In 1948, with an America exhausted by the war and ready for life to get back to normal, an award-winning old Hollywood gang came to Maine to shoot a family-based picture.

Here is young Dean Stockwell, one of the biggest child stars, who would grow up to play Tony “The Tiger” Russo in Jonathan Demme’s “Married to the Mob.”

Many will remember Dean as “The Boy With Green Hair” alongside Pat O’Brien.

In “Deep Waters,” a soft film that takes place entirely on the rocky shores of Maine, Stockwell plays Donny Mitchell, a troubled orphaned boy with a family connected to the sea.

The movie stars Dana Andrews, one of Hollywood’s major stars. Andrews, with bigger pictures like “Laura” and “Best Years of Our Lives” behind him, slides easily through as Hod Stillwell, a Maine lobsterman.

The film is enhanced by Ed Begley, Will Geer (Grandpa in “The Waltons,”) and, of all people, Cesar Romero, the great dancer and film actor, playing Andrews’ Portuguese fishing partner, Joe.

The film opens on a dock on the Maine coast, with social worker Ann Freeman (Jean Peters) giving Hod his engagement ring back.

Hod loves his life pulling lobsters out of the sea, but Ann worries about all his near misses with great storms and wants him to take a desk job in Bangor. Really? Leave the lobster coast for Bangor?

Into this drama comes a young boy (Stockwell) who is orphaned from his well-known lobsterman daddy and uncle, both victims of storms.

Ann, the social worker, installs the troubled Donny in his third foster home with Mary McKay (Ann Revere), hoping this one’s the charm.

Then Donny’s life changes. Hod takes a liking to him and, this being summer, brings him on his lobster boat. It looks now like it’s going to be smooth sailing.

No such luck. Social worker Ann sticks to her guns about Bangor, Hod sticks to lobstering and, growing grumpy about the whole thing, refuses to take little Donny on any more jobs.

Donny wants to be a seaman and, with no one sharing his dream, decides to move on.

So he steals a camera from a shop, goes to a pawn shop and sells it to buy a ticket to Waterville. Really?

But as fate and the writers would have it, Donny steals a skiff and heads out to sea, where a major storm is brewing, one that will suck Hod, Joe and Donny into its vortex.

The film, with a heartfelt delivery, isn’t as deep as the waters. But it provides a boat full of great Maine views.

Andrews, who went on to make better films, doesn’t seem to have his heart in this role.

Peters sadly made a career out of playing Indian maidens and Mexican wives in “Viva Zapata” with Brando, “Captain From Castile” with Tyrone Power, and “Apache” with Burt Lancaster. She later married Howard Hughes and vanished from the screen.

Stockwell is still making films.

As always in family pictures of the era, “Deep Waters” comes with a happy ending.

J.P. Devine, of Waterville, is a former stage and film actor.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: