Boy on a Dolphin (1957) 720p

Movie Poster
Boy on a Dolphin (1957) bluray - Movie Poster
Adventure | Drama
Frame Rate:
23.976 fps
English 2.0  
Run Time:
111 min
IMDB Rating:
6.2 / 10 
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Directors: Jean Negulesco [Director] ,

Movie Description:
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. —Kona


  • Boy on a Dolphin (1957) bluray - Movie Scene 1
  • Boy on a Dolphin (1957) bluray - Movie Scene 2
  • Boy on a Dolphin (1957) bluray - Movie Scene 1

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Sophia Loren in all her glory, doted on by old Clifton Webb and Alan Ladd

Clifton Webb and Alan Ladd are two competitive archaeologists in Greece, and when a girl from the islands present them with an opportunity, they get stuck on Sophia Loren more than on her findings. They are British and American, one with money, the other without, but Sophia is all Greek, and this film is all Greece in all its glory, Sophia matching it perfectly, as the best illustration and promotion Greece could ever get at the time. The colours are glorious, especially the underwater scenes are miraculous in their exploration, reminding of Jacques-Yves Costeau's and Louis Malle's "The Silent World" the year before, and the story is likeable enough, with the boy (Sophia's brother) acting as a deus ex machina, and the dyspeptic doctor (Laurence Naismith), who actually is the best actor of them all. I saw this film as a child and always wanted to see it again, but I had to wait for 60 years... but what a rewarding fulfillment!

Girl in a wet dress

"Boy on a Dolphin" looks fabulous. It was shot for the most part in the Greek Isles and if ever there was a film that did justice to Cinemascope it's this one.

It has one of the most beautiful music scores for a film ever. It also has Clifton Webb, who like George Sanders could lift any movie he was in. And then it has 22-year-old Sophia Loren, also doing justice to the Cinemascope process in a wet, figure-clinging dress - diving into the sea, swimming under the sea and climbing out of the sea - the Production Code people back in Hollywood must have been on holidays when that footage came up for review.

It stars Alan Ladd. This was toward the end of his career, but we saw a lot of him in the 1950's. He has an easy assurance here although it's sad watching him knowing that he was gone a few years later aged only 50.

Sophia Loren plays Phaedra who dives for sponges off her loser boyfriend's boat. When she discovers an ancient statue she tries to change their fortunes by selling it to a ruthless collector of antiquities, Victor Parmelee (Clifton Webb). However an honest American archaeologist Dr. James Calder (Alan Ladd) steps between Phaedra and Parmelee and also between Phaedra and her boyfriend.

This was Sophia's first movie in English and she plays the whole thing in a fairly shrill manner, she is much better when she is diving into, swimming under or climbing out of the sea etc. However, it's hard to take your eyes off her. I first saw this film back in 1957 at age 10, an era when the thought of sex education made everyone feel uncomfortable, but I'm sure Sophia in this film helped set my gender preferences for the future.

The music was by Hugo Friedhofer, and orchestral colour was his forte (he had orchestrated for Steiner and Korngold). He was brilliant at incorporating folk music and instruments into his symphonic scores. Here he infused his score with Greek music and gave the whole thing an ethereal quality - just listen to the music that accompanies Parmelee on the road to the Metoria Monastery.

Watching "Boy on a Dolphin" is always a happy experience for me, nostalgia plays a part of course, but then again, what's not to like?

Sophia Loren

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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