Fire Down Below

Fire Down Below (1957)
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Cast: Jack Lemmon, Rita Hayworth and Robert Mitchum

With its great cast, consisting of Jack Lemmon, Rita Hayworth and Robert Mitchum, its colorful, picturesque settings and a story that puts you under its spell, ’Fire Down Below’ is a wonderful inter-personal drama that spins out of control.

Felix and Tony are smugglers in the Carribean and one day they take on an extremely explosive cargo – Irena, a beautiful illegal immigrant traveling from one place to another, living off the funds her willing boyfriends offer her. Tony immediately falls in love with Irena and courts her ever minute he’s got, while Felix feels more of an animal attraction to the untamable beauty. As both men’s interest in Irena grows the long-lasting friendship between Tony and Felix is on the brink and ready to collapse.

Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment has prepared a decent enough transfer for the movie on this DVD. Unspectacular but definitely watchable, the presentation shows quite a bit of blemishes, such as scratches and dust marks in the print, as well as some color fluctuation. The image is a also very grainy at times, but never distractingly so. Color reproduction is fair throughout, but does look washed out a bit. Black levels are generally good, rendering an image with good shadows. Some edge-enhancement is visible in select scenes, creating nasty halos around outlines, but the compression of the film has been handled carefully, making sure it is free of artifacts.

The audio on the release is the original monaural track in English language. With its limited frequency response the track has a rather harsh quality at times, which is especially noticeable during the carnival scenes where otherwise the entire audio spectrum would be used to create a much stronger impact. Dialogues are well integrated and free of distortion.

’Fire Down Below’ does not contain any extras, and combined with the somewhat lackluster presentation it is evident that this movie was not very high on Columbia TriStar’s list of priorities. It is a decent enough movie that would have deserved better, especially given the caliber of the stars attached to it and the fact that it is virtually Rita Hayworth’s last movie highlight as the star we got to know her as before descending into obscure movies. Still, for fans, This DVD is certainly worth a closer look.