Set among the sponge-diving Greek colony at Tarpon Springs, Fla, the squeeze-lensing gives punch in the display of underwater wonders, the seascapes and the brilliant, beautiful sunrises and sunsets of the Florida Gulf coast.
In handling the young cast, Robert D. Webb’s direction is less effective, particularly in the case of Robert Wagner and Terry Moore. Both are likable, so the shallowness of their performances is no serious handicap to the entertainment. Thesping quality is maintained by the more experienced casters. Scoring resoundingly is Gilbert Roland, colorful Greek diver and father of Wagner. Angela Clarke also clicks as the wife and mother.
The plot takes on two lines of conflict – the age-old battle between man and the sea, the more personal rivalry between the diving Greeks of Tarpon Springs and the hook-spongers of the shallow Key West waters.
Romance gets in its licks when the daring Gilbert ventures into Key West waters controlled by Boone and the young Wagner meets conch-girl Moore. It’s an instant attraction between the pair and their romance builds to a runaway marriage after Gilbert is killed diving at the dangerous 12-mile reef. Wagner then becomes the man of the family, proving his right to the title by diving where his father met death, fighting off an octopus and beating Graves in an underwater battle.
1953: Nomination: Best Color Cinematography