- by ZoŽ
Sturm is in charge of
a submarine, and believes his wife, Pauline, to be having affairs with other
men. He drives her out of the house, and she then spends the night on the
desert with Semper. The submarine is about to sail, and Pauline rushes on to
the ship to warn Semper that her husband will try to kill him. Sturm
deliberately causes a collision, which causes the sub to sink. However,
Semper rescues everyone, but leaves Sturm to perish with the submarine.
- by LeeAnn Neal
In this fourth film for Cary Grant, he plays the role of
Lt. Jacques, based on a submarine base in North Africa.
He gallantly befriends Diana Sturm (Tallulah Bankhead) the
wife of his commander, Admiral Charles Strum (Charles Laughton). When the insanely jealous
Admiral wrongly suspects Lt. Jacques of having an affair with his wife, Jacques
(and sadly) transferred to another base. (This is the last we see of CG.)
In desperation and fear, Diana flees for her life. She
meets and falls instantly in love with Semper (Gary Cooper). Diana, realizing the affair
is hopeless, returns to her husband. To her shock and disbelief, Diana is
"introduced" to Lt. Semper, Grant's replacement.
It doesn't take Charles long to correctly suspect the
affair. Through the authority of his command, he sets out to seal the fate of his wife and
her lover; ruthlessly endangering the lives of his submarine crew......hence the title,
DEVIL AND THE DEEP.
Film Review - August 23, 1932
- by "Rush"
- submitted by Barry Martin
A neatly built up theatrical story with a world of dramatic
tension which loses much of its grip by the lifeless and
superficial playing of the most synthetic of actresses, Tallulah
Bankhead, the weak element in a good story for the first time,
instead of being the strong factor in weak plays, which has been
her experience for the most part lately.
Sums up as a fair commercial
release and ought to get a moderately good play from the femme
fans. Certainly the male side of the cast will attract and
please the women, since the subject marks the return after a
considerable absence of Gary Cooper, looking better than he has in
a long time, and making a stunning figure in the uniform of a
British naval officer. This angle and also the swell menace
as contributed by Charles Laughton are the picture's principal
assets. Indeed Laughton's heavy is really epic. Pa t
is that of a British submarine commander, apparently normal and
popular with his associates, but really a madman, his insanity
being directed toward the delusion that every personable young man
is his wife's lover.
This is the situation which works
to the climax when the mad captain sinks his own submarine with
all on board to destroy the woman and his Lieutenant (Cooper), a
dramatic sequence developed with artful and telling effect despite
its obvious theatre. At least it's theatre in a highly tense
and absorbing form, done with utmost realism in the setting of a
submarine control room and with all the camera tricks to lend it
Much of the suspense hangs upon the
deft playing of Laughton whose acting of the lunatic menace calls
for nice shading. It is such a part as could make an actor's
field day, but Laughton plays it with just the right measure of
artful restraint and equally artful emphasis where the story calls
Scenario has been shrewdly handled
for the strictly British pattern of seeming calm that conceals the
turmoil brewing beneath the surface in this group of outwardly
conventional people in a North African submarine base, a locale,
by the way that is nicely capitalized for the exceptional
atmospheric surroundings. Cooper shows a great improvement
in acting method quite as agreeable as his freshened up
appearance. Here he achieves simple directness that goes
most engagingly with his stalwart masculinity.
Sequences aboard the submarine are
extremely interesting and convincingly done with some smashing
dramatic effects as the insane captain at the periscope
deliberately steers the undersea boat into collision with a
steamship, grippingly brought out by alternate shots of the
officer in his own control room and long shots of the approaching
crash as seen through the periscope. Clash of the crazed
captain, the wife he has lured aboard and the hero is strongly
developed and the detailed views of the escape of the crew through
the manipulation of steel hatchways carries a thrill. Rush
of water into the sub as the mad captain brings about his own
destruction is a pictorial smash.
Happy ending, bringing the lovers
together again, is neatly contrived in an engaging light comedy
finale that is one of the most satisfying episodes of the whole
subject and finds Miss Bankhead at her best, somewhat redeeming a
disappointing earlier performance.
NEW YORK TIMES
Film Review - August 20, 1932
- by Mordaunt
- submitted by Barry Martin
Charles Laughton, the English
actor, whose portrayal in the play "Payment Deferred"
won high praise here and in London, makes his film debut in
"Devil and the Deep," an adaptation of a story by Harry
Hervey, which is now at the Paramount. Notwithstanding the
unimaginative direction of several of the sequences, the hesitant
and often trite dialogue, this melodrama, owing to the excellent
work of Mr. Laughton and Tallulah Bankhead and a most interesting
climatic episode, succeeds in being something out of the ordinary
and a picture that always holds one's attention.
In this narrative of a husband's
jealousy of his wife, Mr. Laughton plays the role of Charles
Sturm, a submarine commander, and Miss Bankhead impersonates his
wife, Pauline. Mr. Laughton's enunciation is very English, and
although the role, perhaps, is not as well suited to his style as
that of the bank clerk in "Payment Deferred," he gives a
clever characterization. Whatever weaknesses there are in his
performance are evidently due to the direction and the lines.
Sturm is quite an ingratiating person in public, but in his home
the sole topic of discussion concerns his wife's affair with one
or another junior officer. Sturm laughs at his own jokes and
forgets that his wife has heard them, not once but several times.
After seeming to be good natured at a party, he returns to his
abode ashore, somewhere off the coast of Northern Africa, and
without a word slaps Pauline's face. Then he informs her that the
young officer, Lieutenant Jaeckel, with whom she is more or less
infatuated, has been transferred from the submarine on the ground
She pleads with her husband to save
the young man's career and Sturm consents to do so if she invites
Jaeckel to come to their home that night and let him listen from
the veranda to decide whether his suspicions are or are not
ill-founded. Pauline calls up Jaeckel and the Lieutenant appears
in the drawing room and nothing untoward happens, but Sturm
believes that his wife has signaled to Jaeckel that he, Sturm, was
on the veranda.
By a coincidence, after a quarrel
with her husband, Pauline accidentally encounters Lieutenant
Sempter, whom she does not know as Jaeckel's successor. It is only
a matter of a few hours before Pauline falls in love with him and
only when he comes to her home does she realize that he is a naval
officer attached to her husband's submarine.
The closing phase of this tale is
aboard the submarine, which the insanely jealous Sturm steers so
that it crashes into an oncoming steamship. Sempter, realizing
what is about to happen, succeeds in partly dodging the big
vessel, but the submersible is badly damaged and slowly descends
to the bottom of the bay. Pauline is among those aboard and how
she and others are saved is pictured in an absorbing fashion, as
is also the mad Sturm's end.
Miss Bankhead is at her best in
this film. Gary Cooper gives a sympathetic and vigorous
interpretation as Lieutenant Sempter. Paul Porcasi is capital as a
loquacious Arab. But Mr. Laughton's forceful and resilient
portrait is the outstanding histrionic contribution.
There are some curious conceptions
of naval procedure and uniforms, but as the country to which the
officers belong is not named, this is not an important point,
except that, because of Mr. Laughton's intensely English delivery,
one is apt to conclude that he is impersonating an officer of the
British Navy, and therefore one wonders at the peculiar uniforms,
as well as at the idea of having a four-striper in command of a
- by Kathy Fox
this is one of Cary's several early films, his fourth, in which
he did not have much of a role. Just think what would have
happened if Cary and Gary had switched roles for THE DEVIL AND THE
DEEP. Cary would make three submarine films in his career,
THE DEVIL AND THE DEEP in 1932, DESTINATION TOKYO in 1943, and
OPERATION PETTICOAT in 1959. Cary plays Lieutenant Jacques
who is a friend of Commander Sturm, played by Charles Laughton in
his first appearance in an American film. Commander Sturm's
wife is quite attractive and he believes his wife, Pauline, played
by Tallulah Bankhead, is having various affairs. She does
finally end up with Lieutenant Semper (Cooper) at the end.
Commander Sturm steers the submarine into another boat and most of
the people get out alive, but Semper goes down with the ship.
Also, Jacques (Grant) is killed early on in the film. We are
glad this film exists, but certainly, we wished that Cary had had
a bigger part in the film. C'est la vie!
- by Nancy Bruce
When I read film reviews, I don't normally want too much of the film's plot disclosed. I want things to be a surprise to me if the writers
and directors have done their jobs well. However - If Cary Grant is going to be taken out of a film early on in the story, I want to be prepared not only for the disappointment, but also to
ensure that I'll not keep hoping he'll return.
Cary is definitely a supporting player in this 4th film to be released in his long career. Yet a after he's gone, the memory of his character stays with the viewer as a testament to the effects of the
Charles Laughton has the title role in this Naval drama, Tallulah Bankhead and Gary Cooper portray the main characters whose lives are entwined and endangered by Laughton's Charles Sturm.
Bankhead plays Diana Sturm, the beautiful but weary wife, heretofore faithful to Sturm. Interaction with Grant's Lt. Jaeckel is used to introduce us to the Sturms, their marital strife and the
potential for doing harm that the Commander holds.
Sturm is a blend of paranoid maniac and cruel overlord to his wife. He causes harm to Jaeckel first, and then questions his wife about their relationship afterwards. The departure of Mrs.
Sturm's would-be hero leaves room for a new assistant, Cooper's Lt. Sempter, to enter their lives. Sempter and Diana meet as strangers and form a relationship prior to their
being introduced by the Commander. It is Sturm's suspicion of this relationship which leads him to strike out against those whom he feels are betraying him, with no regard for anyone who gets harmed
in the process.
If this were a Shakespearean tragedy, surely the only survivor of the tale would be our Lt. Jaeckel. As it stands, although the obligatory repercussions for immoral actions were required, our
protagonists have a much more promising ending to their ordeal.
The film moves with a good pace to keep us interested, but lets us keep our breath. It's disappointing that we never see Grant and Cooper on screen together, but this film is an example of where they
were in their screen careers at the time. Ms. Bankhead commands our attention whenever she's on the screen - with a subtle presence that can't be ignored. Laughton is rather over the top in his portrayal,
yet this ensures that no one in the audience will be fooled by the Commander's facade as his on screen admirers are. Cooper is secure in his role and plays it comfortably. Grant is still a bit
awkward on film, but allows us to see Jaekel's sincerity so that we're sure of his intentions. Although at least one IMDB reviewer asserts that Grant is the only one who steals any attention from Ms.
Bankhead with his screen time.
All in all, it's an interesting film. It's entirely possible that I've only seen a cut version, as IMDB lists a character that I do not detect in the film - a Court Martial Judge.
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