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King of the Coral Sea (1954)

Approved | | Adventure, Crime | 24 June 1956 (USA)
A human smuggling racket off the Australian coast prompts the authorities to request a pearl diver's help in the investigation.


Lee Robinson


Chips Rafferty (original screenplay), Lee Robinson (original screenplay)




Cast overview:
Chips Rafferty ... Ted King
Charles 'Bud' Tingwell ... Peter Merriman (as Charles Tingwell)
Ilma Adey Ilma Adey ... Rusty King
Rod Taylor ... Jack Janiero
Lloyd Berrell Lloyd Berrell ... Yusep
Reg Lye ... Grundy (as Reginald Lye)
Charles Peverill Charles Peverill
Frances Chin Soon Frances Chin Soon ... Serena
Jack Assam Jack Assam
Salapata Sagigi Salapata Sagigi
Charlie Juda Charlie Juda


Ted King, aided by Jack Janiero, is in charge of a company owned by Peter Merriman, reputed playboy, which he inherited from his father. Merriman decides to have a look at the company which is getting shells and pearls from the ocean's bottom. King discovers a body out in the ocean and brings it in, which sets off a police investigation into the possible smuggling of undesirable aliens into the area and they ask for King's help. Merriman arrives and falls instantly for King's daughter, "Rusty." He also shows them that the use of modern equipment can streamline the operation as well as save lives, which he does for King when he is trapped under the sea. When the smugglers learn King is on their trail, they take "Rusty" hostage, but King, Jack and Merriman, with the use of Merriman's aqua-lungs, follow and rescue her and capture the crooks and killers before the police arrive. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Thrill-swept adventure on and below the coral reefs !


Adventure | Crime


Approved | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Film debut of Rod Taylor. See more »


Referenced in Innocence: Interview with Charles 'Bud' Tingwell (2001) See more »

User Reviews

Chips with the lot!
27 September 2017 | by girvsjointSee all my reviews

I give King of the Coral Sea a ten score because the love and passion by all concerned in the making of this little gem shows through on the screen. 25,000 pounds was a minuscule budget for a film even by 1953 standards, certainly Hollywood would spend that on the trailer alone. Chips Rafferty produced this film, and put nearly all of his own money into it, in fact most of what he earned he invested back into the Australian film industry in the days when no one else was much interested in it, he never became a rich man, but he did become an Australian icon of the screen, Hedda Hopper once called him, Australia's Gary Cooper, the laconic 6'5" Chips was always a commanding presence on screen. King of The Coral Sea may not have the flashy Hollywood production values of a huge budget, but it does have an endearing charm that has only increased as time goes by. Noted also as the screen debut of 23 year old Rod Taylor, ironically playing a phony yank, that he would later parlay into a big Hollywood career, Charles Tingwell was also offered a Hollywood contract that he turned down in favour of going to England where he forged a successful career, returning to Australia for good in the 1970's, he once proudly showed me a ledger listing the profits that King of the Coral Sea made, a film everybody involved with was justly proud, beautifully filmed on Queensland's Thursday Island, and underwater scenes at Green Island off the coast of Cairns. A nice crisp print of this film on DVD is available from Australia's National Film and Sound Archive shop online at http://shop.nfsa.gov.au/

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Release Date:

24 June 1956 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

King of the Coral Sea See more »


Box Office


GBP23,862 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono | Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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