Howard Huges and RKO Radio Pictures poured £3 million into this adventure story – made mainly as a vehicle for Jane Russell – and it shows, particularly in the technical excellence of the underwater scenes.
The story (although Russell fans needed nothing more than the sight of their 38-24-36 idol in a tight swimsuit) concerns the efforts of two friends, Dominic Quesada (Gilbert Roland) and Johnny Gray (Richard Egan), to salvage treasure from a sunken 17th-century galleon off the Cuban coast (although the film was actually shot off the coast of Hawaii).
From the start, the expedition is dogged by misfortune. The partners use explosives to break into the ship’s strongroom – and move the wreck nearer to the edge of an undersea chasm in the process.
Dominic is almost killed retrieving a religious relic; the treasure hunters are perpetually threatened by a gang of villainous fishermen, and – worst of all – Johnny’s wife, Theresa (that’s Russell), is trapped in the hulk as the wrecked ship starts to slide into the ravine.
The critics hated it, but it was a hit anyway. It also turned out to be Jane Russell’s last picture for RKO.
Cuban bandleader Perez Prado makes a cameo appearance with his band, playing in a cafe.