Night Tide (1961)

Article #105 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing date: 6-29-2001
Posting date: 11-12-2001

A sailor finds himself falling in love with a woman who portrays a mermaid in a local sideshow. He discovers that she believes herself to be a real mermaid who leads men to their deaths.

Whenever I hear this movie mentioned, I hear it compared to Val Lewton’s work. The comparison is quite apt; there is a lot of the ambiguity and mystery of a Lewton movie at work in this one, and the story, which bears several aspects in common with THE CAT PEOPLE, is very much in the spirit of the Lewton movies. However, I have to admit that I don’t enjoy it; I never really get involved with the story or the characters the way I will in a Lewton movie. Part of the problem may be Dennis Hopper’s performance; though I can admire some of what he’s doing, some of it is just distracting, and I end up not really caring about the character he plays. The music is another part of the problem; in certain scenes where it should be generating tension and suspense, it just sits there. I particular notice this when the sailor is following a strange woman. As it is, the movie is just one of those I wish I liked more than I do.


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