A pair of young vacationers are involved in a dangerous conflict with treasure hunters when they discover a way into a deadly wreck in Bermuda waters. Featuring extended underwater sequences and a look into the affairs of treasure hunting. Based on the novel by Peter "Jaws" Benchley.
Originally, Peter Yates didn't think Nick Nolte was right for the film. Neither was Nolte particularly interested in doing in what he perceived as a bland lead part. Nor were Columbia Pictures studio executives interested in Nolte, as they believed he wasn't a big enough star with enough box-office clout to headline an expensive blockbuster movie. Producer Peter Guber wanted Nolte. Guber once said of the tense meeting with all the parties: "I walked into a conference that could not have started on shakier ground if we'd held it on the San Andreas fault. Here was an actor that the studio didn't want, sitting down to discuss a part he'd already rejected, with a filmmaker who'd decided he wasn't right for the role anyway. Nick immediately sensed that Yates wasn't too thrilled with him for the character. But as they talked, Nick became intrigued with the changing character, and with the challenge of working underwater, and Yates became intrigued with Nick. Finally, after two hours, Yates reached across the table to Nick and said, 'You're the man for me,' knocking Nick for a loop." See more »
Right after Gail had the voodoo encounter in her hotel room, we see Sanders (Nick Nolte) sitting and talking with Treece. He is toying with a cigar in his fingers. The cigar is wrapped in its protective plastic/cellophane wrapper. The view goes to a closeup of Sanders running the cigar under his nose to smell it, and we see the cigar is clearly bare - no longer wrapped in its plastic wrapper. Then the camera angle goes back to the long shot, and Sanders is once again toying with the cigar, only now it's in the cellophane wrapper. See more »
The version aired in the original ABC network telecast contained 53 minutes of extra footage that were not shown in the theatrical production. This version was broadcast over two nights in early 1980. The additional material includes:
When the film starts, it begins with a two and a half minutes prologue of the munition ship going down in the storm, whilst a young Adam Coffin is on board. There is also a title card, claiming the film has been "edited for television." In the morning after, a young Romer Treece finds Coffin barely alive, covered by a piece of debris.
The opening scene includes an extra shot of Gail being pulled by an unseen eel.
In addition to the extra shot, this version omits many of the "money shots" of Jacqueline Bisset's t-shirt.
There is added ADR of David asking Gail if she's really alright, once the two are back on the boat.
In the same scene, the shot wherein the two examine the medallion is from a new angle.
When the two get back to the island, Gail goes and takes a quick rinse of the salt water, though her line referencing it, heard in the theatrical cut, is deleted. This scene goes on to show more footage of David and Slake discussing the events of the morning. The scene ends with David and Gail going to the elevator.
A new scene after David and Gail are in the library, where the two go to see the librarian (spoken of in the theatrical version), where the librarian reveals that Treece has been on every Bermuda wreck, that Treece is a very secretive person, and warns the two that people on St. David's Island are not very friendly.
Longer scene of David and Gail's journey to St. David's Island. This includes padded footage of the two on motor-scooters, and David asking Gail if they have the right directions.
When David and Gail arrive at Treece's lighthouse, they search the area, find artifacts from the sea, and ponder whether Treece is even at home, only to be startled by Kevin, threatening the two with a rifle before letting them see Treece.
After the first visit with Treece, there is an extra shot of him in his library.
The Haitian motor chase is much longer, providing a more gritty feel, before the kidnapping. This scene includes different angles, and close ups of David and Gail's feet as they helplessly pedal.
An extra shot of the Haitian car taking David and Gail to Cloche's hideout.
The scene where Cloche searches David and Gail has been highly edited, save for a few new moments at the end when Cloche forces David and Gail back into their blindfolds, and warns them not to go to the authorities, telling them instead to forget the whole thing ever happened.
Extra establishing shots of the scene that introduces Coffin.
In the scene on the water, when Treece and David argue the morphine, the end has included a shot of Gail storming out of the cabin.
The argument between David and Gail in their cabin is longer; They are writing postcards, and start to discuss how stupid 'games' on T.V. are. This leads to the argument that we start the scene with in the theatrical cut.
Whilst diving at night, David and Treece discuss Adam, and why he's not to be trusted, including his 'story' and history, and why Treece doesn't let Adam dive with them. Later, the scene extends even more, showing us Treece's knowledge of the sea, and we learn a little bit about his own history.
A small scene has been added with Gail at the hotel restaurant, alone, whilst David and Treece are diving.
A plethora of extra footage of David and Treece diving has been added, including underwater scenes, and scenes inside the shipwreck.
After Treece and David get done diving, Cloche's men, in a speedboat, taunt the two, by circling them. The line heard in the ship "The biggest moray eel I ever saw" is heard in full form here as well.
Extra footage has been added with the struggle of David and Treece against Cloche's men; David's elevator fight is longer, and a small segment where Treece attacks a man with a sprinkler and hose is added.
Later that night, at Treece's lighthouse, we see David put Gail to bed, but she gets up. This scene also features a longer conversation between David and Treece, where David apologizes to Treece for blaming him in an earlier scene, and admits his own selfishness. The conversation between Treece and Gail has equally been extended, with Gail asking Treece about his wife, Treece becoming gruff on the subject, and Gail apologizing.
The next scene with David and Gail in the bedroom has been dramatically extended, with Gail and David having a full conversation about their trip, Gail confessing that she likes Treece, and finally, the two admitting their love for each other, and the scene ends with a new, longer take of the two kissing.
The next scene at the sporting even features a longer conversation between Treece and Cloche; it's revealed that Cloche's men killed Treece's wife over a mis-communicated ship sinking.
Before the three go down to hunt the treasure, there is extra conversation of David asking Gail if she's okay, Gail explaining why she wants to wear a tank, and Treece laughing with her.
More underwater footage has been added to the next scene.
In the theatrical cut, Gail sends the ampules up alone. This time, she takes them up herself, and whilst she's letting Kevin refill her oxygen tank, there is a small conversation about Treece; he was always like a 'King' of St. David's Island, always having an eye on things (this explains an earlier line: 'I'm all the government you need, boy!) and rumors of Treece being linked as a partner to Cloche.
When Treece is planting the ampules in the lighthouse, extra dialogue of David asking Treece about his past his added.
The second conversation between Cloche and Coffin is much longer, with Cloche tricking Coffin into trusting him and telling him about Treece's secrecy.
Extended dinner scene between Gail, David, and Treece, where new information of the treasure is revealed.
When Coffin arrives at St. David's, there is an extended greeting; Treece tells Coffin he has rum waiting for him, and David suggests a whole other 3 lock box that may exist. Later, in the scene, an extra conversation revealing how exhausted David and Gail are, takes place.
Upon leaving to blow up the Goliath, David and Treece exchange heated words, and Treece's character development comes full circle, revealing he was never in cahoots with Cloche.
Before the final dive, Treece teaches Gail how to use Kevin's rifle, for protection. Then, Gail takes care of the diving equipment.
In spite of its many shortcomings (lazy direction, over-the-top acting, gratuitous violence, to name a few), you really HAVE to love this movie! Two years removed from the sensational release of JAWS, THE DEEP in many ways had some very big shoes to fill. For me, THE DEEP is JAWS-lite -- a kind of melodramatic, soap-opery version of JAWS. For all its flaws, allow me to wax poetic about the many virtues of this sublime cinematic guilty pleasure:
1) That amazing opening aerial montage of Bermuda - maybe the greatest opening establishing shot in the history of cinema. All the Bermuda based location work in this movie is top notch, adding a rich and handsome texture to the otherwise middling narrative.
2) Robert Shaw. While his performance is slightly overbaked (while also channeling and lazily riffing on Quint), his performance still manages to be larger than life - the delightful glue that keeps this movie together. What an amazing run he had over the last five years of his life, highlighted by THE STING in '73, THE TAKING OF PELHAM 1-2-3 in '74, JAWS in '75, BLACK Sunday in '76 and THE DEEP in '77. Amazing.
3) A 32 year old Jacqueline Bisset. As a 13 year old boy, I can assure you that she made a pretty indelible impression on me.
4) The great supporting turns from Eli Wallach and Lou Gossett, Jr.
I could go on but suffice it to say that watching this movie from time to time is sorta like taking a warm bath in the dead of winter. It's one of those movies that somehow never gets stale and always manages to entertain despite its shortcomings.
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