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The Mermaids of Tiburon (1962).

April 30, 2010

The Scoop:
“The Mermaids of Tiburon” is just more forgettable drive-in filler from the early 1960s. In fact, if it weren’t for the steady stream stock footage, voice-over narration and unfortunate Mexican stereotypes, there wouldn’t even be a movie at all.

Not that it’s all bad; there are certainly many worse films from this same period. The use of actual Mexican locations is a nice change of pace from the usual cheap settings in the suburbs of Los Angeles, and writer/director John Lamb should get some points thinking up a story that’s a little different than the usual alien invasion fodder.

In the ocean around the island of Tiburon, off the coast of Mexico, studly marine biologist Samuel Jamison (George Rowe), following rumors of an uncatalogued new species, clashes with boozy pearl hunter/thief Milo Sangster (Timothy Carey) and his buffoonish lackey Pepe (Jose Gonzales-Gonzales, poor guy), only to discover a colony of mermaids, featuring the slinky former Playboy centerfold Diane Webber.

The plot is slow and plodding, only to wind up taking you exactly where you suspected it would. But at least watching a bevy of frolicking mermaids is certainly a lot more interesting than just another guy in a bad rubber suit.

Best Line:
“Just then the question came to me, how feminine was this creature… this mermaid, if that’s what she was?”

Side Notes:
1) After this film bombed in its initial release, Lamb edited in some new nudie footage of women cavorting topless underwater and released it under the title “The Aqua Sex.”

2) The real island of Tiburon is located in the Gulf of California, not far from Hermosillo, Sonora. It is the ancestral territory of members of the Seri Indian tribe, but today is an uninhabited wildlife preserve. Public access is not allowed without a permit from the Mexican government. (And no, there are no mermaids living there.)

Companion Viewing:
“War Gods of the Deep” (1965) and “Zaat” (1975).

Never Sea Land.
A tribute to Diane Warren.
Sonora Turismo.

Take a Look:
Some choice clips:

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