Sea Devils (Coronado 1953 with Rock Hudson and Yvonne de Carlo)

UK / Coronado / 90 minutes / 1953 Filmed in Technicolor

Writer: Borden Chase (from the novel by Victor Hugo) / Cinematography: Wilkie Collins / Music: Richard Addinsell / Producer: David E. Rose / Director: Raoul Walsh

Cast: Yvonne de Carlo, Rock Hudson, Maxwell Reed, Denis O’Dea, Michael Goodliffe, Bryan Forbes, Jacques Brunius, Ivor Barnard

The threat of a Napoleonic invasion looms over the British Isles. A mysterious woman named Drouette (YVONNE DE CARLO) meets the notorious smuggler Gilliatt (ROCK HUDSON), and agrees to escort her to France, her homeland, despite the obvious danger.

Convinced that she is a countess, Gilliat betrays her and frames her. The capture goes wrong and she escapes, only to discover that Drouette is a double agent working against Napoleon. She is imprisoned in France.

After the noble Ragan (MICHAEL GOODLIFFE) gives his own life, news of the prisoner reaches Britain. Gilliat vows to make good on his betrayal, and plans to enact a rescue. But before he can leave, the gallant fighter must face an unexpected challenge and a new ally.

Using Jersey and the French coast for its authentic locations, RAOUL WALSH’S energetic portrayal of this scepter’d isle is a rousing drama (albeit with an American leading man). Hudson handles the role of a Guernsey smuggler with remarkable ease and de Carlo steals the movie in a well-judged pivotal role.

Walsh was one of the Hollywood old-school and a founder of the Academy of Motion Picture of Arts & Sciences with an uncompromising style described by studio head Jack Warner as: “his idea of a tender love scene is burning down a whorehouse.”