Beneath the 12-Mile Reef (1953)

101-102 mins | Drama | December 1953

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HISTORY

The working title of this film was 12 Mile Reef . Within the film, the Greek American fishermen refer to their rivals as "English," even though they are American. A 7 May 1953 HR news item includes Betty Madigan in the cast, but her appearance in the completed picture has not been confirmed. Puppeteer Jack Shafton created miniature diving figures that were used in underwater sequences in the film. According to studio production records in the AMPAS Library file on the film, while filming at Tarpon Springs, FL, Robert Wagner "nearly drowned" when he was accidentally kicked in the stomach by another swimmer. According to the HR review, the film was shot entirely on location at Tarpon Springs and Key West, FL, but a 26 May 1953 HR news item noted that the "final underwater scenes" were shot at Nassau in the Bahamas. Underwater scenes were shot with the use of a specially designed French underwater camera called the Aquaflex. Cameraman Edward Cronjager was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Cinematography (Color) for the ... More Less

The working title of this film was 12 Mile Reef . Within the film, the Greek American fishermen refer to their rivals as "English," even though they are American. A 7 May 1953 HR news item includes Betty Madigan in the cast, but her appearance in the completed picture has not been confirmed. Puppeteer Jack Shafton created miniature diving figures that were used in underwater sequences in the film. According to studio production records in the AMPAS Library file on the film, while filming at Tarpon Springs, FL, Robert Wagner "nearly drowned" when he was accidentally kicked in the stomach by another swimmer. According to the HR review, the film was shot entirely on location at Tarpon Springs and Key West, FL, but a 26 May 1953 HR news item noted that the "final underwater scenes" were shot at Nassau in the Bahamas. Underwater scenes were shot with the use of a specially designed French underwater camera called the Aquaflex. Cameraman Edward Cronjager was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Cinematography (Color) for the film. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
19 Dec 1953.
---
Daily Variety
16 Dec 53
p. 3.
Film Daily
16 Dec 53
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Mar 1953
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Mar 1953
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Apr 1953
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Apr 1953
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
7 May 1953
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
26 May 1953
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Sep 1953
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Dec 1953
p. 1, 3.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Dec 53
pp. 2-3.
Los Angeles Daily News
9 Feb 1954.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
19 Dec 53
p. 2109.
New York Times
20 Dec 53
p. 52.
Variety
16 Dec 53
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Key grip
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
Ward dir
Cost des
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog eff
Miniatures
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit mgr
Casting dir
COLOR PERSONNEL
Technicolor col consultant
SOURCES
SONGS
"Yiati Yiati," music and lyrics by James Harakas and Andrew Ladas.
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
12 Mile Reef
Release Date:
December 1953
Premiere Information:
World premiere in New York: 16 December 1953
Los Angeles opening: 25 December 1953
Production Date:
6 April--late May 1953
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Copyright Date:
17 December 1953
Copyright Number:
LP3394
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Color
Technicolor
Widescreen/ratio
CinemaScope
Duration(in mins):
101-102
Length(in feet):
9,145
Length(in reels):
12
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
16484
SYNOPSIS

Following another disappointing fishing expedition off the Florida coast, Greek-American sponge fisherman Mike Petrakis, his son Tony and the rest of the crew on board the Aegli return home to Tarpon Springs, where they are greeted by Mama Petrakis and Tony's sister Penny. Also waiting for them at the dock is money-lender Demetrios Sofotes, who is eager to get a payment toward the money that he invested in the Aegli . Mike and his crew are further disappointed when they learn that another boat, the Helios , is bringing in a profitable catch after sponge-fishing the dangerous Twelve Mile Reef. At a Greek Orthodox Church Epiphany festival held on boats anchored at Tarpon Springs, Tony receives a special blessing for himself and his family after winning an underwater diving contest. Tony uses the victory to extract a promise from his father to let him dive on the next expedition. Believing that the waters around Tarpon Springs are no longer good for sponge fishing, Mike decides to break with tradition and take his boat out to Key West, a region unofficially designated off-limits to Greeks. In the Keys, as the Aegli crew brings in a great catch of sponges, two American sponge fishermen, Arnold Dix and Griff Rhys, approach in their small boat, grab Mike's air line and threaten to cut off his air unless the Greeks give them their sponge catch. Tony and the others comply with the demand, but later seek out the ... +


Following another disappointing fishing expedition off the Florida coast, Greek-American sponge fisherman Mike Petrakis, his son Tony and the rest of the crew on board the Aegli return home to Tarpon Springs, where they are greeted by Mama Petrakis and Tony's sister Penny. Also waiting for them at the dock is money-lender Demetrios Sofotes, who is eager to get a payment toward the money that he invested in the Aegli . Mike and his crew are further disappointed when they learn that another boat, the Helios , is bringing in a profitable catch after sponge-fishing the dangerous Twelve Mile Reef. At a Greek Orthodox Church Epiphany festival held on boats anchored at Tarpon Springs, Tony receives a special blessing for himself and his family after winning an underwater diving contest. Tony uses the victory to extract a promise from his father to let him dive on the next expedition. Believing that the waters around Tarpon Springs are no longer good for sponge fishing, Mike decides to break with tradition and take his boat out to Key West, a region unofficially designated off-limits to Greeks. In the Keys, as the Aegli crew brings in a great catch of sponges, two American sponge fishermen, Arnold Dix and Griff Rhys, approach in their small boat, grab Mike's air line and threaten to cut off his air unless the Greeks give them their sponge catch. Tony and the others comply with the demand, but later seek out the thieves at Key West. There, Mike and the rest of the Aegli crew go to a café and make believe that they are joining in the celebration of the day's great catch. Meanwhile, Tony falls in love with Gwyneth Rhys, Arnold's sweetheart, and shares a dance with her. Arnold becomes jealous, and during an ensuing brawl, Tony and Gwyneth sneak off to a nearby park, where they kiss. The Aegli crew eventually gets its revenge when Mike subdues Arnold and forces him to eat a cigar. For the next expedition, Mike takes the Aegli to the Twelve Mile Reef, but tragedy strikes during a dive when Mike slips on the reef, loses compression and is propelled to the water's surface too fast. Mike gets the bends from coming up too fast, and later dies. While Tony wanders off to mourn, Arnold and Griff loot the Aegli , and another group of American fishermen scuffles with Tony's uncle Socrates "Soak" Houlis, and set the boat ablaze, nearly destroying it. Gwyneth then takes Tony to see her father, Thomas, a fair man who orders Arnold and his gang to pay Tony for the stolen sponges. Furious at Thomas' order, Arnold goes after Tony and gives him a beating. The injured Tony makes his way back to the dock, where he and Gwyneth steal a boat, the Conch , and head out to sea. Gwyneth, more in love with Tony than ever, gets an idea to turn the Conch into a deep sea diving boat, and they begin sponge fishing at the Twelve Mile Reef. Arnold and his compatriots eventually find Tony and Gwyneth and engage them in a bruising fistfight. The struggle forces Tony and Arnold into the water, and when Arnold becomes entangled in kelp, Tony rescues him. Arnold is grateful to Tony for saving his life and the two adversaries make amends. Gwyneth decides to marry Tony, and her family and Tony's join together to arrange a festive wedding. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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