The Incredible Mr. Limpet

Bomb Rating: 

Even though a "limpet" is a kind of mollusk, the word certainly sounds like it should mean something different. And what, do you ask? Well, given the root of the word is "limp," a "limpet" could either mean "a puppet that's been thrown away" or "a man unable to get it up."

It's pretty clear that the latter definition was meant to be gleaned from this film. Henry Limpet (Don Knotts) has two problems. The first problem is that he's denied admission to the Navy during World War 2 because he's 4-F, not manly enough. He's too short and too weak. His second problem is that his wife appears sexually frustrated, so much so that she's got George (Jack Weston) hanging around the house. Henry comes home and it's pretty clear who wears the pants in the family. Henry is so distraught by his human existence that he dreams of becoming a fish (a notoriously limp creature).

Henry does, in fact, become a fish. The second he does (the film becomes animated at this point), he becomes the object of the affections of a rather friendly female fish who immediately wants to go spawn. Curiously, Henry is completely uninterested in spawning with her. It appears Henry is asexual. Instead, Henry goes to work for the Navy spotting German U-Boats (bringing to mind an apropos joke: What's long and hard and full of seamen? A German U-Boat, of course).

Need more proof of Henry's symbolism? The director of this film is Arthur Lubin. And what does one need if one has a limp it? One needs lube in, of course. I rest my case. This film is sick.

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