Boy on a Dolphin
by Jean Negulesco


USA (New York City, Roxy Theater) - April 19, 1957 - Boy on a Dolphin - 111'
Italy - April 1957 Il ragazzo sul delfino
West Germany - April 19, 1957 -  Der Knabe auf dem Delphin - 110'
France (Paris) - May 22, 1957 - Ombres sur la mer - 111'
Spain - 1957 -
La sirena y el delfín - 111'
Mexico - 1957 - La estatua desnuda -

Italian poster German poster French poster American poster


In Greece, a woman who dives for sponges finds a precious, antique statue at the bottom of the sea, representing a boy on a dolphin. She goes to Athens, and contacts an American archeologist. At first he does not give too much weight to the disco very, but then he understands the truthfulness of her affirmations. A wellknown adventurer who deals in works of art also becomes interested in the matter. He promises to help her but in reality he wants to steal the statue. The story ends with the recovery of the precious object by the Greek authorities, the unmasking of the scoundrel, and the marriage of the beautiful sponge diver and the archeologist. (Enrico Lancia)
Story from the homonym novel by David Divine (1955)


Greece: Hydra, Aegaian Islands, Athens (Greece)
Cinecittà, Rome (Italy)

Filming dates: September 24 - November


Alan Ladd (James Calder)

Clifton Webb (Victor Parmalee)

Sophia Loren (Phaedra)

Jorge Mistral (Rhif)


Photography (DeLuxe Color, CinemaScope):
Milton Krasner
Hugo Friedhofer
Costume design:
Anna Gobbi
Hair Stylist:
Catherine Reed
Makeup Artist:
Henry Vilardo
Sophia's Double (swimming scenes):

Scilla Gabel
Still Photographer:
John Springer, Franco Fedeli
Samuel G. Engel for 20th Century Fox


Right after filming The Pride and the Passion in Spain with Cary Grant, Sophia arrives to Greece and finds in her dressing room, on the very first day of shooting,  a rose with a little note that reads "Best wishes for a good movie", signed by Cary Grant.

Director Jean Negulesco, a Rumanian-born painter turned film-maker, is so taken with Sophia that he spends more time portraying her on canvas than on screen. His collection is displayed in December 1956 in a Roman gallery.

Sophia rips her thigh in October diving into the water.

The film is known for its famous scene where Sophia emerges from the water. The dripping yellow dress, as it came to be called, makes Sophia a poster girl all over the world when the film opens.

The movie script was offered to Gina Lollobrigida during a dinner party in Paris in 1956, but Gina was already thinking of having a bambino and had future commitments to Trapeze and Notre-Dame-de-Paris.

For her to play opposite Ladd, who was two inches shorter than Sophia, a trench had to be dug so they could walk side by side along the beach on the Greek island of Hydra. There was certainly little or no romance in that or in Ladd's unflattering description of working with her: "It's like being bombed by watermelons."
Alan Levy, Forever Sophia.


"Eye-filling is the word for Signorina Loren and the itinerary... The abundantly endowed Signorina Loren, who is as decorative as any classic statue is given ample opportunity to be photographed agains island rocks and in the fish and frond-filled green murky depths of the sea. Wet or dry she makes a pretty picture and, on occasion, delivers herself of some fieryt emotion to prove that she is also willing and able to act."
A.H. Weiler. New York Times, 20 apr 1957

"It is not a boy who rides high, wide and handsome in "Boy on a Dolphin", but a girl - Sophia Loren."
Philip K. Scheuer. Los Angeles Times, 22 apr 1957

"She would be a helIish girl to fall in love with (...) There's too much of her".
Jean Negulesco

"Sophia's outward appearance is but a minor, incidental aspect to her powers. Sophia is what we call in Hollywood 'a natural.' She is virtually incapable of a false dramatic move. She is by turns a clown, a tragedian and a realistic actress who never strikes a false note. She reacts for scenes with perfectly balanced reaction and accuracy and instinct of nature, rather than from the manners of artifice. She has a memory that is a continual source of wonder. She has without a doubt the most extraordinary talent I have ever met."
Jean Negulesco

"A makeup job with excessively dark tones and an over-the-top performance made her into a kind of primitive siren, closer to an Ethiopian Aida than a Greek sponge diver. The first sequences are all devoted to Sophia's body, draped constantly in a soaked tee-shirt which outlines her curves in a way which is perhaps too obvious"
Stefano Masi, Sophia.

Sofia Loren has never performed worse. She's about as Greek and about as much a diver and a miller's wife as I'm the Grand Vizir. Whoever cares about her should tell her so. May the ghosts of Vittorio De Sica, Alessandro Blasetti and Mario Soldati give her no peace during her nights in Hollywood."
Giuseppe Marotta, L'Europeo

"Sophia is still a great beauty and may be pardoned for lacking the measure and equilibrium that should be the primary virtues
of an actress."
Vittorio Ricciuti, Il Mattino, 21 apr 1957

"Statuesque Sophia Loren, whose beautiful proportions have fast become a world-wide legend, shows them to admirable advantages in her role of a fiery Greek peasant girl who sets co-stars Alan Ladd and Clifton Webb doing battle in Twentieth Century-Fox's Boy on a Dolphin."
The Progress-Index, 5 may 1957

"Miss Loren, whose physical charms were first spotlighted in "Aida", recently proved herself a sensitive actress in "The Pride and the Passion" and in "The Gold of Naples". In "Boy on a Dolphin", as a fiery modern nymph, ample occasion is supplied to view Miss Loren's celebrated classic figure as she dives for treasure on the ocean floor, as well as when she joins in some Greek dances."
The Galveston News, 28 apr 1957

Copyrights for all photos belong to their respective owners.
© Excelsior Communication - 2007

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