Miranda (1948 film)

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UK release poster
Directed by Ken Annakin
Produced by Betty E. Box
Written by Peter Blackmore
additional dialogue
Denis Waldock
Based on Miranda (play)
by Peter Blackmore
Starring Glynis Johns
Googie Withers
Griffith Jones
Margaret Rutherford
Music by Temple Abady
Cinematography Ray Elton
Bryan Langley (uncredited)
Edited by Gordon Hales
Distributed by J. Arthur Rank
General Film Distributors (UK)
Eagle Lion (USA)
Release date
  • 6 April 1948 (1948-04-06)
Running time
80 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Budget £170,400[1]
Box office £181,300 (by Dec 1949)[1]

Miranda is a 1948 British comedy film, directed by Ken Annakin and written by Peter Blackmore, who also wrote the play of the same name from which the film was adapted. Denis Waldock provided additional dialogue. A light comedy, the film is about a beautiful and playful mermaid played by Glynis Johns and her effect on Griffith Jones' character. Googie Withers and Margaret Rutherford are also featured in the film. Glynis Johns and Margaret Rutherford reprised their roles in the 1954 sequel, Mad About Men.

Music for the film was played by the London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Muir Mathieson. The sound director was B. C. Sewell.

Plot summary[edit]

With his wife uninterested in fishing, Dr. Paul Martin goes on a holiday on the Cornwall coast alone. There he snags Miranda, a mermaid, and is pulled into the water. She keeps him prisoner in her underwater cavern and only lets him go after he agrees to show her London. He disguises her as an invalid patient in a wheelchair and takes her to his home for a month-long stay.

Martin's wife Clare reluctantly agrees to the arrangement, but gets him to hire someone to look after their guest. He selects Nurse Carey for her eccentric nature and takes her into his confidence. To Paul's relief, Carey is delighted to be working for a mermaid as she always believed they exist.

Miranda's seductive nature earns her the admiration of not only Paul, but also his chauffeur Charles, as well as Nigel, the fiancé of Clare's friend and neighbour Isobel, arousing the jealousy of the women in their lives. Nigel breaks off his engagement, but when he and Charles discover that Miranda has been flirting with both of them, they come to their senses.

Clare finally figures out what sort of creature Miranda really is. Miranda overhears her telling Paul that the public must be told. She wheels herself down to the river and makes her escape.

In the final scene, Miranda is shown on a rock, holding a merbaby on her lap.


Original Play[edit]

The film was based on a play by Peter Blackmore. He says he was inspired to write it after reading a scientific article about mermaids.[2]

In the play on which the film is based, Miranda eventually has to return to Cornwall to spawn, much to the displeasure of Martin's wife.

The play was a hit in London - starring Genine Graham - and had a run in New York with Diana Lynn.[3][4]


The film was put into production hurriedly in order to beat Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid to the screen.[5]

The end credits include the line "Tail by Dunlop". All underwater scenes were shot with a stunt double. Joan Hebden wore the tail by Dunlop.

The initial director was Michael Chorlton. He was sacked during filming.[6]

There was location filming in Cornwall.


The film was one of the most popular movies at the British box office in 1948.[7] It recorded a profit of £5,600.[1]

DVD release[edit]

The film was released on home video for the first time in North America on DVD on 5 July 2011 from VCI Entertainment.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Spicer, Andrew (2006). Sydney Box. Manchester Uni Press. p. 210.
  2. ^ "FILM NEWS". Coolgardie Miner. VIII, (744). Western Australia. 8 September 1949. p. 1 (MODERN WEEKLY News Magazine). Retrieved 31 August 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  3. ^ By GLADWIN, H. A. (1948, Jun 20). NEW LOOK FOR COAST STRAW HATS. New York Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.sl.nsw.gov.au/docview/108105115?accountid=13902
  4. ^ Hayward, Philip (2017). Making a Splash: Mermaids (and Mer-Men) in 20th and 21st Century Audiovisual Media. Indiana University Press.
  5. ^ "Glynis Johns has a mermaid tail in "Miranda"". The Australian Women's Weekly. 15, (6). Australia, Australia. 19 July 1947. p. 36. Retrieved 31 August 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  6. ^ Andrew Spicer, "The Apple of Mr. Rank’s Mercatorial Eye’: Managing Director of Gainsborough Pictures
  7. ^ "THE STARRY WAY". The Courier-Mail. Brisbane: National Library of Australia. 8 January 1949. p. 2. Retrieved 11 July 2012.

External links[edit]