Miranda and Mad About Men are mermaid tales. Like Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid and The Incredible Mr. Limpet, they are based on the assumption that aquatic creatures are sexually voracious. I still don't get it.
Miranda starts with wealthy doctor Griffith Jones leaving his pretty wife Googie Winters to go fishing in Cornwall. His big catch is mermaid Miranda, played by lovely Glynis Johns. She charms and extorts him into taking her to London to see the sights - disguised as an invalid, without the use of her legs
In the Big Smoke, Miranda divides her time between vamping the doctor, his jug-eared chauffeur, and an artist friend. Now, the doctor's wife, the maid who has been going out with the chauffeur and the artist's modiste girlfriend are charmed by this sweet invalid, but don't like the way their men are acting.
That is about the size of it, except for nurse who is hired to take care of Miranda. She is played by Margaret Rutherford, and she is an absolute joy. I won't spoil the scene where she first meets Miranda for you - it is worth the whole movie.
If I were in a spoiling mood, I'd tell you how it ends, but all I'll tell you is, prepare for a shock!
The sequel features Glynis Johns in two roles. She plays a "games mistress" (gym teacher) with a stuffy engineer fiance. At her the ancestral home in Cornwall, she meets her distant relative and doppelganger, the mermaid Miranda. They pull the old switcheroo, with Miranda hanging out in Cornwall (with a mysterious leg injury) while her human counterpart takes a biking holiday with a dyke friend (don't ask).
Miranda is up to her old tricks, of course, sampling the local man-talent. She tries out the local laird (to his skinny sweetheart's consternation) and a rough-hewn fishing millionaire. Her supposed fiance tries to bring her to her senses, but that doesn't work out well. There is also a silly mermaid cousin for pure comic relief.
And, yes, nurse Margaret Rutherford is back!
The charm of this series is almost entirely due to Ms. Johns' winsome personality. Yes, I said winsome. She has a beautiful voice, breathy and intimate, and Miranda's personality is innocent, guileless, and carnal. She has a pixie-like girlishness, belied by her grownup body. Of course, as a mermaid, she is every man's ideal.
But wait, why are mermaids and fishes supposed to be ideal lovers? I just don't get the point. They are notoriously cold, and from the waist down - nothing! Oh well, I guess I'll have to watch Splash to figure it all out.