Saturday, July 2, 2011

Great White Death (1981)

The Fourth of July is Monday and I was originally going to do do a weekend of flag waiving films, however I recently had a nice experience watching some shark documentaries and in honor of the classic film Jaws and it's ability to get people out of the water on a holiday weekend I present a double feature of shark documentaries. First up is Great White Death.

Glenn Ford narrates this look at sharks and the sea.

A surprisingly good film this is the sort of film that you'll find lurking around in a bargain bin for a dollar or two. That's not a knock against it since the film is neither as bad/trashy as many films in the bargain bin, nor is it as out of date as the 1981 release date would suggest.

This solid little film concerns the interaction of men and sharks around the world. Not shying away from blood and gore this is a film that shows us what its like to interact with a shark be you a fish or a person. To be certain that some of the sequences are recreations, but many are not and the film never feels either exploitative or made up.(Though to be honest that's what I thought it would be after the opening sequence)

One of the things that I liked about the film is that it's a nice antidote to the slickness of cable TV Shark Week. Sure those films have incredible views of things that really blow your mind. This film on the other hand is more clunky and more solid. We get the sense that it took a great deal to film this movie. One bit of narration talks about how it took two weeks to set up one filming opportunity.

What was also good was the film shows us what it takes to keep out beaches safe, and it questions whether the killing of them is of any benefit to us, outside of a place to swim, since sharks are simply doing what they were designed to do, killing the weak and sick (thinning the herd) so that the healthy sea creatures can survive.

I really liked this film a great deal. Sitting down one cloudy Sunday afternoon I put this film on as a kind of goofy time killer, instead I found that what I was watching was a great little film that got me so hyped up that I went looking through my collection for another shark related documentary.

This is definitely one to keep an eye out for.

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