Devil and the Deep

Movie Information

In Brief: A legacy from that brief period when Paramount was determined to make Tallulah Bankhead into a movie star (they gave up after this one), Marion Gering's Devil and the Deep was also meant to introduce the movie world to Charles Laughton. Back in 1932, it wasn't especially effective at either, but today it plays as deliciously overheated — even slightly demented — pop trash. The idea is that Diana Sturm (Bankhead) is unhappily married to the clearly psychotic submarine commander Charles Sturm (Laughton), who is insanely jealous of her for no good reason. Suspecting her involvement with a young officer (Cary Grant, no less), Sturm manages to destroy the innocent young man's career. His jealousies do, however, send Diana running into the streets of the film's North Africa setting and into the arms of yet another navy man, Lt. Sempter (Gary Cooper). Amidst soundstage exotica, they two make chaste love with impossibly awkward dialogue ("You look, to me, very lovely"), while Diana remains loyal to her husband, although, of course, she's really smitten. Unfortunately, it also turns out that Sempter is the replacement for the ruined officer. It only gets worse — and how could it not with a crazed Laughton, a sultry Bankhead, a gorgeous Cooper and a submarine involved? All in that special luster that only classic-era Paramount could provide.
Genre: Exotic Drama
Director: Marion Gering (Thirty Day Princess)
Starring: Tallulah Bankhead, Gary Cooper, Charles Laughton, Cary Grant
Rated: NR

The Asheville Film Society will screen Devil and the Deep Tuesday, Jan. 26, at 8 p.m. in Theater Six at The Carolina Asheville, hosted by Xpress movie critic Ken Hanke.

About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress from December 2000 until his death in June 2016. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

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