Sea Devils (1953)

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Released 8-Mar-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Adventure None
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1953
Running Time 86:42
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Raoul Walsh

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Yvonne De Carlo
Rock Hudson
Maxwell Reed
Denis O'Dea
Michael Goodliffe
Bryan Forbes
Jacques B. Brunius
Ivor Barnard
Arthur Wontner
Gérard Oury
Larry Taylor
Keith Pyott
Case ?
RPI $14.95 Music Richard Addinsell

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Sea Devils is very much a standard adventure yarn, a genre of film which was quite prevalent during the 1950's. It is the story of a fisherman turned smuggler on the island of Guernsey in the English Channel during the Napoleonic Wars. The smuggler Gilliatt, played by Rock Hudson before he became a big star, takes on the job of transporting a lady (Yvonne De Carlo) from Guernsey to France. She tells him that she needs to try and rescue her brother. She is in fact a spy and the rest of the plot revolves around him trying to work out which side she is actually spying for so that he can either turn her in or fall in love with her. The story is based on a novel by Victor Hugo. The title of the film comes from the name of Gilliatt's boat.

    Unfortunately, the film does not really involve the audience, mostly due to minimal chemistry between the leads and no real development of tension. The complete lack of menace from the baddies does not help. There were three main characters on the side of evil; Rantaine, a rival smuggler (Maxwell Reed); Lethierry, the Guernsey customs officer (Denis O'Dea) and Fouche, the head of Napoleon's secret service (Jacques Brunius). None of these ever seemed particularly dangerous, however, Fouche was certainly the pick of the bunch.

    The romance side of the film is not particularly believable as they seem to spend very little time together before he is chasing after her. As there are no other female characters, maybe it was more a 'beggars can't be choosers' sort of situation. My favourite character was Gilliatt's sidekick, Willie (Bryan Forbes), because he seemed to have more personality than the rest of them put together.

    The production quality is noticeably poor, especially when closing a door means the entire set wobbles (84:00).

    Overall, this is not a terrible film, it is just not particularly engaging. If you like this sort of old film (or your Mother does), it might be worthwhile, especially considering its budget price.

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Transfer Quality


    The video quality is surprisingly good for a film of this age and calibre. The bitrate was consistently high through the film.

    The movie is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and is obviously not 16x9 enhanced. This is the original aspect ratio.

    The picture was generally clear and sharp, however, some grain was present. Shadow detail was quite poor with some scenes being quite had to discern. There was no low level noise.

    The colour was the big surprise. It was really quite vibrant at times, especially Yvonne De Carlo's costumes, including various shades of pink, green and blue. Reds were also quite bright. There was some noticeable colour bleeding especially around faces, necks, candles and fires. Examples can be seen at 25:25, 29:50, 31:29, 54:02 and 64:27.

    Another surprise was the lack of any major artefacts throughout the film. There were some small black and white specks every now and again but very little else. There were some points where the film seemed to miss a couple of frames and accordingly the picture jumped. I noticed this at 65:35, 69:53 and 84:10.

    There are no subtitles.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    The audio quality is not great but no worse than you would expect.

    This DVD contains one audio option, an English Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack encoded at 224 Kb/s. Despite this encoding, the track is the original mono and all sound comes from the centre speaker.    

    Dialogue was clear and easy to understand throughout. There were no problems with audio sync that I noticed.    

    The score by Richard Addinsell was fine, however it occasionally tried to drown out the dialogue due to its comparatively loud volume. Also, the music was distorted from time to time. This was especially noticeable at 86:36. 

    The surround speakers were not used.

    The subwoofer was not used.


Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use




    The one page menu allowed for chapter selection via a slightly confusing mechanism. Pressing the left arrow changed the picture from the film shown on the menu and accordingly the chapter selected.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This disc seems to only be available in Region 4.


    This is a minor 1950's adventure film starring Rock Hudson & Yvonne De Carlo.

    The video quality is surprisingly good for a film of this age and calibre.

    The audio quality is satisfactory.

    There are no extras.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Wednesday, May 12, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDToshiba 1200, using Component output
DisplaySony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD Player, Dolby Digital and DTS.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersBose 201 Direct Reflecting (Front), Phillips SB680V (Surround), Phillips MX731 (Center), Yamaha YST SW90 (Sub)

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