Deep Waters (film)

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Deep Waters
Deep Waters poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Henry King
Produced by Samuel G. Engel
Written by Ruth Moore (novel)
Richard Murphy
Starring Dana Andrews
Jean Peters
Dean Stockwell
Music by Cyril J. Mockridge
Cinematography Joseph LaShelle
Editing by Barbara McLean
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release dates July 22, 1948
Running time 85 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Deep Waters is a 1948 drama film directed by Henry King. The film is based on the 1946 novel Spoonhandle written by Ruth Moore[1] and was nominated for an Academy Award.


Because he has given up his study of architecture to become a fisherman, social workster Ann Freeman breaks her engagement to Hod Stillwell, explaining that she could never bear being constantly concerned about his safety. In this same period, she convinces her friend Mary McKay to take in 14-year-old orphan Donny Mitchell, whose father and uncle died at sea. Longing for the sea, Donny has run away several times. Ann hopes the tough but fair Mary will bring some discipline into his life.

The following day, Donny befriends Hod while hunting. Soon after, Hod is at sea with his partner, Portuguese Joe Sanger, when he notices that Donny has snuck on board to experience sea life. Hod returns him home to Mary and suggests that she let Donny work for him at the dock on Saturdays. This worries Ann, who has recently witnessed her friend Molly Thatcher's loss of her husband to the sea. She threatens to move the boy to an inland family if Hod allows Donny to work for him. Reluctantly, Hod follows Ann's advice and tells Donny he can not work for him any longer.

Upset, Donny steals a camera and sells it to make enough money that he can run away from home, and return to the sea. He steals a boat and puts to sea, but is caught in a storm and has to be rescued by Hod and Joe. Realizing that she can not prohibit Donny from being near the sea, Ann allows him to return to work for Hod.

In a good mood, Donny returns home after a surprise birthday party, when he notices the local sheriff and the druggist from whom he stole the camera from are awaiting him. Ashamed, Donny admits the theft and begs Ann and Mary not to tell Hod he is being sent away to a reform school, fearing Hod will not want to see him anymore.

Hod soon asks Ann about Donny's whereabouts. Ann does not tell him. Hod starts to investigate and finds out that Donny is in a reform school. Not wanting Donny to be in this situation, Hod prompts the state to let him adopt Donny. Donny initially refuses the adoption, ashamed of what he had done. However, when he finds out Hod is not mad at him, he allows himself to be reunited with him and he returns home accompanied by Hod and Ann.



In December 1946, 20th Century Fox bought the rights of the book Spoonhandle by Ruth Moore in order to produce a film adaption.[2] Initially, Louis de Rochemont was assigned to produce and Mark Stevens was set to star.[2]


This film was the first to be broadcast (joined in progress) on Superstation WTCG (now TBS) at 1 p.m. Eastern Time on December 17, 1976, when the station's signal was beamed via the Satcom 1 satellite to all cable providers across the Americas.


  1. ^ The American Film Institute Catalog, Volume 1, Part 1, (1971). p.577
  2. ^ a b "Notes for Deep Waters (1948)". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved 2010-02-13. 

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