Fire Down Below (1957 film)
|Fire Down Below|
US cinema release poster
|Directed by||Robert Parrish|
|Produced by||Albert R. Broccoli
|Screenplay by||Irwin Shaw|
|Based on||Fire Down Below
by Max Catto (as Simon Kent)
|Music by||Arthur Benjamin
|Edited by||Jack Slade|
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
|Box office||$2,050,000 (US only)|
Fire Down Below is a 1957 British-American adventure drama film with a screenplay written by novelist Irwin Shaw, starring Rita Hayworth, Robert Mitchum and Jack Lemmon, and directed by Robert Parrish. Based on Max Catto's 1954 novel with the same title, the picture was made by Warwick Films on location in Trinidad and Tobago, in Technicolor and CinemaScope, and released by Columbia Pictures.
After the Korean War, Americans Tony (Lemmon) and Felix (Mitchum) own a tramp boat, the Ruby, which they use for small-scale smuggling around the Caribbean, along with a third crewman, Jimmy Jean (Edric Connor). One day, their bartender contact, Miguel (Anthony Newley), introduces them to an American businessman who has been enjoying the company of beautiful but passport-less European goddess Irena (Hayworth). He has to return to Detroit, but wants to arrange for her to get to another island. They are reluctant, but $1,200 proves very tempting.
On the voyage, Tony starts falling in love with her. Knowing the kind of woman she is, Felix does his best to protect his partner by warning Irena to stay away from Tony. However, Felix starts falling for her himself. When she disembarks, Tony goes with her, ending his partnership with Felix.
Tony and Jimmy Jean take on a shady job, but are intercepted by the authorities. They have to abandon ship and swim to a nearby island to avoid arrest. Tony takes a job on a cargo ship to get back to Irena. He also plans to kill Felix, correctly suspecting that his former partner tipped off the customs agents to get rid of the competition for Irena. However, while Tony is away, she goes to Felix and confesses she loves him.
After a collision, Tony is trapped below deck under a girder with time running out; the ship is aflame and carrying a highly explosive cargo. Doctor Sam Blake (Bernard Lee) offers the only way out, by amputating Tony's trapped legs, but he would rather die. Felix goes aboard and stays with him. An explosion frees Tony from the wreckage, and Felix carries him to safety.
- Rita Hayworth as Irena
- Robert Mitchum as Felix
- Jack Lemmon as Tony
- Herbert Lom as Harbour Master
- Bonar Colleano as Lt. Sellars
- Bernard Lee as Dr. Sam Blake
- Peter Illing as Captain of the Ulysses
- Edric Connor as Jimmy Jean
- Anthony Newley as Miguel
- Eric Pohlmann as Hotel Owner
- Lionel Murton as American
- Murray Kash as Bartender
- Albert R. Broccoli as Drug smuggler
- Joan Miller as Mrs Canaday
- Barbara Lane as Dancer
- Gina Chare as Dancer
- Shirley Rus as Dancer
The film was Rita Hayworth's return to motion pictures after a four year absence. The producer and part owner of the production company Warwick Films, Albert R. Broccoli, later to become famous as the producer of the first 16 Eon made James Bond films, makes a cameo appearance in the film as a drug smuggler.
The film had a gala premiere in the attendance of Princess Alexandra of Kent at the Odeon Marble Arch in London on 30 May 1957, and went on general release in Britain the next day. It premiered in the USA two months later, on 8 August 1957.
- The theme song, "Fire Down Below", was written by Ned Washington and Lester Lee, and sung by Jeri Southern.
- All harmonica themes in this film were composed and played by Jack Lemmon.
- The film's soundtrack score was conducted by Muir Mathieson with the Sinfonia of London.
- The Times, 30 May 1957, page 11, To-day's Arrangements: "Princess Alexandra attends ... the première of the film Fire Down Below in aid of the Greater London Fund for the Blind, Odeon Theatre, Marble Arch." - retrieved from The Times Digital Archive on 2014-06-06
- IMDb: Fire Down Below Release Info. Linked 2014-06-06
- "Top Grosses of 1957", Variety, 8 January 1958: 30