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Dennis Hopper, whose youthful looks and Method style were still intact at this point, plays an innocent sailor at liberty in a coastal town; he falls for a girl who plays a mermaid at the sideshow. Or is she really a mermaid? Inspired by Val Lewton's horror classic Cat People, Harrington cooks up a supernatural stew with the suggestion that the willowy lass is one of the "Sea People," called back to her ocean home by a weird sea witch (played by a real-life occult celebrity called Cameron). Yet Night Tide only occasionally feels like a horror movie; with its naturalistic exteriors, bongos, and coffeehouse atmosphere, it's more a slice of poetic bohemia. Luana Anders, who should have had a major movie career but later became a B-movie leading lady, is wonderfully fresh as the good girl, and the music score by Hollywood pro David Raksin (Laura) is inventive and offbeat. Shown at the Venice Film Festival in 1961, the film did not secure a U.S. release until 1963, when its New-Wave-ish style probably looked less innovative. Seen today, Night Tide is both a lovely mood piece and a look back at a peculiar moment in American moviemaking, and either way a bit of low-cost enchantment. --Robert Horton --This text refers to the DVD edition.
This is one of those little-known films I watched during late night television in the 1980's. I was so intrigued, I never forgot it. Now I finally own the DVD copy of it. Read morePublished on Sept. 30 2003 by James McDonald
This otherwise typical low-budgeter probably has its fans for two reasons. One, obviously, is the intriguing presence of young Dennis Hopper. Read morePublished on Aug. 4 2003 by Carolyn Paetow