Review: ‘Underwater!’

While Jane Russell is the main cast attraction as far as name value goes, the story (by Hugh King and Robert C. Bailey) is slanted towards Richard Egan, her husband, and Gilbert Roland, adventurer, who are diving for the treasure aboard a sunken galleon. Russell is a fetching sight, whether plumbing the depths or lounging comfortably aboard ship.

While Jane Russell is the main cast attraction as far as name value goes, the story (by Hugh King and Robert C. Bailey) is slanted towards Richard Egan, her husband, and Gilbert Roland, adventurer, who are diving for the treasure aboard a sunken galleon. Russell is a fetching sight, whether plumbing the depths or lounging comfortably aboard ship.

Egan and Roland handle the masculine spots easily, both having the kind of muscles that look good when bared. Robert Keith, good as a priest with a knowledge of sunken treasure, and Lori Nelson, scantly used but good to look at, are the other principals in the treasure-questing group. On the surface the treasure-hunters are threatened by Cuban shark fisherman (Joseph Calleia) and his crew.

Sturges’ direction is hampered for the first half by more dialog than the picture’s pace can comfortably assimilate, but once the unnecessary talk and extraneous sequences are out of the way, the pace tightens and thrills are consistent.

Film is RKO’s first SuperScope release. The 2-to-1 aspect ratio produces a big picture excellently proportioned to show off the pictorial splendors achieved by Harry J. Wild’s lensing above the water and Lamar Boren’s under the ocean.

Underwater!

Production

RKO. Director John Sturges; Producer Harry Tatelman; Screenplay Walter Newman; Camera Harry J. Wild; Editor Stuart Gilmore, Frederic Knudtson; Music Roy Webb; Art Director Albert S. D'Agostino, Carrol Clark

Crew

(Color) Widescreen. Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1955. Running time: 98 MIN.

With

Jane Russell Gilbert Roland Richard Egan Lori Nelson Robert Keigh Joseph Calleia

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