Boy on a Dolphin is a 1957 20th Century Fox romantic film set in Greece and shot in DeLuxe Color and CinemaScope. It was directed by Jean Negulesco and produced by Samuel G. Engel from a screenplay by Ivan Moffat and Dwight Taylor, based on the novel of the same name by David Divine.

The film was Sophia Loren's English-language debut.[2] She starred opposite Alan Ladd and Clifton Webb, with Alexis Minotis and Laurence Naismith in support. Hugo Friedhofer's score was nominated for a Best Music Academy Award in 1958. Cinematography was by Milton Krasner. It was the first Hollywood movie shot in Greece.


Phaedra (Sophia Loren) is a poor Greek sponge diver on the island of Hydra. She works from the boat of her boyfriend, Rhif (Jorge Mistral), an illegal immigrant from Albania. She accidentally finds an ancient Greek statue of a boy riding a dolphin on the bottom of the Aegean Sea. Her efforts to sell it to the highest bidder lead her to two competing individuals: Dr. James Calder (Alan Ladd), an honest archaeologist who will surrender it to Greek authorities, and Victor Parmalee (Clifton Webb), an aesthete and an unscrupulous dealer with a history of trying to acquire works of art stolen by the Nazis from their owners.

Calder and Parmalee each try to win Phaedra's cooperation. She works in concert with Parmalee, while developing feelings for Calder. When she seems to waver, Rhif decides to make the deal with Parmalee work. The film reaches a happy conclusion, with virtue rewarded, the statue celebrated by the people of Hydra, and Phaedra and Calder in each other's arms. Parmalee, a man with no apparent national loyalties or heritage, sets course for Monte Carlo.


Production notes

The film was loosely based on David Divine's novel by the same name which was published in 1955, which presents as rivals an English archeologist and an impoverished Greek student.[3] 20th Century Fox bought the film rights prior to publication.[4] Sam Engel was assigned to produce and Alec Coppel to write.[5] Clifton Webb and Joan Collins were announced as stars.[6] Then Leon Uris was signed to work on the script and Henry Koster to direct.[7] Dwight Taylor wrote a version of the script.[8] Jean Negulesco became the director.[9] The female lead eventually went to Sophia Loren.[10] Alan Ladd signed on shortly before shooting commenced.[11]

Much of the film was shot on location on the Greek Saronic Islands, notably Hydra. Establishing shots of Athens, Rhodes and Delos add to the vérité, while matte shots and some interiors were done at Cinecittà in Rome.[12] One scene uses the Eastern Orthodox monastery complex at Metéora, which was later used as a location in the James Bond film For Your Eyes Only.

Webb fell ill with pneumonia during the shoot.[13] Filming went relatively smoothly, despite the fact it was the first Hollywood movie shot in Greece.[14] Webb later sponsored two Greek children.[15]

The dissimilarity in heights between the Script error: No such module "convert". Loren and Script error: No such module "convert". Ladd led to complications in filming. Some of their scenes together required him to stand on a box, while another forced a trench to be dug for Loren when the pair walked along the beach.[16]


Sophia Loren (or is it Marni Nixon?) sings "What is this thing they call love" ("Tι΄ναι αυτό που το λένε αγάπη" with Template:Interlanguage link multi). The music was adapted from one of his original melodies.[17] The theme song sung by Julie London is heard over the underwater title sequence:

There's a tale that they tell of a dolphin
And a boy made of gold.
With the shells and the pearls in the deep,
He has lain many years fast asleep
What they tell of the boy on a dolphin,
Who can say if it's true?
Should he rise from the depths of the ocean,
Any wish that you wish may come true.

You say "he's only a statue, and what can a statue achieve?"
And yet, while I'm gazing at you,
My heart tells my head to believe.

If the boy whom the gods have enchanted
Should arise from the sea,
And the wish of my heart could be granted,
I would wish that you loved only me.


The film's world premiere on 10 April 1957 in New York was a benefit for Queen Frederika's Fund for Greek Orphans.[18]




  1. Solomon, Aubrey. Twentieth Century Fox: A Corporate and Financial History (The Scarecrow Filmmakers Series). Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, 1989. ISBN 978-0-8108-4244-1. p250
  2. NY Times
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  7. Drama: Indie Setups Announced by Cummings, Chandler; Hello, Barry Fitzgerald Scheuer, Philip K. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 21 Nov 1955: 41.
  8. Timid Sheriff Prospect for Malden in 'Frenzy;' Sal Mineo Gains in Favor Scheuer, Philip K. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 30 Dec 1955: B7.
  9. Cagney Forgoes Two Movies to Spend Time with Children Hopper, Hedda. Chicago Daily Tribune (1923-1963) [Chicago, Ill] 10 Apr 1956: b7.
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  13. Baby Killer Found Guilty but Insane Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 27 Oct 1956: B1.
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  15. Clifton Webb Stirred by Greece Adventure Scott, John L. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 17 Mar 1957: E1.
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External links

Template:Jean Negulesco
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