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Naval commander Charles Sturm has made life miserable for his wife Diana due to his insane jealousy over every man she speaks to. His obsessive behavior soon drives her to the arms of a handsome lieutenant. When Charles learns of their affair, he plots revenge. Written by
Daniel Bubbeo <email@example.com>
One of over 700 Paramount productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since. See more »
Devil and the Deep contains a fascinating performance from Charles Laughton as a submarine commander going nuts with the conviction that his sultry wife (Tallulah Bankhead) is cheating on him first with Cary Grant and then Gary Cooper.
The physical production features a claustrophobic studio recreation of a North African town (reminiscent of Von Sternberg's "Morocco" but without the dazzling shadow play), a romantic scene in a starlit desert oasis (said to have been filmed in an actual desert but looking exactly like a painted backdrop) and finally the laughable spectacle of toy boats bobbing around in a tank of water that we're supposed to believe is the Mediterranean.
Bankhead, like other female stars of that historical moment, is made up and coiffed to look like a Garbo clone. The style suits her without overwhelming her innate, distinctive qualities of voice and manner. Laughton's performance prefigures his later Captain Bligh in Mutiny on the Bounty and Quasimodo in The Hunchback of Notre Dame. I prefer his work here to his Bligh, which was sometimes too messily overwrought. This is also the second 1932 film (the other being "Payment Deferred") in which he plays dementia with mad laughter. Cooper is wooden and awkward (and handsome) as usual and Grant does well in a smallish supporting role.
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