BELOW THE SURFACE (Irvin Willat, USA, 1920, 7)
The 1920s equivalent of what ARGO should have been … a fun adventure story representing well-crafted ommercial programming at its best. It starts with a harrowing submarine rescue, which sets up a caper movie, which becomes a family melodrama. Hobart Bosworth should play the prole patriarch in all the movies for which Emil Jannings would be too aristocratic, and George Webb wears city-slicker makeup to its effete best. Lots of parallels to the classic studio-era woman’s picture only the “woman” is a man (Bosworth’s son and partner in the deep-sea diving business) … he falls foolishly for a trickster woman, his heartsickness becomes both literal sickness and something requiring a daringly masculine physical rescue.
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