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REVIEW OF 'NIGHT TIDE' WITH DENNIS HOPPER & LINDA LAWSON

Curtis Harrington's NIGHT TIDE Year: 1961 Rating: ***1/2

Many early-1960's films had a million dissolves, and didn't always know where they were going. But this low-budget arthouse knows exactly what it is, even if the audience is never quite sure: Taking place in the early, sparse days of Venice Beach, California, a sailor meets an exotic woman who works at a carnival as a mermaid... and a few men she's dated have turned/washed up dead...

A young cherubic-faced Dennis Hopper is fun to watch as the gullible love-sick sailor. He won't listen to all the warning about her track record. Let's face it, the guy is hooked... And it's nice seeing Hopper as a normal person, not a burn-out, weirdo or psychopath, in a movie with gorgeous B&W cinematography and a jazz score, and club...

Linda Lawton and Dennis Hopper in NIGHT TIDE

The other performances are also good, including and especially the lovely Linda Lawson as our seductive vixen who might be a water nymph, or murderess, or both, captured in director Curtis Harrington's bizarre labor of love curio, which is sometimes too talky, especially conversations with Mora's founder, an old sailor, made up for by far more intriguing dialogue with young carousel-worker Luana Anders, who'd work again with Hopper as Peter Fonda's hippie commune girl in EASY RIDER... 

And there's a foreboding old lady seer... all reminiscent of the spooky and offbeat Val Lewton/Jacques Tourneur RKO noir-horrors, NIGHT TIDE is to mermaids what CAT PEOPLE is to felines. Yet the strangest aspect has Dennis Hopper as the most normal, sane and grounded character throughout. Now that's something completely different.

Dennis Hopper in Curtis Harrington's NIGHT TIDE w/ Linda Lawson
Linda Lawson as Mora in NIGHT TIDE
Dennis Hopper as Johnny Drake in NIGHT TIDE
Dennis Hopper as Johnny Drake in NIGHT TIDE
Linda Lawson as Mora and a seagull in NIGHT TIDE
Linda Lawson as Mora in NIGHT TIDE with Dennis Hopper
Dennis Hopper as Johnny Drake in NIGHT TIDE
Linda Lawson as Mora in NIGHT TIDE with Dennis Hopper
Linda Lawson as Mora in NIGHT TIDE with Dennis Hopper
Curtis Harrington's NIGHT TIDE with Dennis Hopper
Night Tide opening credit title sequence
Dennis Hopper and Linda Lawson in NIGHT TIDE
Dennis Hopper and Luana Anders in NIGHT TIDE
Luana Anders as Ellen Sands in NIGHT TIDE
Dennis Hopper as Johnny Drake in NIGHT TIDE
Dennis Hopper talking with his hands in Night Tide
Dennis Hopper and Linda Lawson in NIGHT TIDE
Cool gothic artwork for Mora's Venice carnival stand in NIGHT TIDE
Dennis Hopper in Curtis Harrington's NIGHT TIDE
Dennis Hopper in Curtis Harrington's NIGHT TIDE w/ Linda Lawson
Dennis Hopper in Curtis Harrington's NIGHT TIDE
Epilogue Scroll of "the divine Edgar Allan Poe" for NIGHT TIDE by Curtis Harrington
Dennis Hopper along the Venice Beach Pier in Night Tide
Linda Lawson and Dennis Hopper share a toast in NIGHT TIDE
Dennis Hopper in Curtis Harrington's NIGHT TIDE
Linda Lawson in Curtis Harrington's NIGHT TIDE
Linda Lawson in mermaid costume in NIGHT TIDE
Linda Lawson in mermaid costume in NIGHT TIDE
Linda Lawson in mermaid costume in NIGHT TIDE
Linda Lawson in mermaid costume in NIGHT TIDE
Linda Lawson in mermaid costume in NIGHT TIDE
Dennis Hopper in NIGHT TIDE
Dennis Hopper in NIGHT TIDE
Dennis Hopper in NIGHT TIDE with Linda Lawton
Dennis Hopper in NIGHT TIDE with Linda Lawton
Night Tide scene inspired by the mysterious lady CAT PEOPLE scene
Dennis Hopper in NIGHT TIDE

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