Deep Waters


1h 25m 1948

Film Details

Also Known As
Deep Water, Fisherman Takes a Wife
Release Date
Jul 22, 1948
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Distribution Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States
Location
Rockland, Maine, United States; Vinalhaven Island, Maine, United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Spoonhandle by Ruth Moore (New York, 1946).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 25m
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
7,900ft (10 reels)

Synopsis

In Maine, welfare worker Ann Freeman breaks her engagement to lobster fisherman Hod Stillwell when he refuses to give up his seagoing profession. She then delivers fourteen-year-old orphan Donny Mitchell to his new foster mother, the stern but kindhearted Mary McKay. Donny's father and uncle were both lost at sea, and since then, he has lived as a ward of the state, but longing for the sea, has run away three times. In the morning, Ann offers a ride to her neighbor, Molly Thatcher, whose fisherman husband has yet to return from a stormy night at sea. Ann tries to lift her spirits by pointing out that Mr. Thatcher is an experienced waterman and has probably taken shelter somewhere from the storm. Later Hod and his Portuguese partner, Joe Sangor, a farmer at heart, encounter Ann, and Hod persuades her to have dinner with him. At the restaurant, Hod proposes again and even agrees to take a job in Bangor. Although touched by his offer, Ann admits that it was unfair of her to ask him to leave the job he loves, but adds that she could not be happy, wondering if he would come home from the sea. The following day, Hod watches Donny trying to shoot a duck with a rifle that is too large for him. Hod, who knew Donny's father and uncle, befriends the boy and offers him two ducks to take home so that Mary will not be angry with him for neglecting his chores. At sea one day, Hod and Joe spot a drifting skiff and retrieve it. Inside, they find Donny hiding among some lobster barrels. Hod returns Donny to Mary, and explains that the boy feared her anger after he broke a saw. Hod then suggests that he hire Donny to work on the boat on Saturdays. After the first Saturday, however, Ann, who has just watched Thatcher's funeral, scolds Hod for taking Donny to sea and threatens to move the boy to an inland family if Hod insists on sailing with him. Hod is forced to coldly turn Donny away the next time he appears at the boat. A desperate Donny then steals a camera from a drugstore and pawns it to get enough money to run away. When he is unable to get enough money, he steals a boat and puts to sea as a storm is blowing up. By chance, Hod and Joe see Donny leaving and just manage to save him after his boat capsizes. Meanwhile, Mary and Ann have been arranging a surprise birthday party for Donny. Hod again brings Donny home and tells Ann what has transpired. Realizing that she cannot keep the boy from something that he loves, Ann arranges with the state for Donny to work with Hod. After delivering the good news to Hod, Donny returns home to find the sheriff and the druggist waiting. Donny admits that he stole the camera and begs Mary and Ann to keep his crime a secret from Hod. When Donny does not appear on his next scheduled day with Hod, Hod goes looking for him and learns that Mary has moved to Portland. Ann, keeping her promise to Donny, refuses to tell Hod where he is now living. When Donny sends Hod a letter, saying that the state has sent him to live on a farm, Hod suspects that he is not telling the truth, and with the aid of judge Josh Hovey, learns that Donny is in reform school. He then asks to adopt the boy. During a hearing, Hod lists his reasons for wanting to adopt Donny. Mary testifies that adoption would be the best thing for Donny, and Ann also weighs in on Hod's side. To Hod's astonishment, however, Donny does not want Hod to adopt him. Mary demands that he explain his reasons, and he admits that he feels bad about stealing and about his stay in reform school. When Hod tells him that he knows all about the boy's crimes, Donny happily agrees to the adoption, and he, Hod and Ann all return home in Hod's boat.

Film Details

Also Known As
Deep Water, Fisherman Takes a Wife
Release Date
Jul 22, 1948
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Distribution Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States
Location
Rockland, Maine, United States; Vinalhaven Island, Maine, United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Spoonhandle by Ruth Moore (New York, 1946).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 25m
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
7,900ft (10 reels)

Award Nominations

Best Special Effects

1949

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

This film's working titles were Fisherman Takes a Wife and Deep Water. The following statement appears after the opening credits: "All the out-door scenes in this motion picture were photographed in the State of Maine, in the locale associated with the story." Studio production notes pinpoint the locations as the island of Vinalhaven on Penobscot Bay and the nearby city of Rockland. Twentieth-Century Fox purchased Ruth Moore's novel in late December 1946, according to an Hollywood Reporter news item. At that time, Louis de Rochemont was to produce and Mark Stevens was announced as the probable star. The same item noted that Rochemont intended to produce the picture in the original Massachusetts setting of the novel. The Daily Variety review notes that the release print was in sepia. Deep Waters received an Academy Award nomination for Best Special Effects. Dana Andrews, Jean Peters and Dean Stockwell appeared in a Screen Guild Players radio presentation of the story on February 17, 1949. On September 12, 1949, Dana Andrews, Donna Reed and Jeffrey Silver starred in a Lux Radio Theatre broadcast of the story.