Tony and Felix own a tramp boat, and sail around the Caribbean doing odd jobs and drinking a lot. They agree to ferry the beautiful but passportless Irena to another island. They both fall ... See full summary »
Tony and Felix own a tramp boat, and sail around the Caribbean doing odd jobs and drinking a lot. They agree to ferry the beautiful but passportless Irena to another island. They both fall for her, leading to betrayal and a break-up of their partnership. Tony takes a job on a cargo ship. After a collision he finds himself trapped below deck with time running out (the ship is aflame), and only Felix, whom he hates and has sworn to kill, left to save him. Written by
John Oswalt <email@example.com>
Rita Hayworth, Robert Mitchum, and Jack Lemmon star in "Fire Down Below," a 1957 film. Hayworth plays Irena, a woman with a mysterious European past and no passport. Mitchum and Lemmon are Felix and Tony, who run a ferry boat in the Caribbean. They are paid to take Irena to another island. Felix (Mitchum) knows she's trouble and worse than that, he's attracted to her. Tony (Lemmon) falls for Irena and, when she leaves the ferry, he accompanies her.
The film takes an odd turn here - Tony wants to marry Irena, so he takes a job transporting illegal goods to get some money together. But someone has tipped off the police. Tony and his associate escape, and Tony ends up on a Greek ship. The ship has an accident, and Tony is trapped in the hold.
This film starts out as one thing - a love triangle, a mysterious woman with a checkered past, two friends who become enemies - and becomes the story of a man facing death in the cargo hold of a ship. That part goes on too long, and we don't see what's the happenings on dry land. We are told them toward the end of the film. It just felt like something was missing.
There are suspenseful moments and good acting. Mitchum plays the sardonic Felix well, and Lemmon is, as always, likable as Tony and handles both the light and dramatic scenes very well. I do think for this role his casting was somewhat strange. I think like Hayworth he was trying to fulfill contractual obligations to Columbia. Hayworth is a long way from her Gilda days, but a striking woman. Her hard life, like the life of the character, has caught up with her. She doesn't display a lot of range in the role but has a knockout dance number during Mardi Gras that is very much the old Rita.
Interesting for the cast.
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