Sunday, March 3, 2013

George C. Scott in The Day of the Dolphin (1973)

Jake Terrell (Scott) and his wife (Trish Van Devere) are researching dolphin intelligence and their relationship with humans. In the process of their research they've been able to directly communicate with one of them by teaching him English. Unbeknownst to them, there are radical right wing forces bent on destroying the President of the United States. They've learned of Terrell's dolphin and plans to use him and his mate to carry out the job.
This film is directed by Mike Nichols and the screen play is by Buck Henry, so when I first started watching it I was sort of expecting a comedy - at least I was expecting some satire. Instead, it explores some of the more esoteric ideas about our relationship to other species in the setting of a political thriller. It's marginally successful at both, though tends to have a bit of a split personality.  

This film does not have a high profile, though it is remembered by some. It was nominated for two Academy Awards (score and sound) but has fallen into obscurity over the years. Above is a television commercial for a 1977 airing of it, uploaded to YouTube by robatsea2009

Obscurity factor: 7 (available on DVD, not largely remembered)


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  2. It was on VHS, is out on DVD and played TV frequently enough (and, is on TCM these days). Plus, as you noted, nominated for 2 Oscars. I'd only rate it a 3 or 4 on the Oscurity scale.

    All that said, I would rate it at least a 7 on the "Underrated scale". Very interesting movie.

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  4. Six months this permanently in moth balls?

  5. As IMDb mentions, Roman Polanski was scheduled to direct, until his wife, Sharon Tate, was murdered by "The Manson Family."

  6. Nice blog. One addition:"Scandalous" 1984. So bad, it's good. Cool opening titles/song. Poor Sir John Gielgud.
    Keep up the good work.

  7. I saw this movie with my grandpa when I was little. It facinated me about dolphins.

  8. I saw this movie with my grandpa when I was little. It facinated me about dolphins.

  9. Hi just found this site and it's brought back some great/forgotten movies!

    As it's been 6 years(!) Since your last post I've got to ask - why no updates since?

    1. Hi Moveover0, life just intervened... I have some other things taking up my time. It's on my list to get back to though.