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Splash (1984)

“Can a mermaid from Cape Cod find happiness in dry dock with a wholesale grocery distributor from Manhattan?”

Tom Hanks is an industrious but unfulfilled New York bachelor named Allen who runs a successful wholesale produce market. He has never been the same since he was eight years old when he fell off a boat near Cape Cod and got rescued by a mermaid. Twenty years later, Allen is still hung up on that mermaid. No other girl measures up.

So one day he climbs into a New York cab, says “Cape Cod!” to the driver, and about $2000 later, he’s back on the beach in Cape Cod, where the same mermaid (the luscious Daryl Hannah) rises from the sea and rescues him all over again.

Following him to the Big Apple to return his wallet, the mermaid emerges naked from the river and gets arrested at the foot of the Statue of Liberty for indecent exposure.

Ensconced in Allen’s apartment, her secret is safe as long as she’s dry. But every once in a while, she almost blows her cover by pouring salt in the bath and growing a tailfin that looks like one of Marlene Dietrich’s skin-tight beaded evening gowns from the Cafe de Paris.

She’s never been out of the water before, but she knows enough to get to Bloomingdale’s. She takes the name Madison from a street sign, learns English in one afternoon from watching TV, and in no time she’s fallen in love with the joy credit cards can bring to a girl with no underwear.

After malevolent mad scientist Eugene Levy (from SCTV) hoses her down and exposes her, the press has a field day and she is taken away to an institute. Scientists torture and mutilate the once-beautiful Madison with lab tests and experiments, draining her of her independence and beauty.

Hanks has now fallen in love with her, and with the help of his fat, preening and terminally horny older brother, Freddie (John Candy), he sets out to rescue her, with the inevitable car chase through the New York traffic.

Splash was the work of thirty-year-old Ron Howard. The world will always know him first as little Opie on The Andy Griffith Show, then for years as Richie Cunningham on Happy Days.

Howard was always the freckle-faced redhead with the big gumdrop eyes who answered the eternal question of worried parents everywhere: “Do you know where your children are?”

Then he launched a successful new career as a film director, and it’s probably safe to say there was some accuracy in his all-American clean-cut image.

Splash was sexy and borderline raunchy (especially when funnyman John Candy is onscreen), but it was also wholesome and full of wide-eyed boy’s book splendour and awe. It’s easily one of Ron Howard’s best films.

“All my life, I’ve been waiting for someone. And when I find her, she’s a fish.”

Allen Bauer
Tom Hanks

Daryl Hannah
Freddie Bauer

John Candy
Walter Kornbluth

Eugene Levy
Mrs Stimler

Dody Goodman
Mr Buyrite

Shecky Greene
Dr Ross

Richard B. Shull

Bobby Di Cicco
Dr Zidell

Howard Morris

Patrick Cronin
David Knell
Jeff Doucette

Royce D. Applegate

Tony Longo
Ms Stein

Nora Denney
The President

Charles Macaulay
Dr Johannsen

Ronald F. Hoiseck
Joe Grifasi
Rance Howard
Lt. Ingram
David Lloyd Nelson
Fat Jack
Al Chesney
Babaloo Mandel
Dr Hess
Pierre Epstein
Sgt Munson
Joe Cirillo

Tom Toner
Sgt Leleandowski

Lee Delano

Nick Cinardo
Mr Ambrose

Than Wyenn
Dr Fujimoto

Eileen Saki
Ralph Bauer

Bill Smitrovich
Mary Bauer
Nancy Raffa
Young Allen
David Kreps
Young Madison
Shayla Mackarvich

Ron Howard