Cinemascope's Tour Ends Here --- Part One
A lot of 20th Fox Cinemascope was travelogues that only incidentally told a story, to which novelty besotted customers responded Give Us More! as record hits were made of Three Coins In a Fountain, Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing and others that saved them air fare to places gloriously captured on newly-wide screens. Cinemascope avoided 3-D's flame-out for being not such an obvious gimmick, but like anything shiny and new, wore down as movies again were judged for content rather than size. Best Picture-winning Marty bespoke patronage done with vistas and little else, its award less recognition for modesty than rebuke to
Still there was hope that lightning could be pushed back in wide bottles. A short novel revolving around Greek treasure hunts was bought by Fox in mid-1955, this just off euphoria Three Coins and its
So many bad decisions came in the wake of Darryl Zanuck leaving Fox to pursue independent production. That happened in 1956, just as Boy On A Dolphin hoisted anchor on what would be six months spent shooting in
As was often case with shaky propositions, Boy On A Dolphin took out policies of star insurance. Director Negulesco was already filming Greek backgrounds when Alan Ladd was signed back home to play Dolphin's lead. Fox had already scotched Gina Lollobrigida for fresher pasta Sophia Loren, proof if nothing else of inroads foreign pics had made since the war. Loren's casting promised a bonus of infatuated-with-her Cary Grant, willing to do another bad picture, it seemed, so long as it was with Loren (their just previous together was The Pride and The Passion). Grant's sudden withdrawal necessitated but-quick signing of Ladd, it being felt that Boy On A Dolphin needed top marquee bait to justify $ already splurged in Greece.
Ladd was paid, perhaps overpaid, with $275K up front (some put it at $325), plus a percentage. Either way, Fox's largesse overlooked reality of Ladd's decline. Would Zanuck have approved this gift? Negulesco thought it crazed that Adler and administrators would pair 5'6'' (if that) Ladd with strapping Loren, 5'8'' or better stripped. Leading men were in any case interchangeable for much of what Fox shot wide during the fifties. Boy On a Dolphin might have seen profit had a cheaper-bought Dick Egan or Victor Mature paired with Loren. Either would certainly have been more credible in the clinches than a Ladd she could as readily toss over either shoulder.
There was an unfinished script, by-now customary for on-location Fox, Ivan Moffat being flown over to continue the writing barely ahead of cameras. Meanwhile, Fox was laying off employees at home. Projects scheduled for summer '56 had been postponed, leaving little to do on the lot. Department heads were told to trim staff, beginning on back-lots not being used thanks in part to Boy On a Dolphin's interiors being filmed in