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Beneath the 12-Mile Reef

Beneath the 12-Mile Reef(1953)

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  • A CinemaScope Extravaganza About...Sponges?

    • Every Oscar Ever
    • 5/17/14

    The story is straightforward with little surprises, and though the setup is reminiscent of Romeo and Juliet, there is none of the drama, wit, characters, or anything else that made Shakespeare's work and its best adaptations what they were. Instead, we have a flat premise that gives the filmmakers an excuse to set a story on the water. Matters aren't helped by Wagner's performance, as Wagner seems to belong to the school of acting that believes that if one says every line at the upper limit of one's volume, a great performance will result.This decision to set a story on the water was an important one, because Beneath the 12-Mile Reef served as a showcase for the underwater CinemaScope cinematography of Edward Cronjager. None of this cinematography will look particularly impressive no, especially as a visit to any Best Buy comes with a showcase of jaw-dropping underwater cinematography on the newest generation of high-definition televisions. Still, in its time the film's cinematography was revolutionary, and this was the first time many audiences had seen the underwater world in such vivid beauty. But the nomination was clearly for technical achievement more than for any artistry in the cinematography, as the shots on land are generic and without any character or style. This is surprising, given that Cronjager was one of the great cinematographers of his era.Other than those few individuals and those who love underwater photography, I can't imagine many people enjoying this film much more than I did. I guess I shouldn't have expected anything more from a film about sponges.This review was excerpted from my full review of the film at my website, Ever Oscar Ever. The review can be read at http://everyoscarever.blogspot.com/2014/05/beneath-12-mile-reef-1953.html

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