City Beneath The Sea (1953)
Treasure film inspires notorious fake gold bar and coin fraud
The 1953 Universal-International color film "City Beneath the Sea" has a connection with the
notorious John J. Ford "Franklin Hoard" fake numismatic pioneer gold bars and coins fraud.
Port Royal, Jamaica.
who wrote several books about his diving adventures including I Dive for Treasure.
Harry Rieseberg also helped write the script for the film.
gold bars and coins, but coins do not appear in the film.
Anthony Quinn, who are hired by a shipping executive to locate the wreck of a modern cargo ship
which sank during a hurricane and recover the cargo of $1,000,000 in gold bars.
which sank into the ocean during an earthquake in 1692.
This is a photograph which was used to advertise the film and was provided by Harry Rieseberg
from one of his diving books.
2. Promotional photograph
EVER SEEN SUNKEN TREASURE?
Here is $28,000 worth, in gold, found during the undersea peregrinations of Lieut.
Harry E. Rieseberg, famed treasure hunter, whose experiences on the ocean bed near the
sunken city of Port Royal provide the background for his authorship of
Universal-International’s Technicolor adventure, "CITY BENEATH THE SEA".
The publicity photograph shows old Mexican eight reales coins and gold bars but
unfortunately no coins appear in the film.
3. Kingston, Jamaica
Professional divers Brad and Tony arrive in Kingston, Jamaica and head for the office of an
was carrying $1,000,000 in gold bars.
4. Insurance manager pointing out the wreck
The executive wants the divers to locate the wreck and recover the gold.
There are no survivors from the crew and the sinking location was given by the ship captain
before the ship sank.
boat captain. She demands payment for the bananas, Brad pays her, and then hires her and
her boat to take them to the dive spot. She and Brad become friends.
5. Boat crew
Tony makes the first dive, finds nothing, and has a problem.
6. Brad in diving suit
Brad heads down and rescues Tony.
7. Diver in the water
This early 1950's diving suit has an air hose and a communication hose.
8. Kingston bar
This bar is similar to the popular "Tiki bars" of the era.
Tony engages in a bar-fight over the singer Venita, then picks her up.
He proposes to Tony that they get the gold for themselves.
Tony contacts Brad with the location but Brad wants to make only legal dives.
He finds the ship.
9. Ship found in the sunken city
The natives believe that Port Royal is haunted and don't want anyone to go near it.
10. Voodoo ritual
Both boats arrive over the wreck and Brad is diving at the spot.
He has found something.
11. The real goods
Brad has found some gold bars.
12. Gunman on boat
There is a fight, then an earthquake, the bad guys go into the water, Brad is stuck at the wreck,
and Tony goes down to rescue him.
13. Diver rescue
The men surface without the loot.
14. Loot left behind
The lads and their ladies are on a ship leaving Kingston.
15. Sailing off
Robert Ryan as Brad Carlton
Anthony Quinn as Tony Bartlett
Mala Powers as Terry McBride
Suzan Ball as Venita aka Mary Lou Beetle
Writers: Harry E. Rieseberg, Jack Harvey, Ramon Romero
Connection between this film and the John J. Ford "Franklin Hoard":
is that supposedly the fake gold bars were based on the film prop bars.
"How the West was Faked: False Western Gold Bars and other Forgeries" by John M. Kleeberg,
published in 2009. How the West was Faked
Wayne Homren, Editor The Numismatic Bibliomania Society (NBS)
Various numismatic experts either denounced them as fakes or claimed that they were real.
The items were traced to coin expert John J. Ford who marketed the items through coin dealers
in the 1950's. Most were apparently produced by a Paul Franklin who owned a small factory in
New York. The items later became known as the "Franklin Hoard".