Night Tide - 1961

Originally released August 1961 at the Venice Film Festival, then June 6, 1963 in New York City.

Dennis Hopper is a sailor on leave who is fascinated with a woman he meets who performs as a mermaid at a seaside carnival. As he gets to know her, he learns that she is unusually proficient at catching fish (her main diet) and seagulls come to her and act like pets in her hands. She seems to be haunted by a shadowy past involving her childhood on a Greek Aegean island from where she was rescued from starvation by a English ship captain who brought her to California.

Hopper's character (Johnny Drake) becomes plagued with nightmares about sea creatures as their romance deepens. Also, he has just learned that her two previous boyfriends mysteriously died while at sea, and he has just been invited by his new girlfriend to scuba dive a distant reef.

Low-budget effort from director Curtis Harrington which is hampered by (what appears to be) under-rehearsed scenes and dialogue at times which tends to restate the obvious. Otherwise a moody motion picture that is half-Twilight Zone and the other half a low-key horror film effort (the tale is adapted by Harrington from one of his own short stories). Shot onsite around Malibu, Santa Monica and Venice, the film is also a time capsule of those places, circa-1961.

Original Page Dec 29, 2015 | Updated Dec 2017

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