Hell and High Water

Overview

Hell and High Water brings an intriguing Cold War slant to a standard submarine melodrama. Richard Widmark plays a soldier-of-fortune sub commander who agrees to sell his services to noted atomic scientist Victor Francen and his assistant and daughter Bella Darvi. Francen intends to prove that the Communists intend to launch a nuclear attack on Korea from an Arctic island, then blame the attack on the United States. Widmark frankly doesn't give a fig about politics, but he is won over by the sincerity of Francen ...
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Overview

Hell and High Water brings an intriguing Cold War slant to a standard submarine melodrama. Richard Widmark plays a soldier-of-fortune sub commander who agrees to sell his services to noted atomic scientist Victor Francen and his assistant and daughter Bella Darvi. Francen intends to prove that the Communists intend to launch a nuclear attack on Korea from an Arctic island, then blame the attack on the United States. Widmark frankly doesn't give a fig about politics, but he is won over by the sincerity of Francen and his idealistic cohorts, and by the beauty of Ms. Darvi. Before the Reds' evil intentions can be thwarted, however, Widmark must face down a Communist Chinese submarine loaded with highly volatile atomic weaponry. The special effects are very impressive, especially for a mid-1950s 20th Century-Fox production.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
A big rowdy comic book movie, Hell and High Water is far from great cinema, but it does pack a punch that devotees of Cold War flicks and/or director Samuel Fuller will certainly appreciate. As the director himself admitted, Hell is not one of Fuller's greatest movies, but it still has his two-fisted signature on every frame. Fuller knows how to make action, and how to frame conflicts the way he wants them, and Hell benefits from that expertise; the script is often ridiculous, but Fuller ignores that and pretends it all makes sense, and if anybody starts to complain, an entirely appropriate yet stunning tracking shot or deliciously powerful rapid-fire edit sequence will appear to reel them back in. Although the special effects work is sometimes primitive by today's standards, Fuller still makes great use of submarine models to create a gripping chase between two subs. The director is helped in his efforts by star Richard Widmark, whose ability to credibly project both cynicism and heroism is crucial to Hell's success. Widmark carries a great deal of the film, especially since leading lady Bella Darvi adds little to the proceedings beyond a pretty face. Fortunately, David Wayne, Cameron Mitchell and the rest of the supporting cast make up for Darvi's deficiencies. Hell's screenplay is too full of holes and too weak on characterization and dialogue for the film to rise above average, but Fuller and company make it a good "Saturday afternoon" pic.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 5/22/2007
  • UPC: 024543436621
  • Original Release: 1954
  • Rating:

  • Source: 20th Century Fox
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Richard Widmark Adam Jones
Bella Darvi Denise
Victor Francen Prof. Montel
Cameron Mitchell "Ski" Brodski
Gene Evans Chief Holter
David Wayne Dugboat Walker
Stephen Bekassy Neuman
Richard Loo Fujimori
Henry Kulky Gunner McCrossin
Artarne Wong Chin Lee
Harry Carter Quartermaster
Robert Adler Welles
Don Orlando Carpino
Rollin Moriyama Joto
William Yip Ho-Sin
Tommy Walker Crew Member
Leslie E. Bradley Mr. Aylesworth
John Wengraf Col. Schuman
Harry Denny McAuliff
Edo Mita Taxi Driver
Robert B. Williams Reporter
Harlan Warde Photographer
Neyle Morrow
Technical Credits
Samuel Fuller Director, Screenwriter
James B. Clark Editor
Leland Fuller Art Director
David Hempstead Original Story
Ray Kellogg Special Effects
Raymond A. Klune Producer
Jesse Lasky Jr. Screenwriter
Charles LeMaire Costumes/Costume Designer
Joe MacDonald Cinematographer
Alfred Newman Score Composer
Edward B. Powell Musical Direction/Supervision
Stuart A. Reiss Art Director, Set Decoration/Design
Walter Scott Art Director, Set Decoration/Design
William Travilla Costumes/Costume Designer
Lyle Wheeler Art Director
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