Underwater! is a 1955 adventure film directed by John Sturges and starring Jane Russell and Richard Egan.

Directed byJohn Sturges
Produced byHarry Tatelman
Howard Hughes (executive producer)
Written byRobert B. Bailey and Hugh King (story)
StarringJane Russell
Richard Egan
Music byRoy Webb
CinematographyHarry J. Wild
Edited byStuart Gilmore
Distributed byRKO Radio Pictures
Release date
  • February 9, 1955 (1955-02-09) (US)[1]
Running time
99 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$2 million[2]
Box office$2.2 million (US rentals)[3]

Plot synopsis

Johnny (Richard Egan) and his wife Theresa (Jane Russell), along with mercenary Dominic Quesada (Gilbert Roland), priest Father Cannon (Robert Keith) and Gloria (Lori Nelson), the boat owner, search for sunken treasure in the Caribbean. While on a dive they come across a wreck that they assume holds treasure. When they resurface they are confronted by a local boat of shark hunters with an unhealthy curiosity in their activities. In their effort to find funding to raise the wreck they discover that what they are looking for is a 17th-century ship that contains a life-size solid gold Madonna encrusted in precious gems and that it lies in a different underwater location. So they make plans to acquire it. However, it's on the edge of a precipice in shark-infested waters, and they are not the only ones after it.



Partially filmed on location in Mexico and Hawaii, Underwater! was completed in a newly constructed underwater tank in an RKO Radio Pictures soundstage. It was the first RKO film released in Superscope.[4]

Lori Nelson claimed Howard Hughes wanted her for the lead and paid Universal Pictures for her use; however, Jane Russell owed RKO a film. The lead was given to Russell with a part written for Nelson so she could keep her fee.[5]


The film contained the songs "Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White" and "Rhythm Sticks" performed by Perez "Prez" Prado and his Orchestra ("The King of the Mambo").


For its world premiere, on January 10, 1955,[6] the film was projected on a submerged movie screen at Silver Springs, Florida, and the invited guests were encouraged to don aqualungs and bathing suits so that they could watch the picture while swimming.

The song "Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White" featured in the film became a major hit.

See also


  1. "Underwater!: Detail View". American Film Institute. Retrieved June 2, 2014.
  2. Glenn Lovell, Escape Artist: The Life and Films of John Sturges, University of Wisconsin Press, 2008 p117-124
  3. 'The Top Box-Office Hits of 1955', Variety Weekly, January 25, 1956
  4. "Widescreen Museum - CinemaScope Derivatives - Superscope 2". www.widescreenmuseum.com.
  5. Fitzgerald, Michael Lori Nelson Interview Western Clippings
  6. Special, "World Premiere of 'Underwater' Motion Picture To Be Shown At Silver Springs', Playground News, Fort Walton Beach, Florida, December 30, 1954, Volume 9, Number 48, page 3.
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