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Saturday, January 27, 2018

The Little Mermaid (1961)

A young mermaid (Shirley Temple) rescues a Prince (Donald Harron, THE BEST OF EVERYTHING) from drowning. She falls hopelessly in love with him and makes a deal with the evil merwitch (Nina Foch) to give her legs so she can live on land and be near her Prince. But she only has 100 days to make him marry her or she will die. Based on the beloved 1837 fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen and directed by Roger Kay. Perhaps its most famous incarnation is the 1989 animated Walt Disney musical. However although it ends differently from the Disney film neither version stays true to the spiritual nature of Andersen's original ending. The acting is rather stiff and Temple's talent as a child actress didn't transition well to her adult years. Only Nina Foch and Ray Walston (as a sting ray) who get to overdo the evil get an opportunity to move beyond the drab if sincere acting of the other players. There's a lovely underscore by Walter Scharf. With Cathleen Nesbitt, Torin Thatcher, Nancy Kulp, Francine York and J. Pat O'Malley.  

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