Day of the Dolphin, The (1973) C+
Director Mike Nichols and screenwriter Buck Henry team for the third time, after collaborating on the vastly successful “The Graduate” and the moderately enjoyable “Catch-22,” for this adaptation of Robert Merle’s best-selling novel about dolphins who become pawns in a plot to kill the president.
Unfortunately their sensibilities don’t match, and they misunderstand the source material. End result is a film that is neither satisfying as a message feature, nor exciting as sci-fi adventure; just a silly and improbable PG animal flick.
The film is cast with good, intelligent actors. George C. Scott plays Dr. Jake Terrell, a researcher who, along with his wife Maggie (Trish Van Devere, Scott’s wife in real life), is investigating dolphin intelligence, believing they have the capability of speech.
Harold DeMilo (Fritz Weaver), in charge of a major corporation, sponsors their work. But undercover work by government agent Curtis Mahoney (Paul Sorvino) reveals that DeMilo is working with a right-wing group planning to kidnap the dolphins and use them to blow up the presidential yacht.
With time running out, Jake and Maggie have to rush to save their dolphins and the president.
Oscar Nominations: 2
Sound: Richard Portman and Lawrence O. Jost
Score (Original): Georges Delerue
Oscar Awards: None
The Sound Oscar went to “The Exorcist.” Marvin Hamlisch received the Original Score for “The Way We Were.”
Running time: 104 Minutes.
Directed by Mike Nichols.
July 29, 2003
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