Thursday, June 30, 2011

Classic Rewind: Underwater! (1955)

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More of a marketing ploy than an actual film, this underseas voyage typifies the kind of shamelessly tacky filmmaking that tended to crop up in the advent of the widescreen era in the mid-50's, exclamation point and all.
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Built more around the industrialist and sexual exploits of producer Howard Hughes than a script, Underwater! with its promises of skimpy Jane Russell attire and relatively uncharted nautical diving, feels listlessly built in reverse - like making a film around a poster. 
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And for its majority, we're subjected to dingy underwater dives interspersed with boatside chats, preferably with shirts off, as our four scavenging voyagers search for gold buried at sea - whether they find it, or if we particularly care, is seemingly all that's at stake. 
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Yet even it's tawdry title comes with false pretenses, when after weeks of shooting off the coast of Hawaii produced little to no usable footage, a massive underwater tank was built on an RKO soundstage in order to capture the actors in their scuba gear, underwater it is not. [D]

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