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Phaedra is a poor sponge diver on the lovely Greek isle of Hydra. While diving, she discovers an ancient brass and gold statue of a boy riding a dolphin, which is said to have the magical power to grant wishes. Her shiftless boyfriend wants to sell it to an unscrupulous art collector, but Phaedra wants to give it to anthropologist Jim Calder, who would return it to the Greek government.Written by
The writing on the signpost " Meteora 4 km" Webb passes on his way to the monastery is in Latin letters instead of Greek ones. See more »
Dr. James 'Jim' Calder:
May I remind you of Paragraph 9 of the Penal Code of Greece:
[reading from a book]
Dr. James 'Jim' Calder:
"Any and all objects of a historical value cannot under any circumstances be removed from Greek territory or territorial waters. They...
[quoting by memory]
... they are to be considered the property of the Greek nation."
Yes, Jim, I know all about Greek Paragraph 9 - *I'm* the reason they wrote it!
See more »
Opening credits prologue: THE ISLANDS OF GREECE See more »
Sophia Loren is the key to this whole film and whatever you experience with it. Her natural acting gifts, screen presence, beauty and overall pulchritude are remarkable. View it to experience the phenomenon of Sophia. Everything else I am about to write is secondary, but here you are:
The location is attractive as is the lovely theme song. Clifton Webb is notable of course. The story is sort of "An American sojourns in Greece" with nice scenery and water and a cute kid. Its inoffensive and OK 1950's fare.
As for Ladd, he is giving his competent leading man performance that he did on a sort of standard basis, always in his quiet underplayed manner. He's adequate.
Ladd was taller than Robinson, Cagney and numerous others. Paul Newman was often unfairly called "short". Ingrid Bergman was an inch taller than Bogart yet who taunts Bogart about "Casablanca"? Here are the 2 real issues :
(1)- Sophia is a tall woman, taller than her own husband Carlo Ponti, and she towers over many male actors in most of her movies. She is a half inch taller than was Humphrey Bogart (she never made a movie with him so we don't know if he would have stood on a box).
(2)- Sophia was half Ladd's age! The problem in this film is mostly the tremendous age difference between an older, declining leading man and a vigorous, very young beginner actress.
"Taunts" of Ladd's height then and now are missing the point: I believe that the veteran and savvy Ladd probably was rather disinterested as he realized something was awkward here but not height. He was wondering "what am I doing here in these scenes with this young chick half my age?" The following year Ladd made a film with 41-year old leading lady Olivia DeHavilland and it worked.
So these are my theories but please keep them in perspective. "Boy on a Dolphin" is all about Sophia and all this other stuff is really only minor details.
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