A young man is reunited with a mermaid who saved him from drowning as a boy. He falls in love with her, not knowing who or what she is.A young man is reunited with a mermaid who saved him from drowning as a boy. He falls in love with her, not knowing who or what she is.A young man is reunited with a mermaid who saved him from drowning as a boy. He falls in love with her, not knowing who or what she is.
I was working at a bookstore in a local mall prior to "Splash's" release. I was behind one of the cash registers when two men (one bald, or so I recalled, the other wearing a beret), standing above five feet, both wearing long black trench coats, and both speaking Italian (or possibly Greek), came into the store. They wanted books on mermaids, and said it was for Bo Derek's new film.
Being a shopping mall bookstore, and a small one at that, we didn't have a whole lot on mermaids. But I remember pointing them to the small mythology section, and hearing some rustling and mumbling in Italian. They came back, reminded us that it was for "Bo Derek's new film..." to which we (myself and one other employee) shrugged, and guided them to another section (children's fiction, I think). Dismayed they complained to us that there was nothing there, to which we told them that we must not have anything, and that they might want to check the library.
They left, and argued with one another out in front of the store. My coworker laughed, commenting "They know Bo Derek? Ya right!" I shrugged, and replied "You never know." Reflecting back on that episode I know understand that these were either the art directors or conceptual artists for the "other" mermaid film that was to be the basis for the mermaid-film-market that summer. Only Ron Howard was able to get his project off and completed before my two Italian patrons could get the green-light for their film.
I can't imagine what the other film would've been like. It probably would've been long, sappy, mildly amusing, and probably painted over with John Derek's supposedly "erotic" cinematography of his then wife.
I'm glad "Splash" came out, and was as funny as it was, and as big a hit as it was. Sometimes films don't need a market competitor, and deserve to monopolize the playing field. Not always, but sometimes they do. "Splash" could've fallen into the Mariana's trench of summer B-movies, but Howard and company had the right intuition to make the film smart, and not to put a nail in Davy Jones's locker by making "Madison" some mindless love interest.
I can imagine Bo's movie would've had her roaming naked on the screen for about a third of the film, and probably would've packed the theatres with older teenage boys and frat-rats. I guess there's a place for that sort of thing. Even so I'm glad "Splash" was the film that made the charts instead of that other one.
- Jul 27, 2005