The Incredible Mr. Limpet, starring Don Knotts
The Incredible Mr. Limpet is a very funny, entertaining film, starring Don Knotts as the mild-mannered Henry Limpet. Set during World War II, the patriotic Mr. Limpet, an avid fan of fish, tries to enlist in the Navy, only to be rejected due to his poor eyesight. A wish magically comes true, and Henry Limpet is turned into a fish.
He becomes the Navy’s secret weapon during World War II, single-handedly (or in his case, single-fin-edly) protecting America’s shores from German U-boat submarine attacks, as well as helping the Navy with the invasion of Normandy, courtesy of an undersea “roar” that can stop a torpedo. Among other recognitions after the war (in a dream sequence) is Limpet’s face added to Mount Rushmore! It’s a wonderful blend of part live-action (the human actors on land) and part animated (the underwater scenes with the “fishy” Limpet and his new friends, Ladyfish and Krusty the Crab). It’s wonderfully fun, funny and family-friendly, and highly recommended.
One caveat: Don Knotts, throughout most of his career, played a nervous, hyperactive character. In this movie, Henry Limpet may be mild-mannered and even henpecked, he is not playing that character. Don Knotts is wonderfully funny, but he’s not playing a variation on Barney Fife here.
The Incredible Mr. Limpet – special features
Also, a few notes on the special features on the DVD: one of the best, in my opinion, is a monologue by Don Knotts, presumably done a year or two before his death, where he informally talks to the audience, talking about the filming of the movie and what came after – a very pleasant addition, with some surprising tidbits — for example, I never knew previously that “The Incredible Mr. Limpet” initially did very poorly at the box office, only to later on become a success in the theaters.
There are also some theatrical trailers, a video that probably played in the theaters about the underwater premiere of the movie, and some simple DVD games. Also, the DVD features some special games that can be played on your PC (or even on a Macintosh, although the installation software is MicrosoftWindows-only; simply navigate through the folders and open the web page, and voila!)
Editorial Review of Don Knotts’ “The Incredible Mr. Limpet”, courtesy of Amazon.com:
Ever wonder what would happen if the imaginary worlds of Bedknobs and Broomsticks and SpongeBob SquarePants were to collide? If so, chances are good you’ve yet to discover The Incredible Mr. Limpet. Starring the irrepressible Don Knotts, this 1964 family feature combines live (land) action and animated (undersea) sequences with delightful results. During World War II, Knotts is mild-mannered, spectacle-sporting bookkeeper Henry Limpet. More than anything–he’s a fish fan and a patriot.
When the navy rejects him due to poor eyesight, he falls into a funk from which not even his beloved aquarium or loving–if bossy–wife can rescue him. So he makes a wish… to become a fish. Next thing he knows–he is! With a little help from a hermit crab named Crusty and the lovely Ladyfish, it’s as a talking, bespectacled fish that Limpet proves himself the war hero he always knew he was meant to be. —Kathleen C. Fennessy
Product Description of Don Knotts’ The Incredible Mr. Limpet
Hailed as one of the greatest films of all time, The Incredible Mr. Limpet is a story about the wonders of imagination and the triumph of the spirit. Live-action and 2-D animation combine to tell the story of a man who longs to be a fish after he is classified by the Navy as an F4 – “too small and too weak to be a soldier.” When his dream of being a fish becomes a reality, Henry uses his underwater prowess to become the Navy’s strongest secret weapon.
I rate it 4 stars out of 5.
Funny movie quotes from Don Knotts’ The Incredible Mr. Limpet, courtesy of Amazon.com:
- Henry Limpet (Don Knotts): What if I told you I used to be a human being?
Ladyfish (Elizabeth MacRae): I don’t care how terrible your past was, Limpet.
- Bessie Limpet (Carole Cook): Henry, am I the widow of a man or the wife of a fish?
Henry Limpet (Don Knotts): Well, let’s be logical, Bessie. You can’t very well keep me in the bathtub, can you?
- Henry Limpet (Don Knotts): I wish, I wish I was a fish.
Trivia from Don Knotts’ The Incredible Mr. Limpet courtesy of Amazon.com:
- The Premier was shown in a huge underwater theater at Weeki Wachee Springs, Florida. This was, reportedly, the first (and probably still the only) under water premier.