Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Ron Howard|
|Produced by||Brian Grazer|
|Screenplay by||Lowell Ganz
Bruce Jay Friedman
|Story by||Bruce Jay Friedman|
|Music by||Lee Holdridge|
|Editing by||Daniel P. Hanley
|Distributed by||Buena Vista Distribution|
|Running time||111 minutes|
Splash is a 1984 American fantasy romantic comedy film directed by Ron Howard, written by Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel, and starring Tom Hanks, Daryl Hannah, John Candy, Eugene Levy, and Dody Goodman. The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. The original music score was composed by Lee Holdridge. It was the first film released by Disney's Touchstone Pictures.
As an eight year-old boy, Allen Bauer (David Kreps) is vacationing with his family near Cape Cod. While taking a sight-seeing tour on a ferry, he gazes into the ocean and sees something below the surface that fascinates him. Allen jumps into the water, even though he cannot swim. He grasps the hands of a girl who is inexplicably under the water with him and an instant connection forms between the two. Allen is quickly pulled to the surface by the deck hands and the two are separated, though apparently no one else sees the girl. After the ferry moves off, Allen continues to look back at the girl in the water, who cries at their separation. She then dives underwater again, showing her mermaid's tail. Allen comes to believe the encounter was a near-death vision hallucination, but his bond with the mermaid proves so strong that his subsequent relationships with women invariably fail as he seeks the connection he felt with the mermaid.
Years later, Allen (Tom Hanks) is a co-owner of a wholesale fruit and vegetable business in New York City with his womanizing older brother Freddie (John Candy). Depressed after his latest breakup, Allen returns to Cape Cod, where he briefly encounters eccentric scientist Dr. Walter Kornbluth (Eugene Levy) and again falls into the sea. He wakes up on a beach where he encounters a beautiful naked woman (Daryl Hannah) who, unknown to him, is the mermaid he met as a boy (her tail transforms into legs when it becomes dry). He instantly becomes attracted to her as she had again saved him from drowning. After kissing him, she dives into the sea and leaves Allen to return home. Kornbluth, while diving in order to seek proof of strange sea creatures, also encounters the mermaid in her sea form, causing him to become obsessed with finding her again.
The mermaid finds Allen's wallet that he dropped in the water and decides to find him in New York. She comes ashore naked at the Statue of Liberty, where she is remanded for indecent exposure much to the dismay of a group of visitors. Gaining information from Allen's wallet, the mermaid gets released into his care. She picks up English from watching television all day and chooses the name Madison from a Madison Avenue sign. Madison is vague about where she comes from and tries to distract Allen from asking questions about her country of origin. She tells Allen that she will be in New York for "six fun-filled days when the moon is full" and if she stays longer, she can never go home again (the reason for this is unexplained, though in the Special Features of the 2004 DVD edition, there is a reference to a deleted scene in which Madison has visited a sea hag and made some sort of bargain). Despite Madison's occasional unusual behavior, she and Allen fall in love. Allen eventually proposes to Madison, to which she declines, refusing to explain why and runs away, leaving Allen confused and heartbroken. After pondering her reason for coming to the city in the first place, Madison returns to Allen and agrees to marry him, with the added promise of telling him the truth about her at an upcoming dignity dinner to welcome the President of the United States.
Meanwhile, Kornbluth, realizing that the naked woman at Liberty Island was the mermaid he had encountered, pursues the couple, trying to expose her as a mermaid by splashing her with water. Many attempts are unsuccessful and Kornbluth ends up with multiple injuries, including a badly broken arm and whiplash. When he finally does so at the dignity dinner attended by Allen and Madison, the exposed mermaid is taken in by government scientists led by Kornbluth's cold-hearted former colleague and rival Dr. Ross (Richard B. Shull) for examination. However, Kornbluth regrets his actions after he learns that Madison is due to be studied and dissected, as he just wanted to prove that he wasn't crazy.
Allen is, of course, shocked by Madison's secret and when he denies his love for her, Freddie lashes out at him, telling his brother how happy he was with her. Finally, Allen confronts a guilt-ridden Kornbluth at the dentist, who agrees to help him.
Impersonating two Swedish scientists, Freddie and Allen enter the lab with Kornbluth and manage to smuggle Madison outside. Madison makes it back to the ocean and tells Allen that he can survive under water as long as he is with her. Allen realizes she was the young mermaid he had met so long before. The United States military arrive to recapture her for research, ignoring Allen's demands to let her be free. Although Madison warns him that if he comes to live in the sea he can't return, he jumps into the water after her and they elude their pursuers. Together they swim along the ocean floor toward what appears to be an underwater kingdom.
- Tom Hanks as Allen Bauer
- Daryl Hannah as Madison
- John Candy as Freddie Bauer
- Eugene Levy as Dr. Walter Kornbluth
- Dody Goodman as Mrs. Stimler
- Richard B. Shull as Dr. Ross
- Shecky Greene as Mr. Buyrite
- Bobby Di Cicco as Jerry
- Howard Morris as Dr. Zidell
- Patrick Cronin as Michaelson
- Jeff Doucette as Junior
- Royce D. Applegate as Buckwalter
- Tony Longo as Augie
- Nora Denney as Mrs. Stein
- Joe Grifasi as Manny
- Rance Howard as McCullough
- Lowell Ganz as Stan, the Tour Guide
- Babaloo Mandel as Rudy
- Clint Howard as Wedding Guest
- Lee Delano as Sergeant Leleandowski
- Migdia Chinea Varela as Wanda
- Eileen Saki as Dr. Fujimoto
- Jodi Long as Reporter
- Bill Smitrovich as Ralph Bauer
Screenwriters Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel both make cameo appearances in the film. Ganz plays Stan the Tour Guide in the scene set at the Statue of Liberty. Mandel plays the man in charge of ice skate rentals who tackles Tom Hanks' character when he tries to run out with his skates still on. Director Ron Howard's father, actor Rance Howard, can be seen early in the film as Mr. McCullough, an unhappy customer screaming at Allen about his cherries. Howard's brother Clint Howard can be seen as a wedding guest, identified by Candy's character as the bride's brother and yelled at by Hanks.
- A sequel, Splash, Too (directed by Greg Antonacci), appeared in 1988 as a television film (contradicting the first movie's finale revelation that if Allen goes to live in the sea, he can never return). Only one member of the original cast, Dody Goodman, the Bauers' slightly deranged assistant Mrs. Stimler, reprises her role.
- A novelization of the film, written by Ian Marter (under the pen name Ian Don), was published by Target Books in the United Kingdom.
According to the documentary on the Splash: 20th Anniversary Edition DVD in 2004, producer Brian Grazer had pitched the film to numerous studios but was turned down repeatedly until Walt Disney Productions, then headed by Ron Miller, agreed to produce the film. An issue at the time of production was the competition between Splash and another announced mermaid film from Warner Bros. that had lined up Warren Beatty as its star. Director Ron Howard promised the studio that Splash would be filmed more quickly and cheaply than the other film, which eventually fell through.
Many big name actors such as Jeff Bridges, Chevy Chase, Richard Gere, Kevin Kline, Bill Murray, and John Travolta were all considered for the lead role before the producers decided on the then lesser known Tom Hanks.
The film's content (including some language and brief nudity), which was deemed inappropriate for a Disney film at the time, led to the creation of the Touchstone Pictures label, which would release films targeted towards older audiences. Splash was the first film to be released by the new label.
Darryl Hannah's mermaid tail was designed and created by Academy Award-winning visual effects artist Robert Short.
The tail was fully functional. Hannah swam with the mermaid tail so fast that her safety team could not keep pace with her. According to the DVD documentary, Hannah had been swimming "mermaid" style with her legs bound together since she was a child, due to her fascination with Hans Christian Andersen's "The Little Mermaid" story.
The movie was a huge financial success. It was produced on an US$8 million budget, grossing $6,174,059 in its opening weekend and finished its domestic run with $69,821,334, making it the tenth highest-grossing film of 1984. The movie was also well received by critics and is considered to be one of the best films of 1984. It earned a 92% "Fresh" rating from the review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes.
- Saturn Award for Best Actress – Daryl Hannah
- National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Screenplay – Bruce Jay Friedman, Lowell Ganz, Babaloo Mandel
- Academy Award for Best Writing, Original Screenplay – Bruce Jay Friedman, Lowell Ganz, Brian Grazer, Babaloo Mandel
- Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy
- Writers Guild of America Award for Best Original Screenplay – Bruce Jay Friedman, Lowell Ganz, Babaloo Mandel
- Saturn Award for Best Direction – Ron Howard
- Saturn Award for Best Fantasy Film
- Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor – John Candy
- Saturn Award for Best Make-Up – Robert J. Schiffer
- Saturn Award for Best Make-Up – Robert Short
- Young Artist Award for Best Family Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
American Film Institute Lists
- AFI's 100 Years...100 Laughs – Nominated
- AFI's 100 Years...100 Passions – Nominated
- AFI's 10 Top 10 – Nominated Fantasy Film
Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner's 2006 book Freakonomics credits the film with popularizing the name "Madison" for girls, as does Steven Pinker's 2007 The Stuff of Thought. In the film, Daryl Hannah's character takes her name from Madison Avenue after walking past a road sign. Hanks' character comments that it is not a real name as, at the time, it was a rather unusual name for a woman. However, in the years since the film was released in theatres and re-released on VHS and then DVD, the name's popularity has skyrocketed.
According to the Social Security Administration, the name "Madison" was the 216th most popular name in the United States for girls in 1990, the 29th most popular name for girls in 1995, and the 3rd most popular name for girls in 2000. In 2005, the name finally cracked the top 50 most popular girls' names in the United Kingdom, and articles in British newspapers credit the film for the popularization.
Butch Hartman once credited the Eugene Levy character as the inspiration for his character of Denzel Crocker on The Fairly Oddparents. Both characters are obsessed with a certain legendary creature and spend their free time trying to prove that such creatures exist. In both cases, the characters have practically no social life and various enemies.
In Tom Green's 2001 film Freddy Got Fingered, when Gord is showing his cartoon "Zebras in America" to the head of the cartoon studio in an attempt to shop the drawings, he compares the cartoon to Splash calling it "A fish out of water story".
IMDB's actress and underwater stunt woman "Mermaid Melissa" films Real Life Adventures, have been a modern day tribute to Splash by replicating the mermaid tail in the likeness of the tail used for the movie. Becoming a real life mermaid underwater performer just as seen in the movie, underwater scenes are filmed using the tail not only as a prop but as a functioning realistic costume.
One episode of Alvin & The Chipmunks Go To The Movies contains a parody of "Splash" with the Chipmunks' version being called "Sploosh".
An official fourteen-track soundtrack for the film was released on both vinyl LP and cassette in the UK by Cherry Lane Records Ltd in 1984. Both have been out of print for many years. The catalogue numbers for these releases were PIPLP 710 and ZCPIP 710 respectively. In 2000 the soundtrack was released on a twenty six track CD in the U.S. by Super Tracks Music Group. The back cover states that this product is "For Promotional Use Only" and that it has been "Manufactured for the composer...". Although this release is very hard to find brand new and may in fact be out of print, it is still obtainable from certain movie soundtrack specialist retailers and also occasionally used from certain online stores. This CD has every track that the LP and cassette have but has a considerably longer running length due to the twelve extra tracks. These extra tracks include more of the original music from the film, the theme song (by Lee Holdridge and Will Jennings) sung by Rita Coolidge and alternate versions of some of the tracks which appear on the LP and Cassette. The catalogue number for this release is LH CD – 02.
Cherry Lane album track listing
- Love Came For Me (Love Theme) (2:34)
- Madison In Bloomingdale's (1:37)
- Mermaid On the Beach (2:32)
- Underwater (2:20)
- Reflection (1:03)
- Rainy Night (2:40)
- Face To Face (1:25)
- Escape And Chase (2:54)
- Madison And Allen (3:04)
- Moonlit Night (2:56)
- Daydream (:55)
- Raid On A Museum (:50)
- The Leap To Freedom (3:35)
- Return Home (1:23)
Super Tracks album track listing
- Main Title (1:51)
- First Meeting (1:33)
- The Boat/Mermaid On The Beach (2:34)
- Underwater – Version No. 1 (1:29)
- Underwater – Version No. 2 (1:25)
- Daydream (:57)
- Madison At Bloomingdale's (1:09)
- In The Bar (2:12)
- Late At Night (2:35)
- Watching TV (1:24)
- "I Love You" (1:41)
- Rainy Night (2:38)
- All Wet (1:07)
- Sneak Attack (1:03)
- Raid On A Museum (:43)
- Reunion (1:21)
- Escape And Chase (2:55)
- The Leap For Freedom (2:20)
- Return Home (2:14)
- Love Came To Me (Love Theme) – Rita Coolidge (4:30)
- End Title (3:07)
- Rainy Night – Version No. 2 (2:37)
- Escape And Chase – Film Version (2:54)
- The Leap For Freedom – Film Version (2:20)
- Love Came For Me – Solo Sax Version (2:36)
- Love Came For Me – Solo Guitar Version (3:48)
- Cinefantastique 14 (3). May 1984.
- "Box Office and Business Information for Splash". IMDb.com. Retrieved June 11, 2010.
- "Box Office Information for Splash". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved June 11, 2010.
- "1984 Domestic Grosses". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved August 5, 2010.
- "The 10 Best Movies of 1984". Film.com. Retrieved June 11, 2010.
- "Was 1984 the Greatest Year in Movies Ever?". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved June 11, 2010.
- "Best Films of 1984". listal.com. Retrieved August 5, 2010.
- "The Best Movies of 1984 by Rank". Films101.com. Retrieved June 11, 2010.
- "Splash Movie Reviews, Pictures". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved June 11, 2010.
- "Splash: Award Wins and Nominations". IMDb.com. Retrieved June 11, 2010.
- AFI's 100 Years...100 Laughs Nominees
- AFI's 100 Years...100 Passions Nominees
- AFI's 10 Top 10 Ballot
- "Popular Baby Names". Social Security Administration. Retrieved June 11, 2010.
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