The Day of the Dolphin

Avco-Embassy Released 1973




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Movie Summary

Mike Nichols

The Day of the Dolphin, adapted from a French novel by Robert Merle, concerns research scientist Dr. Jake Terrell and his wife Maggie and their secret project involving the two dolphins they have raised on a private island (one since birth). In an amazing feat of phonetic science, they have, after years of hard work, taught their unique dolphins to speak a form of simplified English. But when strangers begin to come to the Terrells' private island, and a murder takes place in the dolphinarium, they begin to realise that the Foundation which has always backed their researches does not necessarily have benign motives...

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Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (3)

  • QUOTES (3)

    • Dr. Jake Terrell: [on returning to the island]: I go away for one lousy afternoon and the whole place falls apart!

    • Dr. Jake Terrell: [discussing dolphins]: Why, as mammals, were they compelled - or did they decide - to leave the land and return to the sea?

    • Harold de Milo: Are you a blackmailer, Mr. Mahoney?
      Curtis Mahoney: Goodness, no! I'm just an average guy with an above-average curiosity.

  • NOTES (2)

    • Robert Merle's novel was originally called Un Animal Doue De Raison (An Animal Endowed With Reason) and was originally published in French in 1967. It was an international best-seller, appearing in English translation in 1969, but making a film of it proved very difficult. Roman Polanski was working on it with the writer James Salter at the time of his wife's murder; he then dropped the project.

    • This film, like Robert Merle's original novel, was inspired by the researches of Dr. John Lilley. He threatened the makers of the film with a lawsuit, although it came to nothing (perhaps because the film was a box-office flop).