16 September 2007 | wes-connors
When Sandy Met Flipper
Chuck Connors (as Porter Ricks) lives on the Florida coast, with his 12-year-old son Luke Halpin (as Sandy), and wife Kathleen Maguire (as Martha). Following a hurricane, son Halpin goes to bail out a dingy; and, he is startled when a dolphin jumps out... it's Flipper!
As it introduces an enduring franchise, the first "Flipper" effortlessly overcomes its flaws; mainly, parts that go on too long, and look more repetitive and ordinary in hindsight. The catchy theme song, for example, will soon be improved upon, and given its logical place over the credits. The film opens with an exciting hurricane, and features beautiful location and underwater photography throughout. If you know Flipper, the film offers many origin story "firsts", topped by the meeting of Sandy and Flipper. Pete the Pelican is around, along with many familiar elements. The Ricks family line-up is different, however; mother Maguire is present, but no Bud.
The "Flipper" character is played by "Mitzie", and others, undoubtedly. The "A Boy and His Dolphin" concept is terrific, and the Flipper character retains its integrity through ensuing years. Halpin is very cute, and seems to improve his performance over the run of the film; his cavorting scenes are charming. Mr. Connors and Ms. Maguire are great parents - they make up much more natural family than expected. Joe Higgins (who also appears in the next "Flipper") and Jane Rose (who also appears in the first "Dark Shadows") are among the supporting players. Note that Connors' friend, who dies during the hurricane, is mentioned as "not of our faith"; this add some depth to the film.
******** Flipper (8/14/63) James B. Clark ~ Chuck Connors, Luke Halpin, Kathleen Maguire