6.9/10
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15 user 1 critic

The Deep Blue Sea (1955)

Unrated | | Drama, Romance | 1 November 1955 (USA)
A woman unhappy in her passionless marriage leaves her husband for a younger and more ardent lover.

Director:

Anatole Litvak

Writers:

Terence Rattigan (play), Terence Rattigan (screenplay)
Reviews
Nominated for 2 BAFTA Film Awards. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview:
Vivien Leigh ... Hester Collyer
Kenneth More ... Freddie Page
Eric Portman ... Miller
Emlyn Williams ... Sir William Collyer
Moira Lister ... Dawn Maxwell
Arthur Hill ... Jackie Jackson
Dandy Nichols ... Mrs. Elton
Jimmy Hanley ... Dicer Durston
Miriam Karlin Miriam Karlin ... Barmaid
Heather Thatcher ... Lady Dawson
Bill Shine ... Golfer
Brian Oulton ... Drunk
Sidney James ... Man outside bar
Alec McCowen ... Ken Thompson
Gibb McLaughlin ... Clerk
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Storyline

A woman unhappy in her passionless marriage leaves her husband for a younger and more ardent lover.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Trapped Between Infidelity and - [The Deep Blue Sea].

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 November 1955 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Lockende Tiefe See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

London Film Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo (magnetic prints) (Western Electric Recording)| Mono (optical prints) (Western Electric Recording)

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.55 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to Alexander Walker in 'Sex in the Movies', Marlene Dietrich turned down the film "on the grounds that she could never be convincing as a woman who tries to gas herself because she cannot keep her lover or find other men." See more »

Quotes

Mrs. Elton: I wish I could understand what it was that possessed you to do a dreadful thing like that
Hester Collyer: What possessed me, Mrs Elton? The Devil, I suppose
Mrs. Elton: I should just think it was
Hester Collyer: I'm not sure I meant quite that kind of devil. But when you're between any kind of devil and the deep blue sea, the deep blue sometimes looks very inviting. It did last night
Mrs. Elton: I can't make you out. You're not a wicked woman. What you did last night was wicked and cruel. Now supposing it had been Mr Page and not you that we found ...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Version of BBC Play of the Month: The Deep Blue Sea (1974) See more »

Soundtracks

The Deep Blue Sea
Music by Francis Chagrin
Lyrics by Roy Bradford
See more »

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User Reviews

 
"But when you're between any kind of devil and the deep blue sea, the deep blue sometimes looks very inviting"
10 August 2017 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

After watching the Terence Rattigan DVD collection (with most of the adaptations being from the 70s and 80s) when staying with family friends last year, Rattigan very quickly became one of my favourite playwrights and he still is. His dialogue is so intelligent, witty and meaty, his characterisation so dynamic, complex and real and the storytelling so beautifully constructed.

'The Deep Blue Sea' may not be among my favourite Rattigan plays ('The Browning Version', 'The Winslow Boy', 'Separate Tables'), but it's still wonderful and distinctively Rattigan. The writing is 24-carat Rattigan and the story is timeless in its searing emotion and romantic passion. It's very sharply observant and emotionally searing. This rarely viewed and as of now unavailable film version of 'The Deep Blue Sea' is deserving of more exposure.

It may not be one of the best representations of Rattigan in general (i.e. 1951's 'The Browning Version', 1948's 'The Winslow Boy' and 1958's 'Separate Tables'), but it is as good an adaptation of 'The Deep Blue Sea' as can suffice (not the best but one of them). It is a shame that it is unavailable on DVD and can as of now only be viewed in a rather poor print on Youtube. If and when available on DVD, while it's not perfect it deserves to be, it needs to be a restoration. It is a shame that it got a tepid response when released, it is understandable in a way that it didn't connect with viewers considering the film competition that year and that it was considered too cold, talky and sedate at the time and perhaps the subject was a little inaccessible to some at the time.

With that being said, 'The Deep Blue Sea' is still well worth the viewing. Mainly for seeing Kenneth More in one of his best performances (he is brilliant here), Vivien Leigh in an achingly personal performance (that sees her as beautiful, but not too beautiful, and to me she wasn't too cold) and the two of them together in a pretty passionate chemistry (do disagree respectfully with More himself that it was poor) that contrasts well with the suitably passionless one for Hester's marriage as it should be. Plus a sterling, distinguished supporting cast with Eric Portman and Emlyn Williams being the standouts. The only exception with the latter is Jimmy Hanley, who is a little wooden.

Malcolm Arnold's music score is understated but swells passionately at the right moments. The script is thought-provoking and observant, with the wit and nuances captured well even with changes, there is a lot of talk but that is the case with the play itself and Rattigan in general. The story may not be as searing as with the play and may lack its intimacy in places, but the characters, the meaty way they're written and their stories are handled quite well.

Anatole Litvak's direction could have been more expansive, other film adaptations of Rattigan's work have done a better job of opening up their respective source material and even extending it, and although it is an intimate story the direction is a little too sedate and self-contained. 'The Deep Blue Sea' has been criticised for substandard production values, to me the settings and costumes are lovely to look at and some of the film is atmospherically lit but it is let down by the poor print with the faded and grainy picture quality and less than lavish and at times incomplete looking photography.

Overall, underviewed film that despite its faults is interesting and worth the watch. 7/10 Bethany Cox


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