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Hell And High Water

Hell And High Water

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Hell And High Water, A privately-financed scientist and his colleagues hire an ex-Navy officer to conduct an Alaskan submarine expedition in order to prevent a Red Chinese anti-American plot that may lead to World War III. Mixes deviously plotted schoolboy fiction with submarine spectacle and cold war heroics.

STARS: Richard Widmark, Bella Darvi, Victor Francen

103 min | Action, Adventure, Drama | 1954 | Color


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High Water Widmark -- Excellent Cold War Drama

HELL AND HIGH WATER was produced in 1954 when 20th Century-Fox was showing off their spectacular new CinemaScope process and Sterephonic Sound --- and thereby dominating the box office like they wouldn't do again until the Star Wars movies. They made the most of previously seldom filmed Paris, London, Rome, Tokyo location shots -- combined with excellent storytelling. With this movie they hired Samuel Fuller to direct it, one of the few directors with name recognition.

A group of ex-Navy men are hired as mercenaries to take a submarine to an island in the Arctic to allow two scientists to investigate the suspected existence of nuclear weapons there.......

When I saw this film in 1954, it was as movies were made to be shown. It played the 3,450 seat Loew's Capitol Theater which had an atmosphere fit for royalty; plus the widest screen, best stereo, best projection we ever had in Washington, DC. Loew's Capitol --- which lives on only in memory --- makes our present Kennedy Center look like a tar paper shack in comparison. Hell and High Water just came out in DVD but the CinemaScope effect is muted in that format; still we're used to that now.

I rated this film a 10. In 1954 I might have said 8. But that was then and this is now. A few days ago a movie came out called SUPERBAD -- an instantly disposable piece of tripe, but thanks to 2007's low standards SUPERBAD ranks #81 in the all-time great movie list -- the CASABLANCA of the Bevis and Butthead Era. HELL AND HIGH WATER is a much better movie than any 2007 film, so by today's if-it-has-a-pulse-give-it-an-A standards it's gotta rate a 10.

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