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SOPHIA LOREN AND CLIFTON WEBB SEEKING 'BOY ON A DOLPHIN'

Sophia Loren in BOY ON A DOLPHIN Year: 1957 Rating: ***1/2

Rarely has there been a film with such uneven casting — and BOY ON A DOLPHIN was America's introduction to Italian bombshell Sophia Loren, here a tough and feisty diver/fisherman's girlfriend, only better — alone discovering the titular artifact beneath her Greek hometown's connected shoreline...

After which she attempts convincing the comparably dull, glib, idealistic and aloof, utterly disconnected museum curator Alan Ladd of her discovery — and with bizarre dyed-yellow hair above feminine, peeled-back/plastic-surgery eyes, he seems twenty-years too old playing the delightfully boisterous Sophia Loren's love-interest...

Sophia Loren and Jorge Mistral in BOY ON A DOLPHIN

Although they're hardly interested in anything other than the treasure — that he wants for the Greek people and she... and especially macho boyfriend/partner Jorge Mistral... seeks for a potential life-changing payoff... 

Yet not nearly as much as the always-sophisticated/usually-nefarious Clifton Webb, who, like he did to Gene Tierney in his breakthrough LAURA, ignores the lovely lady until realizing — as a yacht-dwelling/treasure-hunting con artist himself — what she's discovered that no one but Ladd is aware of...

Sophia Loren and Clifton Webb in BOY ON A DOLPHIN

So after twenty entertaining minutes of cat-and-mouse tricks by Clifton to Sophia, DOLPHIN reaches a tediously overlong, one-note ruse, convincing her to feign an active undersea-diving search for the treasure — misleading Ladd while Webb surreptitiously sneaks in through the proverbial back door himself, now aided by Loren's progressively double-crossing fisherman partner... 

At which point the ensemble-driven adventure (including her quirky doctor father-figure and a resilient little brother)... using the Greek Isle locations as a splendid travelogue backdrop... becomes a sluggishly contrived attempt at romantic comedy — and had Cary Grant (then Robert Mitchum) taken the role as originally intended, this BOY would be much better for both Sophia and the audience.

Sophia Loren in BOY ON A DOLPHIN
Clifton Webb in BOY ON A DOLPHIN
Sophia Loren in BOY ON A DOLPHIN
Alan Ladd in BOY ON A DOLPHIN
Clifton Webb and Sophia Loren in BOY ON A DOLPHIN

Sophia Loren and Clifton Webb in BOY ON A DOLPHIN
Sophia Loren in BOY ON A DOLPHIN
Clifton Webb in BOY ON A DOLPHIN
Sophia Loren and Clifton Webb in BOY ON A DOLPHIN
Sophia Loren and Clifton Webb in BOY ON A DOLPHIN
Sophia Loren and Clifton Webb in BOY ON A DOLPHIN
Clifton Webb in BOY ON A DOLPHIN
Jorge Mistral in BOY ON A DOLPHIN
Sophia Loren and Jorge Mistral in BOY ON A DOLPHIN
Sophia Loren and Jorge Mistral in BOY ON A DOLPHIN
Sophia Loren in BOY ON A DOLPHIN
Clifton Webb in BOY ON A DOLPHIN
Sophia Loren and Alan Ladd in BOY ON A DOLPHIN
Sophia Loren and Alan Ladd in BOY ON A DOLPHIN
Sophia Loren and Alan Ladd in BOY ON A DOLPHIN
Sophia Loren in BOY ON A DOLPHIN
Clifton Webb in BOY ON A DOLPHIN
Sophia Loren in BOY ON A DOLPHIN

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