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Of Don Knotts' movies, THE GHOST AND MR. CHICKEN and THE INCREDIBLE MR. LIMPET ($25) are my two favorites, both of which I have loved since childhood. While Universal has yet to release THE GHOST AND MR. CHICKEN (in 16:9 enhanced wide screen please), Warner Home Video has delivered the goods with a terrific DVD edition of THE INCREDIBLE MR. LIMPET. Combining live action with animation, THE INCREDIBLE MR. LIMPET tells the story of a bookish milquetoast named Henry Limpet (Don Knotts), who has an obsession with fish and fanaticizes about becoming one.

Despite his odd longings, Henry Limpet is quite patriotic and wants to serve his country during the WWII era. Although Henry attempts to enlist in the navy, he is categorized 4F and rejected for military service. While having a picnic lunch on the pier at Coney Island with his wife Bessie (Carole Cook) and visiting navy buddy George Stickel (Jack Weston), Henry stares absently into the ocean and wishes that he were one of those gilled creatures that he loves so much. Leaning too far over the edge of the pier, Henry falls into the water and is miraculously transformed into a fish. Unable to go home to his very human wife, Henry makes the best of his situation by becoming the Navy's new secret weapon for locating and helping to destroy Nazi U-Boats. The cast of THE INCREDIBLE MR. LIMPET also features Andrew Duggan, Larry Keating and Oscar Beregi, along with the vocal talents of Elizabeth MacRae and Paul Frees.

Warner Home Video has made THE INCREDIBLE MR. LIMPET available on DVD in a 1.78:1 wide screen presentation that features the anamorphic enhancement for 16:9 displays. A cropped transfer is also provided on the opposite side of the DVD, although the comments contained in this review will refer exclusively to the wide screen edition. This a really great looking transfer for THE INCREDIBLE MR. LIMPET, which looks far better here than in any previous video incarnation. The image is sharp and very nicely defined. Colors on the live action segments are quite vivid and very nicely saturated. The animated segments of the film utilize a pastel color scheme and appear subdued by comparison. The film element used for the transfer displays few blemishes in the live action segments; however, the animated sequences do show more markings. I'm not sure if the blemishes affecting the animation are age related, or were printed into the negative at the time of the film's production. Either way, I wish they could have been cleaned up just a bit more for this presentation. Digital compression artifacts are well camouflaged on this cleanly authored DVD.

THE INCREDIBLE MR. LIMPET comes with a nice sounding Dolby Digital monaural soundtrack. Sure there are frequency limitations that keep the sound effects from having much of an impact, although noticeable traces of background hiss and surface noise have been eliminated from the track. Additionally, the film's music and songs manage to sound quite pleasant, despite the limited dynamic range. Dialogue is cleanly rendered and is always completely understandable. A Spanish monaural soundtrack has also been encoded onto the DVD, along with English, French and Spanish subtitles.

Animation and sound serve to enhance the DVD's very cute interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard scene selection and set up features, as well as few extras. Don Knotts is on hand for a new video introduction to the film, in which the star shares a few brief memories. Also included is Weekend At Weeki Wachee, a ten-minute featurette that looks at the underwater theatrical premiere of THE INCREDIBLE MR. LIMPET. For the kiddies is the Get In The Swim With Henry Game, while the adults will get more from Henry Limpet's Fishtank, in which Don Knotts talks briefly about character designs and his co-stars. A theatrical trailer, plus a cast listing closes out the extras. THE INCREDIBLE MR. LIMPET is also DVD-ROM enabled with the usual web links, plus four Operation: Limpet games that include Torpedoes Away, Limpet Scrimmage, Limpet Scrimmage and Submarine.

THE INCREDIBLE MR. LIMPET is a wonderful movie for kids, or for those adults who grew up watching this movie and are feeling nostalgic. Warner has done a truly fine job with the DVD release by offering a great looking 16:9 enhanced presentation, plus some very nice extras. If you are a longtime fan of the movie, or just an adult looking for something for the kids, you can't go wrong by picking up a copy of THE INCREDIBLE MR. LIMPET on DVD.



The Incredible Mr. Limpet (1964)


DVD reviews are Copyright 2002 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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