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Cinematic: Aqua Man


Published Jul 1, 2008 8:00 AM

Copyright © Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Take a break from the summer heat and get a life under the sea. Or more specifically, watch Don Knotts get a life. The Fowler Museum's 2008 High Noon Film Series, created in collaboration with the UCLA Film and Television Archive, continues on Wednesday, July 9, with the fantastic and thoroughly fun 1964 film, The Incredible Mr. Limpet. This delightful fantasy was praised by as "enjoyable" and "absurd but ... done well," not to mention a "nice combination" of live action and animation.

Knotts plays a Brooklyn bookkeeper who is obsessed with fish — so much so that he actually wishes he could be one. After he is rejected by the Navy on the eve of World War II, Mr. Limpet's life takes an incredible turn. He slips off a pier at Coney Island and — as the fantasy shifts to animation — he turns into a fish. And this aquatic creature does more than swim. The seafaring version of Mr. Limpet is tutored by a snail, falls in love with a dolphin named Ladyfish, and eventually helps the Navy track down German U-boats and win the Battle of the Atlantic.

All of this year's High Noon films are free and presented in conjunction with the Fowler's exhibition, Mami Wata: Arts for Water Spirits in Africa and its Diasporas. Fowler's manager of public programs, Bonnie Poon '95, explains that "Mami Wata explores water spirits, so we thought it would be fun to show films that show mermaids and creatures from the sea. I remember seeing commercials for The Incredible Mr. Limpet on TV, and actually caught the film on cable right before we were preparing for the season."

Remaining movies to be screened in the series include 1994's The Secret of Roan Inish on July 16 and, on July 23, the Tom Hanks hit Splash from 1984. All of the films are free and start at noon, so everyone from office workers on a break to families can join in the liquid fun.

— Jack Feuer

The Incredible Mr. Limpet. Wednesday, July 9, noon. UCLA Fowler Museum's Lenart Auditorium. Free. Museum hours: Wednesdays-Sundays, noon to 5 p.m., Thursdays until 8 p.m. For more information, call (310) 825-4361 or log on to