wife.

The play was a hit in London – starring Genine Graham – and had a run in New York with Diana Lynn.[5][6]


The film was put into production hurriedly in order to beat Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid to the screen.[7] The initial director was Michael Chorlton.[8] According to Ken Annakin, filming had been going for less than two weeks when Chorlton was fired by the head of the studio, Sydney Box, who was unhappy with the director's handling of the material, particularly his over-use of wide-angle, deep focus camera techniques. Box asked Annakin, who had just finished filming Broken Journey to take over, which the director reluctantly did after Box pointed out it was either him or someone else. Annakin took over with three days of preparation.[9]

Annakin said the "script was full of well-tried, funny fishy jokes" and "was inevitably going to be a stagey-type movie."[10] He says he "despised" Griffith Jones "as a man" because he was difficult to deal with, "always trying to score over the other actors."[11] Annakin says he developed a crush on Johns during filming and she tried to seduce him one night (she was married, but her husband was gay) - but he refused because he did not want her to have power over him. They went on to make six more films together.[12]

The end credits include the line "Tail by Dunlop". All underwater scenes were shot with a stunt double. Joan Hebden[citation needed] wore the tail by Dunlop. Glynis Johns stated in later interviews that the rubber tail was very buoyant, which caused problems as it tended to keep her head under the water.[13]

There was location filming in London and Cornwall.[14]


Box office

The film was one of the most popular movies at the British box office in 1948.[15][16] According to Kinematograph Weekly the 'biggest winner' at the box office in 1948 Britain was The Best Years of Our Lives with Spring in Park Lane being the best British film and 'runners up' being It Always Rains on Sunday, My Brother Jonathan, Road to Rio, Miranda, An Ideal Husband, Naked City, The Red Shoes, Green Dolphin Street, Forever Amber, Life with Father, The Weaker Sex, Oliver Twist, The Fallen Idol and The Winslow Boy.[17]

Producer's receipts were £143,400 in the UK and £32,600 overseas[18] meaning it recorded a profit of £5,600.[1] Annakin says the film was not popular in America at all due to the release of Mr Peabody and the Mermaid; he claims the makers of that movie threatened to sue Gainsborough for copyright infringement but the latter were protected by the fact it was based on a play.[19]

DVD release

The film was released on home video for the first time in North America on DVD on 5 July 2011 from VCI Entertainment.

See also


  1. ^ a b c Spicer, Andrew (2006). Sydney Box. Manchester Uni Press. p. 210. ISBN 9780719059995.
  2. ^ Chapman, J. (2022). The Money Behind the Screen: A History of British Film Finance, 1945-1985. Edinburgh University Press p 354.
  3. ^ Chapman p 354. Income is in terms of producer's share of receipts.
  4. ^ "FILM NEWS". Coolgardie Miner. Vol. VIII, no. 744. Western Australia. 8 September 1949. p. 1 (MODERN WEEKLY News Magazine). Retrieved 31 August 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  5. ^ GLADWIN, H. A. (20 June 1948). "NEW LOOK FOR COAST STRAW HATS". New York Times. ProQuest 108105115.
  6. ^ Hayward, Philip (2017). Making a Splash: Mermaids (and Mer-Men) in 20th and 21st Century Audiovisual Media. Indiana University Press. ISBN 9780861969258.
  7. ^ "Glynis Johns has a mermaid tail in "Miranda"". The Australian Women's Weekly. Vol. 15, no. 6. 19 July 1947. p. 36. Retrieved 31 August 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  8. ^ Andrew Spicer, "The Apple of Mr. Rank's Mercatorial Eye’: Managing Director of Gainsborough Pictures
  9. ^ Annakin p 33
  10. ^ Annakin p 34
  11. ^ Annakin p 34
  12. ^ Annakin p 36-38
  13. ^ "- YouTube". YouTube.
  14. ^ "Miranda". Reel Streets. Retrieved 2 December 2021.
  15. ^ "THE STARRY WAY". The Courier-Mail. Brisbane. 8 January 1949. p. 2. Retrieved 11 July 2012 – via National Library of Australia.
  16. ^ Thumim, Janet. "The popular cash and culture in the postwar British cinema industry". Screen. Vol. 32, no. 3. p. 258.
  17. ^ Lant, Antonia (1991). Blackout : reinventing women for wartime British cinema. Princeton University Press. p. 232.
  18. ^ Chapman p 354
  19. ^ Annakin p 36


External links

This page was last edited on 23 May 2023, at 12:18
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