September Storm (1960)
The Greek Isles, gold doubloons and Joanne Dru highlight this 3-D programmer that also features a rubber shark, Mark Stevens as the lead treasure hunter and Robert Strauss posing a greater threat to Miss Dru than any shark below the waves. Rubber or otherwise.
I grabbed this title purely on a whim thanks to it’s surprising release on blu ray from Kino Lorber in both the 3-D format and the conventional style which is how I watched it. Truthfully, I didn’t see all that many obvious effects that the 3-D process would highlight aside from Miss Dru’s curvatures. As it is, Joanne winds up with an admirer (introducing Asher Dann) while she’s diving into the blue waters of the Mediterranean which will lead her on a hunt for a fortune in lost Spanish treasure.
The much younger boy toy, Dann, is quite taken with Joanne who is a model on vacation. Dann has access to a medium sized yacht that he looks after for a wealthy owner. Enter the shady pair, Stevens and Strauss. They need a boat to get them to the location of a Spanish galleon that Stevens has the co-ordinates for. The pair convince the youngster to join in the hunt for a quarter of the take so long as he convinces his employer that he’s put the boat into dry dock while instead heading out to the open sea. The kid signs on as does Joanne who might be attracted to the shirtless Stevens. For a treasure hunter, Stevens sure seems eager to give away the take in equal shares. But is Strauss?
The seas get a bit rough en route which sets up the tossing of the ship and for a minute I thought maybe this was going to be a prelude to Gilligan’s Island. Yes this tiny shipped got tossed. At 92 minutes in length would you believe it’s at this point the film breaks for an …..
That caught me by surprise. Maybe it has something to do with the 3-D glasses pulling on peoples eyes as if they are wearing the opti-grab. Damned things are like magnets on the eyes. Wouldn’t want any subsequent lawsuits.
Now back to the second half.
As this is a B and on a tight budget by the looks of things under the guidance of director Byron Haskin, our group of treasure hunters find the gold in little screen time at all prompting me to wonder if it’s really that easy. As long as one of those rubber sharks don’t get to close I’d be willing to cruise the shores of the Mediterranean in search of Spanish gold. Anyone care to join me? Back to Miss Dru and the fact that she’s got three male temperatures rising. Can you imagine what might have happened if Bogie, Holt and Huston had taken a Joanne Dru like figure along in the search of the Sierra Madre? Look no further than this title. Someone has designs on cornering all four shares and taking Dru along for a spending spree. All she has to do is be nice to the culprit.
Director Haskin does capture some colorful scenery and decent enough underwater footage even if we’ve seen this plot a dozen or so times before. And a might better I should add. Still Haskin does have a decent resume to his name with titles including The Naked Jungle, Too Late For Tears and the 1950 Treasure Island. Screenwriter W.R. Burnett had seen better days. He gave us High Sierra, This Gun For Hire and The Asphalt Jungle among others.
Of the four actors involved, it’s probably the mug of Robert Strauss I know best and that’s purely due to my love of the Billy Wilder classic Stalag 17 that he appeared in opposite William Holden. Joanne Dru though only 38 by this time was nearing the end of her productive period and would only appear sporadically in tv and film with her final appearance in a 1980 import, Super Fuzz. Asher Dann? It’s a short career but for more on him, buy the blu ray as he’s featured in an interview that proves enjoyable about his time in the movie business.