Friday, June 17, 2011
(June 1977, U.S.)
By overwhelming coincidence, THE DEEP opened in theaters on this very date in 1977. How's that for life's funny little coincidences?
After the runaway blockbuster success of JAWS in 1975, Hollywood seemed eager to recreate the terror of the deep water as often as possible. With very few exceptions, these films were cinematic duds in every way possible. THE DEEP, however, plays upon the fact that, like JAWS, it's also based on a best selling novel by Peter Benchley and it also stars Robert Shaw (Quint in JAWS). And from what I've read, Jacqueline Bisset's nipples sticking out of her wet t-shirt at the beginning of the film didn't exactly hurt box office receipts, either. The film is primarily a treasure hunt involving the recovery of a number of artifacts, including ampules of amber-colored liquid identified as morphine and a medallion bearing the image of a woman and the letters "S.C.O.P.N.", dated 1714. At the heart of this undersea hunt is Romer Treece (played by Shaw) and Bermuda vacationers David (played by Nick Nolte) and Gail (played by Bisset). The stakes are not only to keep all of the underwater narcotics away from local drug kingpin Cloche (played by Louis Gossett Jr.), but to recover a lost ancient treasure, as well. But don't worry - this is a Peter Benchley story, so there's an ample amount of underwater terror, including the largest and scariest moray eel I've ever seen. I have to say that during the climactic underwater battle, the moment when the eel get's Cloche's head in its huge mouth is quite bone chilling. It's not exactly Bruce, the mechanical shark, but it's still enough to give you the heebee-jeebees!
I have to point out that I consider Robert Shaw one of the finest actors we ever had. It's a shame he died at such a young age of 51 in 1978.
Favorite line or dialogue:
Romer Treece: "Hey, boy, this is "Goliath" trash! What the bastard hell were you doing diving down there?"