USA 1984, 110 mins
Director: Ron Howard

When Allen encounters Madison, he thinks he’s finally met the girl of his dreams. Unbeknown to him, she is actually a mermaid and, while the romantic feelings are mutual, there’s an ocean of issues to address if they have a chance of making their relationship work. The first film from Touchstone, Splash was a hit with critics and audiences alike, thanks to a smart script, the chemistry of rising stars Darryl Hannah and Tom Hanks, and a Ron Howard’s seamless direction.

A contemporary review
Financed not by Disney Studios but by Buena Vista, their distribution set-up, Splash finds itself free to quote from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea on one of the television sets with which Madison becomes fascinated, and to have Allen express his inner feelings as romance blossoms with an a cappella rendition of ‘Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah’. However, since Uncle Walt is nowhere invoked on the credits by name, the film is also able to sidestep the coyness that restricted the aquatic activities of Ann Blyth in Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid and Glynis Johns in Miranda, allowing the splendid Daryl Hannah to be innocently, tastefully naked, in and out of the water, before she succumbs to the human joys of Bloomingdales and Allen’s credit card. Like Something Wicked This Way Comes and Never Cry Wolf, Splash is a typically Disney subject trying to be grown up. But while Jack Clayton’s magical Americana and Carroll Ballard’s True Life Adventure interpret adulthood as a need to make solemn pronouncements, Ron Howard’s updating of certain sit-com fantasies is far more relaxed and mature, constructed (like his equally amiable Night Shift) not as a hommage to a bygone genre but as a contemporary addition to it. The opposition of the hero’s hectic, everyday world and the heroine’s serene dreamland is a sophisticated development of the obviousness of Brigadoon, made workable by Howard’s fine comic sense in the topside scenes, and the elegant realisation of a clearwater marine paradise (with Bahaman seas standing in for Cape Cod and New York harbour) as Madison frolics among the corals and takes refuge in a sunken galleon whose charts usefully guide her to New York.

The attempts at physical comedy (Kornbluth’s Clouseau-like efforts to wet Madison down; the final chase) do not match the script’s wide-ranging verbal wit. But Hannah and Tom Hanks make the potentially slippery human/non-human love affair the most convincing and touching since the heyday of I Married a Witch and The Ghost and Mrs. Muir. Having learnt the director’s trade on New World car-action films (Grand Theft Auto) and made-for-TV movies (Cotton Candy), Howard, the likeable teenage straight man from American Graffiti and Happy Days, has now made the most interesting actor-to-director career move since Clint Eastwood began obsessively re-examining his own screen image. In a period when comedy in the cinema is equated with getting laid and food fights, Howard stands for off-beat ideas, oddball characters, snappy dialogue, comedians who genuinely get involved in their roles (Hannah abandoned her own screen treatment of The Little Mermaid to play the part), and a childlike but not childish enchantment that puts E.T. to shame. While Disney’s recent highly touted attempts to break the company’s kiddie image have failed to recoup their overly generous budgets, Splash –which would certainly have met with the approval of the man whose topless mermaids and nymphs had their nipples air-brushed out of Fantasia – has become the studio’s biggest hit in fifteen years.
Kim Newman, Monthly Film Bulletin, June 1984

Director: Dick Lundy
USA 1939
8 mins

Director: Ron Howard
©: Inc. Buena Vista Distribution Co.
Executive Producer: John Thomas Lenox
Producer: Brian Grazer
Production Manager: John Thomas Lenox
Production Supervisors: Ira Marvin, Joseph P. Kane
Production Co-ordinator: Bobbi Kronowitz
Production Co-ordinator (New York): Cleve Kingston, Jane Raab
Location Manager (Los Angeles): William T. Schneider
Location Manager (New York): Harry Grier
Location Manager (Bahamas): B.J. Johnson
1st Assistant Director: Jan R. Lloyd
2ns Assistant Directors: Doug Metzger, Christopher Griffin, Hans Anthony Beimler
Screenplay: Lowell Ganz, Babaloo Mandel, Bruce Jay Friedman
Original Story: Bruce Jay Friedman, Brian Grazer
Director of Photography: Don Peterman
Underwater Photography (Bahamas): Jordan Klein
Camera Operator (Los Angeles): John Connor
Camera Operator (New York): Jon Fauer
Panaglide Operator (New York): Craig DiBona
Special Photography Effects Supervisor: Philip Meador
Special Visual Effects Supervisor: Mitch Suskin
Special Effects Supervisor (Los Angeles): Roland Tantin
Mermaid Design/Construction: Robert Short
Special Mechanical Effects (Los Angeles): Hans Metz
Editor: Daniel Hanley, Michael Hill
Production Designer: Jack T. Collis
Art Director (Los Angeles): John B. Mansbridge
Set Decorator (Los Angeles): Norman Rockett
Set Decorator (New York): Philip Smith
Costume Supervisor: Jack Sandeen
Costume Designer: May Routh
Key Costumer: Sandy Berke Jordan
Men’s Costumer (Los Angeles): Charles De Muth
Men’s Costumer (New York): Jody Berke
Makeup Supervisor: Robert J. Schiffer
Makeup Artist: Bruce Hutchinson
Title Design: Wayne Fitzgerald, David Oliver
Music: Lee Holdridge
Additional Orchestrations: Alf Clausen
Music Co-ordinator: Sidney James
Supervising Music Editor: Jack Wadsworth
Music Editor: Richard S. Luckey
Music Recording: Shawn Murphy
Swimming Choreography: Michael Nomad
Sound Supervisor: Bob Hathaway
Sound Recording: Richard Church
Sound Re-recording: Richard Portman, Nick Alphin, Frank Regula, Tom Gerard
Supervising Sound Effects Editor: Joseph Parker
Sound Effects Editor: George Fredrick
Stunt Co-ordinator (Los Angeles): Fred M. Waugh
Stunt Co-ordinator (New York): Victor Magnotta, Edgard Mourino
Stunt Co-ordinator (Bahamas): Hubie Kerns Jr
Nautical Co-ordinator (Los Angeles): Motion Picture Marine Inc
Nautical Co-ordinator (Bahamas): James Steven Claridge, Gavin McKinney

Tom Hanks (Allen Bauer)
Daryl Hannah (Madison)
Eugene Levy (Dr Walter Kornbluth)
John Candy (Freddie Bauer)
Dody Goodman (Mrs Stimler)
Shecky Greene (Mr Buyrite)
Richard B. Shull (Dr Ross)
Bobby Dicicco (Jerry)
Howard Morris (Dr Zidell)
Tony Di Benedetto (Tim, doorman)
Patrick Cronin (Michaelson)
Charles Walker (Michaelson’s Partner)
David Knell (Claude)
Jeff Doucette (Junior)
Royce D. Applegate (Buckwalter)
Tony Longo (Augie)
Nora Denny (Ms Stein)
Charles Macaulay (The President)
Ronald F. Hoiseck (Dr Johannsen)
Lou Tiano (Bartender)
Joe Grifasi (Manny)
Rance Howard (McCullough)
Corki Corman-Grazer (wife)
Fred Lerner (husband)
David Lloyd Nelson (Lieutenant Ingram)
Al Chesney (Fat Jack)
Lowell Ganz (Stan, tour guide)
James Ritz (TV department manager)
Maurice Rice (TV salesman)
Babaloo Mandel (Rudy)
Pierre Epstein (Dr Hess)
Cheryl Howard, Louisa Marie (girls at wedding)
Valerie Wildman. Christopher Thomas, Richard Dano, Clint Howard (wedding guests)
Ron Kuhlman (man with date)
Lori Kessler (girl with date)
Joe Cirillo (Sergeant Munson)
Tom Toner (Parilli)
Lee Delano (Sergeant Lelandowski)
Migdia Varela (Wanda)
Jack Denton (man by elevator)
Nick Cinardo (George)
Fil Formicola (policeman)
Than Wyenn (Mr Ambrose)
Clare Peck (TV reporter)
Eileen Saki (Dr Fujimoto)
Jodi Long, Victoria Lucas, Jeffrey Dreisbach Amy Ingersoll, Daryl Edwards, Jack Hallett (reporters)
Bill Smitrovich (Ralph Bauer)
Nancy Raffa (Mary Bauer)
David Kreps (Young Allen)
Jason Late (Young Freddie)
Shayla MacKarvich (Young Madison)

USA 1984
110 mins

With thanks to The Walt Disney Company

Disney’s Silly Symphonies
Sat 1 Jul 13:00; Mon 3 Jul 18:20
Dinosaur + Get a Horse!
Sat 1 Jul 15:20; Sun 23 Jul 18:15
Tangled + Tangled ever After
Sat 1 Jul 17:50; Sun 23 Jul 13:10
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs + Thru the Mirror
Sun 2 Jul 13:20; Sat 22 Jul 17:45; Mon 24 Jul 14:20
Who Framed Roger Rabbit + Tummy Trouble + Rollercoaster Rabbit
Sun 2 Jul 15:40; Sat 22 Jul 20:30
Splash + Sea Scouts
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Thus 6 Jul 18:15
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Sat 15 Jul 15:10; Fri 21 Jul 18:00
TRON: Legacy + Sanjay’s Super Team
Sat 15 Jul 17:45; Fri 28 Jul 20:20
Sat 15 Jul 20:45; Sat 29 Jul 12:30
Funday Workshop: Encanto Sing-along
Sun 16 Jul 11:00
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Sun 16 Jul 12:30
Hocus Pocus
Sun 16 Jul 18:10; Wed 26 Jul 20:40
Moana + Inner Workings
Mon 17 Jul 18:00; Sat 29 Jul 13:00; Mon 31 Jul 14:20
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Sat 22 Jul 11:50; Mon 24 Jul 18:05; Thu 27 Jul 14:20
Once Upon a Time: A Disney Day
Sat 22 Jul 12:00-17:00
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Sun 23 Jul 12:50; Sat 29 Jul 16:00
Toy Story 2 + Tin Toy + Knick Knack
Sun 23 Jul 15:30
Pocahontas + Lava
Sun 23 Jul 15:40; Fri 28 Jul 14:20; Sat 29 Jul 20:40
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Programme notes and credits compiled by Sight and Sound and the BFI Documentation Unit
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