HTF REVIEW: "The Incredible Mr. Limpet" (with screenshots)

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ronald Epstein, Sep 25, 2002.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator

    Jul 3, 1997
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    Real Name:
    Ronald Epstein

    The Incredible Mr. Limpet

    Studio: Warner Brothers
    Year: 1963
    Rated: G
    Film Length: 99 minutes
    Aspect Ratio: 16X9 Enhanced Widescreen (1.85:1)
    and Standard (1.33:1) Transfers
    Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

    Many of us have been waiting a long time for
    some Don Knotts comedies to be released to DVD.
    Finally, one of his most remembered adventures,
    The Incredible Mr. Limpet makes its way to
    the format.
    Mixing live action with animation, the film tells
    the story of Henry Limpet (Don Knotts), a real
    likeable whimp of a guy who has had his shares of
    hard knocks in life. He'd like to join the Navy
    and help the allies beat the Nazi's in WWII. He
    chose the Navy above all other services because of
    his love for fish. However, since he was unable to
    pass the physical, he was labeled as a classified 4-F.
    Despondent over failing his physical, he goes to
    the docks to look at the ocean and think about
    his life. Looking into the deep blue water, he
    makes a wish that he could live the carefree life
    of a fish and magically, he becomes one.
    Suddenly the film turns into an animated undersea
    world where Henry finds that wearing fins is pretty
    darn cool, though he still needs his glasses to
    properly see in the sea. He makes some new friends
    including crusty the crab (voiced by Paul Frees) and
    Ladyfish (voiced by Elizabeth MacRae). Henry also
    finds that has a talent for making incredible sonic
    noises and quickly contacts his old Navy friend,
    George (Jack Weston) to offer his help in hunting
    down German submarines. Soon enough, Limpet
    becomes a TOP SECRET weapon as he safely escorts
    Allied ships anywhere they want to go.
    This movie will take you back to simpler times
    when animation and live action weren't as seamless
    as they are today. Still, there's a certain bit of
    allurement for a film as sweet and innocent as this
    How is the transfer?
    Filmed in beautiful Technicolor, the transfer looks
    vivid, bright and colorful. It's exactly what you
    would expect from a Technicolor film -- a crisp,
    detailed picture. Fortunately, for the live action
    sequences, the picture remains free of any blemishes.
    The problems with this DVD are with the animated
    sequences. The animation looks rather faded, with
    none of the beautiful technicolor images you would
    expect. There's also a noticeable amount of film
    dirt scattered throughout these sequences. Overall,
    I would sum up the animation as looking rather dull
    on this DVD.
    The mono soundtrack is nothing spectacular, but
    it serves its purpose. Just don't look for any
    sort of dynamic range here, though thankfully there
    is no presence of underlying hiss.
    Special Features
    Warner Brothers has done a nice job of putting
    together some extras for this DVD set. I suppose
    right off the bat I should congratulate the studio
    for releasing a family title in a 2-sided WIDESCREEN
    and FULL FRAME edition.
    Introduction by Don Knotts has the aged
    actor talking a little bit about his experiences
    of making the film, and telling a story about how
    badly it was first received. The film actually did
    better in re-releases.
    (length: approx. 2.44 minutes)
    Weekend at Weeki Wachee is one of those
    wonderful studio press junket films that show
    how a film is promoted. The press was invited
    out for a fishing spree and the opportunity to
    hob-knob with actor Don Knotts before attending
    the premiere of The Incredible Mr. Limpet.
    Great to see this kind of stuff included on DVD.
    (length: approx. 10 minutes)
    While a cast and crew page is included
    here, you cannot access any individual actor or
    filmmaker information.
    Rounding out the extras is Henry Limpet's
    Fishtank where you click on various points
    in the menu (such as crusty's shell or George's
    hat) to access Don Knotts talking about his
    co-stars. There is also a rather lame game
    called Get In The Swim with Henry Game
    that essentially shows you a fishy dance move
    that you have to duplicate.
    The film's original theatrical trailer is
    extremely fun to watch. Hosted by Arthur Godfrey,
    it's an interesting look back at how studios
    promoted their films with more than just film clips.
    DVD-ROM content includes a handful of
    games like Limpet Scrimmage and Submarine
    and torpedoes away!
    . There are also the usual
    website links to more promotional material.
    Final Thoughts
    If you put The Incredible Mr. Limpet up
    against today's computerized animation standards,
    the film would fall short. However, after nearly
    40 years the film has lost none of its charm. It
    is my hope that the younger generation will enjoy
    it as much as we elders do.
    Release Date: October 1, 2002
  2. Adam_WM

    Adam_WM Screenwriter

    Oct 25, 2001
    Likes Received:
    GEORGE STICKLE!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'M LOOKING FOR GEORGE STICKLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I'll be picking this one up for sure. Don Knotts, live action/animation, and widescreen! WHO COULD ASK FOR ANYTHING MORE??!?!?!?
  3. Roger Rollins

    Roger Rollins Supporting Actor

    Jun 19, 2001
    Likes Received:
    The film was a flop when it came out, and it was never officially re-released. However, prints of it were used for "Children's matinee" bookings for years afterward by local theaters. That, and constant TV exposure has led LIMPET to find its audience, and become beloved. Really the same thing happened (to even greater success) with WILLY WONKA...a disaster in its theatrical release, that became a favorite of a generation within a few short years.

    It's no surprise the animation doesn't look great, because LIMPET was ostsensibly a lower-budget picture for WB at the time of its release.

    However, it seems Warner Home Video has done its usually splendid job on this disc, and I can't wait to get it!
  4. Jeff_A

    Jeff_A Screenwriter

    Mar 6, 2001
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    Don Knotts is an American gem. I will support this release in hope of seeing much more of his work on DVD. Thanks for the review - man, I love those screenshots! [​IMG]
  5. Matt Krapf

    Matt Krapf Stunt Coordinator

    Feb 8, 1999
    Likes Received:
    Thanks, Ron.
    I didn't even know this was in the works. Great surprise.
    Gotta get it. [​IMG]
  6. Harry W

    Harry W Stunt Coordinator

    Jul 28, 2001
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    I hope The Ghost and Mr Chicken are not far behind this release.[​IMG]
  7. Kevin M

    Kevin M Producer

    Feb 23, 2000
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    This is a true childhood favorite of mine....I can remember sitting in front of our HUGE 30 inch color!! cabinet Zenith back in the early seventies on Saturdays and Sundays and watching day long Don Knotts triple features with The Incredible Mr. Limpet, The Reluctant Astronaut, The Love God?, The Ghost and Mr. Chicken ("Atta boy Luthaa!"), The Shakiest Gun in the West etc., this is a very warm memory from my childhood.
    Although it is sometimes suggested (I.E. ridiculed) that we grown men grab up vast amounts of these "Childhood favorites" on DVD in some desperate attempt to feel "young" again, I say what's wrong with wanting to relive a little youthful enjoyment from our childhood? Peter Pan complex be damned.
    I will definitely be getting this.
  8. Walt Riarson

    Walt Riarson Supporting Actor

    Jan 13, 2002
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    Great review.

    Can't wait to pick this one up.

    A classic indeed.
  9. LarryDavenport

    LarryDavenport Cinematographer

    Nov 15, 1999
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    Harry W beat me to it. Someone PLEASE release The Ghost and Mr. Chicken!!!!!!!

    I have seen it at least 100 times and it never gets old.
  10. Keith M.

    Keith M. Second Unit

    Apr 1, 1999
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    Again, thank you so much for your wonderful reviews.
  11. PaulaJ

    PaulaJ Supporting Actor

    Oct 9, 2000
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    We grown girls also love Mr. Limpet. [​IMG] I remember seeing this as a kid in the theater with something like awe... all I wanted to do was to be transformed into a fish like Mr. Limpet and swim forever through the sea.
    I'm so glad it's now out on DVD -- goodbye to that pan and scan laser disc!
  12. Brian Harnish

    Brian Harnish Screenwriter

    Dec 15, 2000
    Likes Received:
    Whoo-hoo! I've been waiting for this one for awhile. I'll definitely pick it up. [​IMG]
  13. Robert McClanahan

    Robert McClanahan Stunt Coordinator

    Jul 21, 2000
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    I love this movie.I remember watching it on T.V. in the 70's.The ghost and mr. chicken needs to come out.

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