Directed By: Marion Gering
Starring: Tallulah Bankhead, Cary Grant, Charles Laughton, Gary Cooper
Disclaimer: Kino Studio Classics has provided me with a copy of this film free of charge for the purposes of review. All opinions contained within are my own honest reflections.
Kino Studio Classics is showcasing two Hollywood Pre-Code films which also happen to feature a young Cary Grant. Devil in the Deep (1932) tells the story of a Naval Commander named Charles Sturm (Charles Laughton) who is insanely jealous of his wife Diana (seeing Lt. Jaeckel (Cary Grant). After discovering this love affair he ruins Jaeckel's career. Meanwhile, he drives her into the arms Lt. Sempter (Gary Cooper). Charles soon seeks revenge in this spicy drama.
I haven't actually heard of this movie prior to this KL release and I have to say its a nice little gem of a movie. Screenwriter Benn W. Levy who also wrote the fantastic Universal horror film The Old Dark House (1932) which also stars Laughton crafts a a nice and at times very bleak romance. Despite a paper thin premise the movie has engaging plot elements that keeps the movie clipping along nicely. It also helps that the movie is a lean, mean 76 minutes. While the movie is a fairly standard love-triangle Levy adds a depth that can be seen in his other works. Though, I can admit that the film does suffer from plot holes and could have used a re-write.
What truly makes this movie dazzle is of course the actors. Cary Grant has a small but impactful role. Though not totally in his element yet, Grant is still handsome and charming. Tallulah Bankhead of course commands the screen and is beautiful and has talent. Its a shame she didn't have a bigger career. Gary Cooper is the main love interest and while its not Cooper's best work he is dashing, handsome and does a solid job. However, Charles Laughton camps it up and he makes a wonderful ham dinner out of his performance. With his impish smile and over-the-top acting you cannot help but be enthralled.
Devil and the Deep is not the best movie but I thought it was interesting enough to keep me glued and of course the actors truly are the glue that hold this movie together.
Picture: Devil and the Deep is almost one-hundred years old. I stress this because the movie isn't going to look completely pristine. The movie does have some noise and artifacts. Some of it can be a bit heavy at times. However, you can tell that the movie has been given some cleaning and and brightening up. Its a pity this didn't get a 2k scan but I think this might have to do with the original film elements or maybe lack thereof.
Sound: Devil and the Deep has a robust and clean DTS 2.0 track. Very little unwanted background noise and no audio drop outs. Dialogue comes through clearly.
Extras: Devil and the Deep has a wonderful commentary by historian David Del Valle. Valle as always does a wonderful job at providing a well researched and wholly engaging track. David always comes to these tracks with a lot of great stories including personal stories from his years of interviewing classic stars. He truly knows of what he speaks and its a treat to have him share his wealth of knowledge with fans and scholars alike.