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Henry and Nichols, who collaborated so well on THE GRADUATE, then not quite so well on CATCH-22, totally missed the boat with their pseudo-sci-fi-adventure-comedy about trained dolphins who are nabbed by a right-wing terrorist group intending to use them to blow up the presidential yacht.
Scott and Van Devere are researchers dealing with the intelligence of dolphins. Their sponsor is Weaver, who heads a large foundation. Sorvino is a writer who is really a government agent doing some undercover investigation of Weaver's group. The truth is that Weaver and his villainous cohorts
Darden, Dehner, and Roerick are planning to use the dolphins to further their own political ambitions. The plot soon disintegrates into dumbness, despite Scott's believable portrayal of an aquatic Dr. Dolittle. The screenplay chooses some poor times to relieve tension, and the jokes fall flat.
Hitchcock often used a touch of humor in his most suspenseful scenes, but he laid it on with a tweezer, not a trowel. Henry did the unconvincing voice of the dolphins, which seems like Saturday morning cartoon sounds (the film was nominated for Best Sound). The photography is the highlight of the
movie. Delerue, who did the music for many superior French films, garnered an Oscar nomination for his music but lost that year to Marvin Hamlisch for "The Way We Were." The movie cost over $8 million and never got close to recovering it theatrically, which should give lie to the theory of
"bankable" stars, writers, and directors. The play is, and always will be, the thing. In this case, it wasn't, and so the picture sank.