Synopsis by Mark Deming
Italian screen goddess Sophia Loren made her American film debut with this glossy romantic adventure set (and partially filmed) on the Greek island of Hydra. Phaedra (Loren) is a female sponge diver who, while combing the waters, discovers the wreckage of a sunken ship with a number of fascinating artifacts, including a statue of a boy astride a dolphin. When Phaedra tells her boyfriend Rhif (Jorge Mistral) about the find, he is convinced that the statue is valuable, and he begins making plans to bring it to dry land for sale. Looking for help, they approach Dr. James Calder (Alan Ladd), an American archeologist working on a project for a Greek museum. Calder wants the statue but can't pay for it -- he wants Phaedra and Rhif to donate it to his museum as a remarkable example of Greek statuary. This is hardly what Rhif had in mind, so he turns to Victor Parmalee (Clifton Webb), a wealthy American art collector intrigued by the statue and other valuables that might be in the ship. Rhif and Victor make plans to salvage the ship's contents and send them back to America, for which Rhif will be paid handsomely. But Phaedra finds herself attracted to Calder, especially after she is disgusted by Victor's blunt offer to make her his mistress, and she begins a romance with the principled American. Now Phaedra and Calder must try to rescue the ship's valuables before Rhif and Parmalee can get to them. The love scenes between Sophia Loren and Alan Ladd presented something of a problem for director Jean Negulesco and his crew -- Ladd was 5' 4" and Loren was 5' 8", requiring him to stand on a box for two shots; for a scene where the two walked together along the beach, the crew dug a trench for Loren to walk in, so Ladd would appear taller.
betrayal, diver, statue, treasure, shipwreck