Sam Fuller (director)
07 December 2020 (released)
18 December 2020
Richard Widmark features as a former U.S. Navy submarine commander in this complex Cold War action drama from 1954.
When submarine commander Adam Jones (R. Widmark) travels to Tokyo after receiving a strange package containing a $5,000 he is wondering what this is all about. The mystery becomes clearer when Jones meets Professor Montel (Victor Francen) an acclaimed French scientist believed to have defected to the Iron Curtain some years earlier and presumed missing. Montel and his fellow scientists suspect the Communist Chinese are building a secret atomic base on an island north of Japan (sure it’s not North Korea…? How history seems to repeat itself…). In order to obtain proof, Montel offers Jones another $45,000 (on top of the 5,000 already received) to follow a Communist Chinese freighter, the Kiang Ching, in an overhauled submarine. Montel and his colleagues are aware that the Kiang Ching has been acting in a suspicious manner, that is to say the freighter has been making deliveries to said island. Jones reluctantly agrees to follow the freighter, provided his old submarine is sufficiently armed and he can take some of his former navy mates along on this journey into unchartered waters.
Unfortunately Jones and his crew are informed that the Kiang Ching has already embarked on its journey and Montel insists that Jones follow the freighter straight away, however, the commander isn’t happy seeing how he feels his submarine may not be up to scratch what with torpedo tubes remaining untested. To complicate things further, Professor Montel insists that his very attractive female colleague – Professor Denise Gerard (Bella Darvi) - will accompany them but is disguising the fact that Denise is in fact his daughter! Although some of the crewmen are initially put off by the idea of Professor Denise coming along, as they believe a woman on board spells bad luck, others are only too pleased – including Commander Jones. It would appear the more superstitious crewmen have a point after all when they are detected by a Red Chinese submarine… but this is only the beginning of a very tense adventure which holds more surprises in store then the submarine’s chemical oxygen generator releases, well, oxygen. And then there is the discovery of a second island and a mighty mean plan to make it look as if a possible nuclear attack might be down to the Yanks…
The climax is a real nail-biter thanks to the considerable acting talents of main man Widmark and the directing skills of Sam Fuller – explosively captured by cinematographer Joseph MacDonald.
HELL AND HIGH WATER is presented on Blu-ray from a 4K restoration and the release will be limited to 1000 copies only. Bonus material includes audio commentary, trailer, collector’s booklet and the 45min docu ‘Richard Widmark: Strength of Characters’.