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Beneath the 12-Mile Reef

Beneath the 12-Mile Reef

UPC: 017078982329

Format: DVD

Release Date: Sep 21, 1999

Rating: NR

Regular price $12.95 USD
Regular price Sale price $12.95 USD
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On its surface, Beneath the 12-Mile Reef is a superficial modernization of +Romeo and Juliet, with Robert Wagner and Terry Moore as the star-crossed couple, the son and daughter of rival sponge-fishing families, one of Greek descent and the other English, whose members hate each other with a murderous passion. It was also only the third movie ever shot in CinemaScope, and the first underwater movie shot in the widescreen process, and has a pair of very solid performances at its center -- Gilbert Roland (in the best performance of his career) as Wagner's father and Richard Boone as Moore's father. It also benefits from one of the best scores ever composed by Bernard Herrmann, which utilizes nine harps and a medieval instrument called a serpent. The copyright on Beneath the 12-Mile Reef was accidentally allowed to lapse by Twentieth Century Fox in 1971, and ever since then the film has been shown in faded, grainy prints that also suffer from very bad panning-and-scanning. This DVD, based on the same source as the Lumivision laserdisc of the mid-'90s is, therefore, the first decent presentation that the movie has had in decades. Transferred from a preservation-quality fine grain, it recaptures the full widescreen-aspect ratio of the original in extraordinarily rich color, which makes the effort expended by Edward Cronjager in shooting the underwater sequences worth watching for every frame. This was a very careful transfer, and not just in the visual area; the Bernard Herrmann score has been captured with a great deal of clarity and richness. Sharp-eared viewers will recognize passages that Herrmann later stole from himself for the score of Journey to the Center of the Earth, as well as sections of the score that were tracked into early episodes of such television shows as Lost in Space. The only bonus is the original trailer, which will prove especially gratifying for music buffs -- there is not a single shot from the film, just sketches, storyboards of the action, and Herrmann's music, almost bigger than life, which was deemed sufficient on its own merits to pull audiences into the theaters.
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