Hayworth Causes things to Heat Up
Following the Korean War friends Tony (Jack Lemmon) and Felix (Robert Mitchum) buy themselves a tramp boat, making money by shipping people and goods between the Caribbean islands. It is how they come to meet Irena (Rita Hayworth) who with no passport needs to get to another island. But having a beautiful woman on board causes trouble as both Tony and Felix fall for the beauty and leads to the split in their friendship. When Tony almost gets caught by authorities for smuggling he is sure that Felix shopped him and vows if he ever sees Felix again he will kill him. But then Tony finds himself trapped on a boat on fire full of explosives and with Felix around.
There are a number of actresses who could cause a fire down below and Rita Hayworth in her prime is certainly one of them. But then the "Fire Down Below" in this title has a double meaning as it is a movie of two halves. And sadly whilst both halves are entertaining the second half is not what you really want after the first half making it a bit of a curiosity.
The first half in question is pretty typical as we have a dame and two men; Tony is the loved up good guy who falls for the smouldering Irena whilst Felix with his rough exterior, and seeming dislike of her ends up attracting her anyway. Yes the woman becomes between these two men with Felix warning Tony that she is the sort of dame you don't want to fall for only to end up coming to blows with his best friend over her. It is typical but works because of the fine casting of the easy going Jack Lemmon, the brooding Robert Mitchum and the sexy Rita Hayworth.
But then we get the second half which goes from being a typical romantic love triangle into something akin to a disaster movie. Yes that it is right as a series of events transpire to put Tony's life in danger and put their friendship to the test. Don't get me wrong as this second half in its own right is entertaining but after the set up which culminates with the friends splitting and Felix ending up with Irena you want to follow that side of the movie.
What that really means is that "Fire Down Below" becomes enjoyable because of who is in it with Rita Hayworth showing that after a few years away from the movie business still had it with a swimwear scene which also includes a hair flick. There is also the beautiful scenery and in truth at times "Fire Down Below" becomes a movie all about the looks rather than what goes on.
What this all boils down to is that "Fire Down Below" is an okay movie but in truth is two movies in one which don't really work that well together. Never the less the casting of Hayworth, Mitchum and Lemmon along with the scenery makes it a good looking movie.