In 1883, ship captain Hanson plans a shipwreck salvage mission in The Dutch East Indies to retrieve a cargo of pearls but an unexpected volcano eruption and a state-ordered transport of convicts upset his plans.
The Dutch East Indies, in the late 19th century. Capt. Hanson of the "Batavia Queen" is preparing to embark on a salvage expedition. His mistress, Laura, knows the location of a ship belonging to her late husband, a shipwreck concealing a cargo of rare pearls. A diver and a diving bell are aboard ship. But a government agent coerces Hanson into accepting a shipment of convicts for the ship's hold. The wreck lies dangerously close to the erupting volcano on the island of Krakatoa, where Laura's young son attends the convent school...Written by
To get Cinerama to back this project, the producers had desperately tried to get Kirk Douglas as the lead. See more »
When the diving bell operator asks to be turned to port, the view moves to the right, which is starboard. See more »
I can get down there and I can get back up again, now what happens after that's up to me.
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This film was shot using Super Panavision 70 and Todd-AO formats for presentation in single-strip Cinerama. The opening title sequence has the image devided into three frames just like the original three-strip Cinerama. See more »
Originally premiered in Cinerama format at 136 minutes. After tepid reactions, film was cut to 101 minutes and re-released. See more »
Waited years to see this, and could've kept waiting but for the suspense of waiting
I have been waiting since 1969 to see this, since it wasn't available on tape, and finally saw it on DVD on widescreen TV, home theater sound, etc, to get as close to the movie theater experience as possible. Too bad, because while the spectacle of all the adventure and effects are grand, the acting, dialog and direction borders on insipid. The director, Kowalski, was interesting with his two 50's sci-fi horror flicks, he was and has been basically a TV director and it shows here. He never really uses the big screen, not to mention Cinerama, to it's potential. He doesn't use the great (like Sal Mineo) and good (like Brian Keith) actors to their full potential. The effects are nice enough, but the same shots are used too often. Where there should be build up of suspense, there's only tedium and passing the time, much like typical 70s network TV fare. The writing is uninspired and much of the dialog is weak. There's plenty of dramatic plot elements to bring together and hit us in the gut, such as the woefully unexplored relationship of Mineo and Jacquie Chan, and this would have been great with a director the caliber of David Lean or Robert Wise. The first 15 minutes are very good and made me think it would be as good as, say, The Sand Pebbles, but alas, no. In the hands of an inspired talent, I dare say it could have had several academy award nominations, including Brian Keith for supporting actor, and it could have run nearly 3 hours and still have been engrossing. Well, MGM wasn't up to snuff in 1968-69, and so this is what we got. Normally, I'd give a 6 to a film like this, but it gets 4 because of all of the wasted potential. Could be a good remake though!
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