Ranger Porter Ricks is responsible for the animal and human life in Coral Key Park, Florida. Stories center on his 15-year-old son Sandy and 10-year-old Bud and, especially, on their pet dolphin Flipper.
Sandy Ricks is sent by his mother to Coral Key, a rustic island in the Florida keys, to spend the summer with his uncle Porter Ricks. Sandy dislikes everything about his new environment ... See full summary »
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The Florida Keys have been hit by hard times of late. First, a red plague kills off much of the fish in the area. And second, Hurricane Hazel unexpectedly changes course to hit the Keys. Regardless, the Ricks family - fisherman father Po (short for Porter), wife Martha, their preteen son Sandy, and Sandy's pet pelican Pete - live in all its aspects by the sea, even during these hard times. When Sandy witnesses the accidental spearing of a dolphin, he, on his own, decides to find the dolphin to put it out of its misery. Upon finding the injured dolphin, Sandy, not having the heart to shoot him, decides instead to tow the dolphin home. With some care and love, Sandy and Martha nurse the dolphin back to health. Sandy wants to keep the dolphin, who he's named Flipper, but Po ultimately releases Flipper, who he sees as "the enemy": a creature who is on the hunt for whatever short supply of fish there are around the Keys. But Po learns that friends - what Flipper and Sandy are to each other...Written by
Flipper is an exceedingly pleasant, modest picture about a boy and his dolphin, and features easygoing, natural performances from Luke Halpin, as the boy, and Chuck Connors, as his rugged, seafaring father. The film is the first in the franchise that led eventually to a popular TV show. Producer Ivan Tors, who was also the man behind the Sea Hunt series on television, struck gold again with this one, a nice alternative at the time (and now) to the prevailing Disney family fare. It's hard to pinpoint how this and other Tors projects differ from what the Disney studio was making. The kids are a bit less goody two-shoes, the grownups more realistic. One doesn't have the virtual insurance that nearly every Disney film at the time offered that everything would work out in the end, so the moments of suspense and danger have a real edge. Flipper, by the way, has a real personality, and has a way of making you care for him. For those who care for the sea, marine life or just simple movies about kids and animals, this one's a darn good show.
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