Beneath the 12-Mile Reef

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Beneath the 12-Mile Reef
Robert Wagner in Beneath the 12-Mile Reef.jpg
Publicity shot of Robert Wagner for film
Directed by Robert D. Webb
Produced by Robert Bassler
Written by A. I. Bezzerides
Starring Robert Wagner
Terry Moore
Gilbert Roland
Music by Bernard Herrmann
Cinematography Edward Cronjager
Edited by William Reynolds
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release dates
December 2, 1953
Running time
102 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $1.56 million[1]
Box office $3.6 million (US rentals)[2][3]

Beneath the 12-Mile Reef is a 1953 American adventure film directed by Robert D. Webb. The screenplay by A. I. Bezzerides was inspired by Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare.[citation needed] The film was the third motion picture made in CinemaScope, coming after The Robe and How to Marry a Millionaire.


Mike and Tony Petrakis are Greek American father and son sponge diving entrepreneurs who find themselves in competition with the Rhys family, WASP fishermen who are prepared to resort to violence and even murder to maintain their established fishing grounds off the Gulf Coast of Florida. Run-ins between the two clans lead to an exchange of threats and all-out brawls. Further complications ensue when Tony Petrakis meets Gwyneth Rhys, and the two fall in love.


The film was shot on location in Key West and Tarpon Springs, Florida.[4]


Critical reception[edit]

Bosley Crowther of The New York Times observed, "Another and further extension of the range of CinemaScope ... is handsomely manifested in Beneath the 12-Mile Reef ... But that, when you come right down to it, is just about the only novelty provided by this third employment of the anamorphic lens. For the scenes shot above the surface, while large and imposing, are routine, and the drama developed in the screen play is hackneyed and banal. And, unfortunately, most of the picture takes place above, not below, the reef ... There is nothing at all fascinating or edifying here."[4]

Variety said, "[T]he squeeze-lensing gives punch in the display of underwater wonders, the seascapes and the brilliant, beautiful sunrises and sunsets of the Florida Gulf coast. In handling the young cast, Robert D. Webb's direction is less effective, particularly in the case of Robert Wagner and Terry Moore. Both are likable, so the shallowness of their performances is no serious handicap to the entertainment." [5]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Edward Cronjager was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Cinematography, and Robert D. Webb was nominated for the Grand Prize at the 1954 Cannes Film Festival.[6]


  1. ^ Aubrey Solomon, Twentieth Century Fox: A Corporate and Financial History, Scarecrow Press, 1989 p248
  2. ^ Aubrey Solomon, Twentieth Century Fox: A Corporate and Financial History, Scarecrow Press, 1989 p225
  3. ^ 'The Top Box-Office Hits of 1954', Variety Weekly, January 5, 1955
  4. ^ a b Crowther, Bosley (December 17, 1953). "Beneath the 12 Mile Reef". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-04-28. 
  5. ^ Variety review
  6. ^ "Festival de Cannes: Beneath the 12-Mile Reef". Retrieved 2009-01-24. 

External links[edit]