CineMermaids by Ocean
Movie Mermaids,Mermaid Sorceresses, and
Mermaids and/or sea sorceresses abound in the cinema.
Sometimes, they have actual tails.
Mostly, they have come out of the sea of collective subconscious to drown
a man on dry land.
In fact, so often is a dangerous lady in our fictional heritage depicted as a water spirit that it seems the primitivity and feral nature of such an instinctive being, along with a possibly fierce carnality and no morality is as old as the first beings with their slavery to the moon, breeding compulsions and obsessiveness that it has to be among our oldest genetic memories.
Mermerizing and alluring, the most powerful mermaid was Rita Haworth in the brilliant Lady from Shanghai, whose most potent love scene with
her then-husband, the wunderkind genius, Orson Welles, took place inside an underground prism of an enormus underground, cavelike real sea aquarium, with the inhabitants of the deep looking in on the couple curiously and insistently interested the whole time - as if to ask "what is one of our own doing with that Earth man?"
Where she, like a mermaid queen in a cave, was surrounded by the ocean and many other denizens of the deepest seas, as she entranced her victim, the handsome, young protagonist, into a fatal plot involving lust, money, and murder.
Other powerful priestesses of the deep include the greatest of the screen's parade of Cleopatras, Elizabeth Taylor, whose violet eyes invoke the nether
realms of the watery world, and whose magical arrival on the famous barge in the great film, Cleopatra, replete with mermaidens scattering
rose petals, awash on seas of perfume and waving banners of finest gause,
music to lull the senses, and jewels like sunshine dancing on the sea, Elizabeth was a mermaid at her very finest, come to capture the heart of her newest protector, Anthony, now that her former one, Caesar, had been assassinated. The real Cleo would certainly have been savvy enough to have created wild illusions in order to achieve her aims. A brilliant scholar she used every mythological charm in her arsenal, while poor Antony was merely a soldier.
Alas, her inability to love anything but her own kingdom and her duty to it caused the hapless Antony to become defective, unloved, and to sabotage all her efforts to keep her country safe. Too late, she - at least in the cinema version - she realized that, once her son and all dreams of empire were gone, she loved Antony too. This was the seductress's downfall.
These powerful beauties never have to actually chase or capture a man -
merely the sight of one is bait enough to lure him to his grave or to her bidding.
The goddesss-like attraction is the heady elixir that these men crave, and she stands in for a mighty quest and answers the question of what will his
life consist of.
Sometimes she needs help, or assistance, or a dupe.
Oftentimes, she seeks a suicidal playmate, and other times, she merely likes to wreak havoc on her victims' otherwise normal life. Sometimes, she, being wild, despite a Dresden-doll exterior, communicates this instinctive chaotic streak through her dark eyes in a mating call older than time itself.
Sometimes these sirens sing, as did Rita Hawoth, again, in the murderously
seductive role as Gilda, and added to their visual appeal, the
men in the films are torn by lust and their duty to stand up for manly strength and to attempt to wrest free of this overwhelming urge to merge with this strong symbol of feminine confinement and death. Again, Rita is the ideal cinemermaid since even her incredibly great dancing was fluid in its' gracefulness, and her appeal to men in its' innocence and its' non-deliberate natural charm exemplifies one aspect the allure of the mermaid - the wild animal idea in which her dangerousness is just a part of her existence, as with a shark or any other being one can never tame.
In an adolescent play that mirrors the way male children must identify with
father-figures and learn to eschew girly things, unlike girl children, who can contently continue to follow mother's lead, this theme is shown
again and again in literature and the arts - the separation and alienation
males must make from their mother's seductive arms.
That soft place to fall, as Dr. Phil would say, is provided again by the right woman, traditionally, who offers a conventional place in which to rejoin the
softer, more sensitive sides of life, and yet these sorceresses, these projections of the other side, the deeper side of passion, often offer another way to go - a widler path, an enthralling and adverturous way - to boys and men, and their families always hate to see this kind of female in his life.
Traditionally, in older cultures where families still choose marriage-mates, a love found in the more shallow waters - one not so entangling or engaging
is safer for the male.
And yet, the allure of these sirens - their call - is most always answered by any guy lucky enough to have been chosen as a play-partner by a sensational woman, and it is these experiences that will define his romantic life -not the day-to-day drudgery of ordinary coupling.
Of course, the same applies to mermen and male sorcerers of lust.We'll have a list of these sexy sea boys next.
The mermaids we're mentioning now are of the entrancing variety -including the love addicts, the suicidal ones, the victims and the victimizing
ones - the hedonists, the bad girls, the gangsta girls and the sex goddesses.
As any actress will tell you, they'd rather play a bad girl any day than a good one, because the public always responds more mightily to a girl-gone-bad than to the ones who do as they're told, or as expected to do.
Those roles have teeth.
And not for smiling!
The feral mermaids and sea sorceresses include Hedy Lamaar, whose first role was in a swimming nude scene that got her name around Hollywood very quickly. In those days, it was extremely risque.
No list of Cinema Mermaids would be complete without the awe-inspiringly beautiful Sophia Loren, and in her role in Boy On a Dolphin, as an Earthy and yet Sea-bound Mediterranean goddess-like woman, her water-soaked blouse captured the entire generation of men, I'm sure, who first saw that film. Her posters of those scenes have always and still continue to be best-sellers.
The entrancingly beautiful Glynnis Johns, who starred in a pair of great mermaid film tales as the ever-alluring Miranda - a playfully seductive and man-crazy Cornish mermaid - brought the open quality of an entirely innocent sensual playmate to her character.
Her immense and gorgeous eyes could alone whittle a man down to her level - since she always had to lean or sit, her tail concealed while o�n land, all the men were anxious to stoop down, to scoop her up in their arms, to allow her compliments to enthrall them, and to offer her marriage vows en masse, while the hapless former girlfriends could o�nly steep in envy.
A complicated mix of tailed temptress and sex kitten, Johns' mermaid embodies all of the myriad moods of the Mers, since even she, sweet and wild, was not beyond kidnapping and keeping men in her underwater cave for as long as they pleased her, after she'd pulled them physically out of their boats, and her unabashed adoration of the male physique and of love-making set her apart from the rest of the mermaids parading throughout screen history.
John's Miranda brought about the first lovely mermaid in living color, and her long locks, her silvery tail, the waistband of pearls, and her undersea treasure chest, plus her mellodious coloratura and hyper-femininity, added to her mind powers and her worldly-wise way of dealing with female rivals are so entertaining, that she heads our list for best Mermaid in the Movies of all!
Rent Miranda and Mad About Men today!
The great trio of English Mermaid Movies in the
Fifties where Glynis Johns plays the most unforgettable mermaid so far in all of cinema history are great in every way!
Rent them all and have yourself a Mermaid Party!
The adorable film, Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid, was half and half - the mermaid was real, she was half sex kitten and half girl-next-door, and so the theme was not outrageous enough to ban it from the theaters of
the time. Rent it and enjoy!
So, these alluringly pouting princesses of the sea have stolen hearts for a long-long time, and the idea of the temptreses with tails just won't go away!
There are so many notable mermaidish actresses in the cinema, that I'll keep adding to this merlist.
Entrancingly Soulful Mermaids
Since Dennis Hopper has died, it's nice that TCM has begun showing more of his early work.
It's cool how his acting style then had been so much more effusive and emotioanl than he became later.
A great mermaid and sailor film, Night Tides, is about a woman who believes she truly is a meraid.
This passage is from the haunting scene in which she shares her inner being with Hopper's sympathetic and smitten sailor:
Linda Lawson, in answer to Hopper's question of how she knows she is a mermaid speaks soulfully with eerie clarinet music behind:
"Because I feel the sea water in my veins.
Beause I listen to the roar of the Sea and it speaks to me like a Mother's voice,
The tide pulls at my heart.
The face of the moon fills my soul with a strange longing..."
She then offers him a large shell to listen to. She'd moved to the states from Greece,
The film also has a great sea witch, who asserts that she'd summoned Hopper's character to come to her in order to impart important knowledge to him. The exotic chiromancer or clairoyant, as she tells him to call her, reads his cards.
The mermaid from the side show on the Santa Monica Pier in California has had several precious lovers, all of whom have mysteriously died.
The seer tells him he is deeply entranced and that a great awakening is possible, that after the sacred journey of death there is the glorious face of resurrection. The witch tells him that the mermaid is caught in a vortex of evil and that the sailor is in danger, which, in his heart he already understands.
The plot can be followed elsewhere, but within this film's idea is captured the essence of the appeal of the mermaid myths.
They serve to bring us back to an extremely ancient world in which we are all tied by our heritage through countless chains of DNA, back to watery ancestors who also, like we, gazed at the moon, spellbound, and imagined...
Also, we long to drift into alternate universes, to escape what is sometimes a very land-locked and sad existence and the idea of The Mers serves as a magical elixir and a escape hatch from the knowledge that we, too, will someday die.
Magical thinking, the psychologists tell us, can be both beneficial and harmful.
In the movie, the girl, a hapless and very-controlled victim of the sideshow's tyrant, had perhaps been told she was a real mermaid her entire life, and her limited exposure to the world had further alienated her from the truth. She believed she was, like the old myths, dangerous and murderous and that anyone she loved would die.
We all wish to have extra powers, to see what it's like to be another type of being and to merge with somehting or someone eternally and therefore to live forever.
Extremes can drive some to the very edges of sanity and into world's of myths.
She decdiedi in the end, in order to save her beloved, to "embrace the rapture of the depths", whether it gave her eternal life with the sea people she'd been told about all her life or whether it merely brought her an early death -this makes her among, alas, the boring class of self-artyring mermaids, but the obvious lesson is - probably from long ago parents who knew that love affairs would ruin girls' lives, was that obsessive love was dangerous and instead, family-arranged marriages should provide good lives.
The sailor, left behind, in auigsh at first over the loss of his mermaid love, seems in the final scene to take the life he's been given as a gift - her sacrifice of her own in order that he would live - and to cherish it, as parents would wish for him. Femmes Fatales are to be avoided, folk tales warn, and in this film, too, a wholesome girl-next-door and very human girl who loves him is offered up as, well, not exactly an antidote, since merely human girls cannot possibly compete with mythically hot chicks, but at least a sane alterantive. A way to love without all-encompassing passion and to therefore, live a normal, healthy life.
Or...as the final credits begin with this quote from Edgar Allen Poe, whose own soulmate, his cousin-wife, died young in his keeping as he frantically tried to provide enough food and heat for her tubercular states,
"And so, all the night tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling --- my darling --- my life and my bride
In her sepulchre there by the sea,
In her tomb by the sounding sea."
We might be led to conclude that his existence, like Poe's, had become instead a gloomy waiting for his eventual reuniting in death with his beloved.
Mermaids Next Door
Let me first point out that there are goody-goody mermaids, who are also
amazing - the Amazon group, including the queen of them all, Esther Williams, the smiling, inviting variety of actual swimming actresses, who
might or might not wear tails on occasion, and also, the very tall and athletic Darryl Hannah, who is, by the way, a vegan, and refused to eat the flesh of fellow sea-brings, so they loaded mashed potatoes into shells to entice her to shoot the scenes
- of course, we, and she, knew the truth - the Mers are Vegans
too! A mermaid would NEVER harm another animal, and they eat o�nly compassionate, plant foods.
There are dancing mermaids of this type, smiling and posting and parading
in a winning way, like Doris Day - an animal rights hero, whose love for animals has led her from being Hollywood's biggest star and America's
sweetheart to standing up for the helpless fellow animals in a huge way. Also, Doris'name means of the sea! Any mermaid would love to look as beautiful as Doris does, and they have the sweet hearts to go along with her sunshiny smile!
Yes, Doris is of the tomboy, athletic, girl-next-door variety of mermaids we're mentioning now.
Keep Swimming into CineMermaids for more on Mermaid Cinematic Lore!
Mermaids at their Sinister Best
Not all Mermaids have tails, of course, or at least, visible ones - perhaps they cast spells over the men they choose to entice.
As Robert Graves, who understood Mers better than anyone, explains - both the Mermaids, as in Andromeda, who played a helpless and frail victim, and the Sea Monster, were the same - or rather, as Jung would explain, aspects of the same all-powerful Goddess being we all perceive and who joins artists as they create in the forms of Muses or of characters.
The element of Water is generally known as a female realm, and among the best screen vamps of all time reigns Theresa Russell, who, in the great film, Black Widow, lures yet another of the males she has chosen to kill for their money into a beautiful pool of a spiritual blue color at night for a randy wet romp with him, playing with her intended victim as her sex toy for the moment before she finishes him off, as with other feline groups of animals - and yet cats o�nly do this for a practical reason - in order to test the viability of the prey as a safe food source - if the mouse is lively, then the meal is deemed ok, whereas with a Mermaid in this aspect at least, it is a primordial dance of power for no other reason but for the sheer thrill and joy of seduction and sexual pleasure added to the lust for killing.
What Mermaid Gallery would be complete without a mention of the very fluid and entrancing Great Garbo, and this, in the day when the virgin-whore dichotomy was in full swing, and flappers had swum (with flippers?) out of their straight-jacketed lives in post-Victorian Western nations.
Garbo, in the great film, "Susan Lenox, Her Rise and Fall", from 1931, co-starring a younger, hunky-as-hell Gable, sans moustache!
At the very point when she transforms from farm girl to femme fatale � she Mermaidizes = in a porthole-shaped train window, mesmerized by the wave sounds of the tracks and the engine, her heart, broken, instead of mending, hardens into shattered parts = the hallmark of the femmes fatales = it is a watery realm = in which, viewed above, to the strains of a mesmerizing jazz tune, a slew of streaming gauzy-clad mermaids dance in a ring like a conjuring ceremony in an ancient feminine mystery ritual.
She�d been a self-centered person, had run away, had been weak, had given in to a seducer she didn�t love merely to get away from home, and had been a poor choice of a mate for the hero until she has been remade through suffering and sacrifice.
Both she and her lover dissipate, separately, sink into the watery realm, which is always seen as tantamount to death. Death to ordinary life.
Why do baptismal ceremonies enact in water? Why are devotees taken underwater to be reborn?
The water is the primal female symbol, older than the caves or Earth Mothers, andbelongs to the first phase of the lunar symobology, for beginnings, the virgin, the girl of the trilogy.
Our original home, we are continually drawn back into the drink, as in this film, by life, by its' currents we cannot navigate. We fall, ever again, until the last time, into little deaths, where we remember the truths that religiosity cannot always color.
In this, Garbo has doomed herself, early on, by not saving the dog she'd led into trouble, and only thinking of herself first.
She was, thus, unworthy of decent life, and her decline, dramatically shown as the link between the "fallen woman" and the sea, as the coven of mermaids danced in her soular center, just before she threw herself away.
The man frees himself, after having become a drunk, from her hold on him, and, as he deserves, leaves her to find a better mate.
She was rotten at the core, and so, the cleansing waters of a baptismal were not enough to cleanse her, until she truly repents, sins no more, and redeems herself.
The dark waters of loss she'd swum through led her, mercifully, to the bright waters of rebirth, and she won the man's heart at last.
If you haven't yet indulged in the cool, colorful Miami film of the wild days gone by of the late fifties and early sixties, by all means see the excellent A Hole In the Head, which is basiically a snapshot of Frank Sinatra's actual life at the Fontainbleu Hotel in Florida during its' heyday, when jaunting around to Havana's shows and casinos, swimming and poolside night life were the rage !
Within its' era were the beatniks, whose ranks were glamorously represented by the wild, wayward mermaid-gone-wild playgirl, Carolyn Jones - the ultimate hot-bodied seductress who starred as the Gothic vixen, Mortitia on TV's great The Addams Family series, along with her many great film roles, including one with similarly-raven locked, (allbeit, both by the dye bottle), counterpart, Elvis.
Carolyn, the ultimate sex kitten mermaid, exults in living the wild life of Miami, always wearing a sensual swimsuit under her nightclub couture which she throws off at will as she grabs her surfboard for some gorgeous midnight surfing under a luminous moon.
Seductress and sexy wild girl at the same time, Caroly Jones was unique, and with her Betty Page bangs and perfect figure is as fresh-looking today with our vampire-loving culture as she was during the martini years, during which Sinatra (who had to talk about his live-in girlfriend, Marilyn Monroe many times in the film, lest she explode with jealousy over Jones) was living with Monroe in Jilly's townhouse on 52nd Street above the jazz club half the time and the other in Florida, gambling a lot and when Las Vegas was just about to claim his attendance almost exclusively. It's a fabulous era and this is a very hip film. See it!
Fun and Comedic Mermaids
Beach Blanket Bingo
Annette asks in the adorable 1965 film, Beach Blanket Bingo, of the "Mermaid played beautifully by Donna Loren,"Was there really a Mermaid?
And Frankie answers, "Is there a moon? A sky? Are there dreams?"
Mr. Peabody and The Mermaid