After a German U-boat is sunk near the end of World War I, it's captain, the only living member of the crew 15 years later, plots to retrieve the gold bullion that went down with the boat. He enlists the financial help of a woman who owns a waterfront dive, and a world-renowned undersea diver, but when the ship the woman bankrolls sinks, the two men sign on to an expedition bankrolled by another woman -- this time with scientific knowledge being her motive. They plan to use the expedition's equipment to dive to the wreck and bring up the gold. Written by
Ron Kerrigan <email@example.com>
A short documentary sequence on undersea life, filmed in two-strip technicolor, originally seen at the shipboard party at the beginning of the third reel, is now missing and apparently lost. See more »
Fay Wray is a feisty adventuress and Bellamy a leading man...
Even though BELOW THE SEA is an antique of a movie made in pre-code 1933, it's nice to note that there was a feistier side to FAY WRAY than the Scream Queen exhibited in KING KONG. She still has the same beauty but it's a little less innocent this time as she plays flirtatious games with RALPH BELLAMY as an underwater diver whom she can't get to smile or act like a gentleman. That seems to be her main preoccupation here, although she is bankrolling an underwater expedition while being deceived by men who are actually after some sunken gold bullion.
I thought she was prettier as the innocent blonde of KING KONG, but is presented here as a more modern and calculating heroine who learns the truth about the expedition only after she's fallen in love with Bellamy. But by this time he's been given some underwater heroics to do in order to save her life, just in time for a happy ending.
It's watchable but there are crude reminders that this is an early "talkie". It's easy to see why Bellamy never became leading man material in the Hollywood of the '40s after some leading man roles in films like this. He tries hard to play the sort of role that Bruce Cabot could have done blindfolded, but his loutish behavior seems more like a forced act.
Wray is lovely but not quite as effective as she was in her most famous film. Fans of the actress will be the ones who can appreciate this early offering.
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