High romance of the pulp-fiction variety is niftily shaped in City Beneath the Sea. The film stages a thrilling underseas 'earthquake' as a capper to the derring-do yarn laid in the West Indies.
A couple of lusty, adventurous deep-sea divers, a sunken treasure, comely femmes and the earthquake are expertly mixed to provide chimerical film entertainment. The direction by Budd Boetticher is slanted to take the most advantage of the action, amatory and thrill situations in the story based on Harry E. Rieseberg’s Port Royal – The Ghost City Beneath the Sea. Picture is not necessarily logical, but it tells its tale with a robust sense of humor.
The earthquake sequence is a real thriller. Scene is the historic sunken city of Port Royal, Jamaica, which went to the bottom of the Caribbean during a 1692 earthquake. Robert Ryan and Anthony Quinn team excellently as the daring divers, ever ready for the adventures offered by sunken treasure or shapely femmes. They come to Kingston, Jamaica, to dive for $1 million in gold bullion that went down with a freighter, without knowing their employer (Karel Stepanek) doesn’t want the treasure found just yet.
Plot tangents boil along while Ryan woos Mala Powers, owner of a small, coastwise ship, and Quinn makes time with Suzan Ball, singer in a waterfront nitery.