Sunday, May 13, 2007


PLOT SUMMARY: A jazz-pianist recruit, Tom Stewart, is living on an island and about to get married to the girl he think he really loves. His recruiting operative old girlfriend, Vi, shows up, explaining that he is not going to get away from her that easily. Their negotiations take them up the stairs of the lighthouse near where he lives, and the railing collapses under her. He lets her fall into the sea, imagining still that she is just a lounge singer and he is well rid of her.

Fool! Everything Vi told him is true; he is not going to get rid of her that easily. First, pieces of her jewelry start to wash up on the beach where people can find them. Then her hand appears, wearing the ring he bought for his fiancee. Her head shows up on the endtable and reads him the riot act. He tries to shake off the apparitions, telling himself he’s just got cold feet before the wedding, but then the man who brought Vi to the island on his boat shows up, demanding the $5 she owes him. The demand quickly turns into a blackmail threat. Blast! Now is what Tom going to do???


>> I wasn’t sure why this film was recommended to me as a piscatorial romance, until I actually saw it. My Cod, what a beautiful picture. Sometimes a recruit DOES get recalcitrant, and there is nothing to do but TURN UP THE HEAT until he comes around. This is a rather fanciful picture of how that works, but it is after all Bert I. Gordon we’re talking about.

>> This story would have come out very differently if Tom had gone on to recruit his fiancee and her smitten little sister, bringing them along for the ride, but the idiot actually thinks that after kissing Dagon on the mouth he can go back to his landscum life.

>> I can’t be the only one who noticed how much the sweet human fiancee resembles her persistent aquatic counterpart. It becomes clear quickly that Tom has never let go of Vi, no matter who he’s engaged to. Humans are quite prone to this sort of self-deception, and it pays to bear that in mind AT ALL TIMES.

>> In a way, I wonder if the fiancee knows more than Tom does about what’s really going on. She suspects quickly that Tom is carrying on secretly with someone else, even though he would not admit it even to himself. And that piercing scream when she finds her wedding dress slathered with seaweed tells me A GREAT DEAL. And Tom, the blithering idiot, actually thinks that just because Vi dropped 25 feet into the surf, that she’s somehow disappeared from human ken.

>> Although the landscum viewer might dismiss Vi’s pristine condition, after rolling "dead" in the waves for a week, as bad special effects, I think the obvious answer is that she’s NOT DEAD.

>> It absolutely slayed me, the way the blackmailer kept asking for the "fin" Vi owes him.

I found this film on a compilation disc called Nightmare Theater, marketed at Halloween time. The other movie on the disc was, interestingly, also a moving piscatorial romance, Dementia 13. (Be warned: That one's not a comedy.) You should look for it next time Halloween rolls around.


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