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Film / Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid

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Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid is 1948 film directed by Irving Pichel and stars William Powell and Ann Blyth, with Irene Hervey, Andrea King, Clinton Sundberg, and Art Smith. The story is told through flashback from Dr. Harvey's (Smith) psychiatry about the events during Arthur Peabody's (Powell) midlife crisis.

Arthur and his wife Polly (Hervey) leave their Boston home for a vacation in the Caribbean to celebrate Arthur's birthday. However, Arthur can't seem to remember how old he's going to be and as he tries to work out the dates, he hears singing from an island and plans to investigate. Tension grows between him and his wife after the two of them start to talk to other tourists, including Major Hadley (Hugh French) and Cathy Livingston (King), leading to a confused Arthur accidentally catching a mermaid (Blyth) during fishing the next day. Guilty, he starts to befriend her, eventually falling in love with her.

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Hilarity Ensues.

Not to be confused with the dog Mr. Peabody from Peabody's Improbable History.


Tropes

  • The Alcoholic: Arthur fears of becoming one when the crazy situation leads him to be drunk every night.
  • Awful Wedded Life: There is clearly some tension between the Peabody couple on their vacation; Arthur is ashamed and irritated with his wife's behaviour as she flirts with other tourists, despite MAJ Hadley reminding her that she's married. They drive back to the hotel in a gloomy silence.
  • Cassandra Truth:
    • Arthur tells Mike about Lenore, but he assumes it's a stupid idea to cover up murdering his wife.
    • Arthur tells Polly that he caught a mermaid, but since she only saw the tail, she thinks it's a big fish.
  • Character Name and the Noun Phrase: The title of the film.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Lenore, who attacks Cathy when she dives into the aquarium, possibly thinking that she's potential competition for Arthur. She also fights back tears when she hears that Arthur possibly murdered someone.
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  • Cute Mute: Lenore the mermaid.
  • Ethnic Menial Labor: The bartender and the room serviceman. Justified in that they are working at a West Indian resort.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Mike, a seemingly nice man at the resort, becomes a spy for the police when Polly turns up missing.
  • Framing Device: Arthur telling the story to the psychologist.
  • Gone Swimming, Clothes Stolen: Cathy jumps into the aquarium and then later cannot find her dress where she left it.
  • Happy Dance: Lenore does a happy swim when Arthur confesses that he loves her.
  • Hypocrite: Polly is quick to snap at Arthur if he's "flirting" with Cathy, even though she was openly flirting with the handsome MAJ Hadley.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: Mike, possibly guilty of sharing breakfast with Arthur and telling him everything that police plan to do, asks a waiter at a restaurant to give him five beers and six martinis as he smokes loads of cigarettes.
  • Interspecies Romance: Arthur and Lenore, once Arthur realises.
  • Irony: Polly walks out on Arthur when she spots him with the mermaid. Happy Birthday to You! is heard being sung as she drives away.
  • Mistaken for Cheating: Polly begins to assume that Arthur is cheating on her with Cathy whenever she catches him with the mermaid.
  • Mugged for Disguise: Arthur notices that Lenore is wearing the same dress that Cathy claimed had gone missing from the aquarium.
  • Name and Name: Averted. The mermaid's name is Lenore.
  • Operation: Jealousy: Cathy enjoys riling Polly up.
  • Passing Judgment: Arthur, in a conversation with Lenore, is caught by Mike, who thinks he's fallen in love with the aquarium.
  • Police are Useless: The police arrive at the Peabody resort to arrest Arthur but when he doesn't answer, they leave to return later.
  • World of Snark: Everyone gets a chance to make a snide comment once in a while.

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