Tales From Below: Hell and High Water (1954) + Above Us the Waves (1955) + The Frogmen (1951)

July 11, 2017 | By

Twilight Time’s release of Sam Fuller’s somewhat topical / still nutty Cold War thriller Hell and High Water (1954) makes its debut on Blu, with the obligatory and heartily welcomed isolated score track, this time featuring Alfred Newman’s score in vivid stereo.

Hell starred Richard Widmark, but it also marked the first of three attempts by Fox’s bigwig Darryl F. Zanuck to make a star out of mistress Bella Darvi – a beautiful, ‘exotic’ actress whose film career was fleeting, and whose life was exceptional brief.

I’ve paired this submarine drama with two tangentially related WII thrillers: Lloyd Bacon’s The Frogmen (1951), which also starred Widmark; and Ralph Thomas’ Above Us the Waves (1955). Both films involve underwater munitions missions, with Frogmen laying combustibles, and in Above it’s British midget subs leaving charges under the Tirpitz, the Nazi regime’s biggest battleship which lay nestled in a Norwegian fjord.

The Frogmen review applies to the old Fox DVD, which stems from the KQEK.com archives / Told Told You So site that restricted prose to shorter lengths, whereas Above is all-new, covering the VCI DVD, part of the label’s series of British Rank productions, headlined by fine British casts.

I’ve updated the prior Hell review to encompass the Fox DVD and Twilight Time Blu, and coming shortly is a review of Fate of the Furious (2017), the latest entry in Universal’s ridiculously successful franchise.



Mark R. Hasan, Editor

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