Combustible Celluloid
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With: Vincent Price, Tab Hunter, David Tomlinson, Susan Hart, John Le Mesurier, Henry Oscar, Derek Newark, Roy Patrick, Herbert the Rooster
Written by: Charles Bennett, Louis M. Heyward, David Whitaker, based on a poem by Edgar Allan Poe
Directed by: Jacques Tourneur
MPAA Rating: NR
Running Time: 84
Date: 05/26/1965

War-Gods of the Deep (1965)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Dreading Water

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

The great director Jacques Tourneur wound up his career with this, his final film. War-Gods of the Deep contains some striking underwater cinematography, but it's very static and its attempts to mix humor with thrills is a bit awkward (Tourneur had already tried out the combo on his previous film, The Comedy of Terrors). It's based on an Edgar Allan Poe poem, "The City in the Sea," and it was clearly inspired by Roger Corman's Poe films (and also stars Vincent Price). Tab Hunter stars as the hero, Ben Harris, who meets Harold Tufnell-Jones (David Tomlinson, from Mary Poppins) and Jill Tregillis (Susan Hart) at a hotel in Cornwall. Jill disappears -- kidnapped by strange looking sea-men -- and Ben and Harold search for her, Harold carrying his prize chicken the entire time. (The chicken, sadly, is the source of most of the movie's attempts at humor.) They discover a whirlpool that leads to a lost city under the sea. The leader, Sir Hugh (Price), and his men never age so long as they stay in the murky depths. Of course, our heroes must find Jill and escape. Everyone appears to be trying their best, but nothing ever quite comes together in a satisfying way. Kino Lorber released the Blu-ray in 2015, including an interview with Hunter and a trailer.

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