Underwater! (1955) Jane Russell, Gilbert Roland, Richard Egan, Lori Nelson - John Sturges Movie Review

Underwater! (1955)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Jane Russell in Underwater! (1955)

Jane Russell's Treasure Chest

Old buddies Dominic Quesada (Gilbert Roland) and Johnny Gray (Richard Egan) believe they are on to something when they find ancient artefacts scattered on the sea bed whilst diving. All they need to do is persuade Johnny's wife Theresa (Jane Russell) to allow him to hock their boat to pay for the treasure hunt although Dominic manages to persuade the attractive Gloria (Lori Nelson) to join them and use her boat. Also along for the expedition is Father Cannon (Robert Keith) who believes there is a much greater treasure to be found in a life size golden Madonna. But between the danger of sharks, the galleon teetering on an under water ridge as well as some locals who are obviously not the fishermen they say they are it is a dangerous adventure.

I'll be honest, the reason I was attracted to watch "Underwater!" was Jane Russell, partly because she is one of my favourite actresses and party because the nature of the movie would mean she would be in swim wear. I would imagine my reasons for watching are the same reasons which have attracted many to watch "Underwater!", both when it was released and now. Beyond Jane Russell in swim wear the rest of the movie is neither here nor there with some nice but not exceptional under water scenes and an ordinary treasure hunting story where danger comes from sharks, thieves and the precariously perched sunken galleon.

Lori Nelson and Gilbert Roland in Underwater! (1955)

In truth if you remove Jane Russell from the equation "Underwater!" is a forgettable movie with an ordinary storyline which lacks depth. Not only that it lacks atmosphere and adventure as we watch some routine drama and danger as they dive for treasure and encounter sharks and a volatile old wreck. About the only thing which stands out is the underwater footage which whilst not great is decent enough to keep those into diving movies interested.

But as I said the reason why I and many have watched "Underwater!" is because it is a Jane Russell movie, the last one she made for Howard Hughes. The thing about Jane Russell is that she oozed personality and was seriously sexy in more ways than one and so even when her character or performance was not great it didn't matter too much. That is the case here because as Theresa Jane Russell not only delivers an inconsistent accent but is saddled with a dull character. Although "Underwater!" does have a certain notoriety about it due to a diving scene where Theresa's swimming costume is accidentally pulled aside to reveal a blink and you miss it moment of topless nudity, whether that is Jane Russell or a stunt double I do not know.

Aside from Jane Russell well to be honest the rest of the casting is forgettable with Richard Egan as Johnny being dull and Gilbert Roland uncharacteristically restrained as Dominic. And as for Lori Nelson who plays Gloria, well she is pretty but does pretty much nothing and seems to have been cast just so that Dominic has a girlfriend in the movie.

What this all boils down to is that "Underwater!" is a forgettable sunken treasure movie from the 1950s which has but one reason to watch and that is Jane Russell.