The Day of the Dolphin

"Good"

The Day of the Dolphin Review


Like watching a car try to beat a train across the tracks -- and failing -- The Day of the Dolphin is a jaw-dropping disaster that you can't turn away from. Fortunately, this one is caught on film (and now DVD) for posterity.

If you're unfamiliar with the movie, you won't believe it's really about this until you see it. Put simply, it's the story of a man (George C. Scott) who trains dolphins to speak -- English -- and then finds them caught up in a government assassination plot. It's either a grand joke on the scale of Punk'd or a grand disaster on the scale of Ishtar. There's not an ironic line in the film -- and in fact, there's not a terrible lot of lines, as the underwater footage recalls silent Jacques Cousteau-style filmmaking.

But the talking dolphins... they speak in squeaky monosyllabic "sentences" and dutifully obey Scott's instructions. No one cracks a smile. Is it all a gag? Look to the source: Mike Nichols and Buck Henry had reunited for this production after a string of exceptional movies including The Graduate and Catch-22. Neither of these fellows are known for making serious fare -- much less spy thrillers. The audience seems to have taken it on face value, and the film's disastrousness would obviously haunt Nichols for years. He wouldn't make another major film until ten years later (Silkwood). Henry wouldn't write another film until 1980. (Of course it has since become a minor cult film, for obvious reasons.)

There's not a terrible lot you can say about Dolphin from a pure critique standpoint. As a movie, it's rather shoddy, with bad rear projection, workmanlike acting, and a ridiculously bad story. Now presumably, you'll have knocked out at least a six-pack before you sit down to watch it -- so you may feel like you're riding on the boat right alongside a sweaty Paul Sorvino and a weepy Trish Van Devere. And sure, maybe you'll believe that dolphins can talk. And maybe you'll think it's all on the level. And maybe a moment of clarity will hit you, and the joke will wash over your psyche.

On the other hand, you are completely forgiven if it doesn't.



The Day of the Dolphin

Facts and Figures

Run time: 104 mins

In Theaters: Friday 29th March 1974

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 44%
Fresh: 8 Rotten: 10

IMDB: 6.0 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: Robert E. Relyea

Starring: George C. Scott as Dr. Jake Terrell, as Maggie Terrell, as Curtis Mahoney, as Harold DeMilo, as David, as Mike, Leslie Charleson as Maryanne, as Larry, Victoria Racimo as Lana, John Dehner as Wallingford, as Schwinn, as Dunhill

Also starring:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Hampstead Movie Review

Hampstead Movie Review

Deliberately appealing to older audiences, this undemanding comedy-drama comes with a hint of social relevance...

The Book of Henry Movie Review

The Book of Henry Movie Review

Apparently, this offbeat script had been making the rounds in Hollywood for some 20 years...

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

With this fifth Transformers movie, it seems clear that Michael Bay is still trying to...

Churchill Movie Review

Churchill Movie Review

This drama about the iconic British prime minister tells a darkly personal story set over...

Gifted Movie Review

Gifted Movie Review

This is one of those films that dances right up to the edge of soapy...

Whitney: Can I Be Me Movie Review

Whitney: Can I Be Me Movie Review

Notorious British filmmaker Nick Broomfield teams up with Austrian music documentary producer Rudi Dolezal to...

The Mummy Movie Review

The Mummy Movie Review

To launch their new Dark Universe franchise, Universal has taken an approach that mixes murky...

Advertisement
My Cousin Rachel Movie Review

My Cousin Rachel Movie Review

Daphne du Maurier's 1951 mystery-romance novel has been adapted for theatre, radio, TV and film,...

Wilson Movie Review

Wilson Movie Review

It's never helpful when a comedy becomes a bit too smug about its own quirkiness....

Interlude in Prague Movie Review

Interlude in Prague Movie Review

A fictionalised story from the life of Wolfgang Mozart, this lavishly produced period drama is...

The Hippopotamus Movie Review

The Hippopotamus Movie Review

This British satirical comedy may be a bit of a mess, but since it's based...

Detour Movie Review

Detour Movie Review

This may look like a rather typical American indie thriller, but British filmmaker Christopher Smith...

Wonder Woman Movie Review

Wonder Woman Movie Review

Boldly optimistic, this action-packed adventure breathes fresh life into the DC universe with a welcome...

Baywatch Movie Review

Baywatch Movie Review

Clearly, it's a risky proposition adapting a cheesy vintage TV series for the big screen:...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.