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One could consider BENEATH THE 12-MILE REEF ($20) to be the first "unofficial" Fox title on DVD. BENEATH THE 12-MILE REEF is a 20th Century Fox title that has passed into public domain, and comes to DVD via Lumivision. This tale of Greek sponge divers off the coast of Florida was amongst the first film’s to be produced in the CinemaScope process and the first to deploy underwater photography in the groundbreaking wide screen process.

Gilbert Roland and Robert Wagner star in BENEATH THE 12-MILE REEF as father and son Greek sponge divers who have to face racial prejudice and brave the dangers of the 12-mile reef in their chosen profession. The cast of BENEATH THE 12-MILE REEF also features Terri Moore, Richard Boone, Peter Graves and J. Carrol Naish. While the film is a simple melodrama, 20th Century Fox was eager to showoff how well CinemaScope could be applied to any story. The film does have great production values with the underwater photography being a highlight. Another highlight is Bernard Herrmann’s marvelous musical score.

Lumivision presents BENEATH THE 12-MILE REEF in the same fine looking Letterboxed transfer that they previously issued on Laserdisc. The transfer presents the film quite close to its original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.55:1. Image quality is good for a transfer that is several years old and color reproduction is natural looking. MPEG-2 digital compression artifacts were never an issue on this DVD. The Dolby Digital soundtrack is of the two-channel variety and will decode in the Pro-Logic mode. Considering the age of the recording, Bernard Herrmann’s score sounds very good on the track. The DVD’s interactive menus offer the standard scene selection feature and access to a theatrical trailer. BENEATH THE 12-MILE REEF is a fun film, which looks and sounds good on DVD and is priced quite nicely. CinemaScope aficionados will certainly want to add this title to their personal libraries.


Beneath the 12-Mile Reef (1953)


DVD reviews are Copyright 1998 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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