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George At 

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The Deep


This summer, on the 40th anniversary of it hitting theatres in 1977, I went back and revisited the underwater thriller THE DEEP.

After Peter Benchley's novel "Jaws" had been adapted into an all-time box office smash by Steven Spielberg, studios were battling to bring his next novel THE DEEP to the screen.

They even brought Robert Shaw (who starred as Quint in Jaws, The Sting) aboard as Romer Treece, a famous treasure hunter in Bermuda who's become a well known expert on the shipwrecks of the area.

When young vacationing couple David (Nick Nolte) and Gail (Jacqueline Bisset) discover a huge stash of morphine ampules aboard a wreck, they go to Reese for help.

They also attract the attention of Haitian bad guy Cloche played by Louis Gossett Jr (An Officer and a Gentleman) who knows the value of the drugs on US streets.

David and Gail suffer threats on their lives and escalating attacks as they continue to dive on the wreck.

With great underwater photography by Al Giddings (Titanic, For Your Eyes Only) and a lush music score by John Barry, The Deep is beautiful to look at and listen to, but those underwater scenes can get a little sleepy after an hour or so.

There are some well executed battles on land, especially between David and Cloche's thug on a beach-side elevator and a violent face off between Slake and Kevin, the massive right hand men protecting Shaw and Gossett.

Director Peter Yates (Bullitt, Breaking Away) keeps things suspenseful but those looking for Spielberg/Jaws type thrills were surely disappointed.

Nolte is very good and Bisset is terrific & stunning, stealing the movie every time she's on screen underwater or on dry land.

Produced by Casablanca Filmworks, they grabbed 1977 superstar Donna Summer for a song you can hear in the island club. Casablanca released one of the coolest albums of the decade with an ocean blue soundtrack, one side of which was a long suite of Barry's music score for the film. Quite a collector's edition back in the day.

With some interesting treasure dive history, plenty of explosive action and a killer moray eel thrown in for good measure, THE DEEP still holds up as solid summer fun and a slower, pure popcorn cousin of JAWS.

We'll splash it a nostalgic B-.

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