Water White Death (1971)
Peter Gimbel, Ron Taylor, Valerie Taylor (as themselves).
time: 99 mins
knew exactly what I was going to do after watching this groundbreaking
documentary on the Great White shark...
that's right - watch Steven Spielberg's Jaws
all over again.
1971 documentary, Peter Benchley's bestseller Jaws and Spielberg's
1975 movie version of Benchley's book came so close together
that they had a collective impact on the psyche of millions
of people who suddenly became afraid to go in the water!
another link between this documentary and Jaws
- expert dive photographers Ron and Valerie Taylor worked
on both projects and the underwater scenes of a real shark
in Jaws attacking the cage containing Richard Dreyfuss (well,
a stand-in anyway), were filmed by the couple.
Water White Death actually did pretty well in a theatrical
release, taking around $5 million US, a tidy sum in those
days. Jaws later became the first movie to gross more than
$100 million so obviously people loved being terrified by
late wealthy adventurer Peter Gimble led the team that made
Blue Water White Death on a 12,000 mile sea voyage that took
six months. They found plenty of other sharks - some of the
scenes of dozens of them bumping into the courageous divers
are incredible - but the search for a real-life Jaws was long
after searching the waters around South Africa, Ceylon and
Madagascar, the team met their monster at Dangerous Reef,
Australia. The 12 footer didn't disappoint, biting the aluminium
bars of the dive cages and making the surface boil as he thrashed
around in search of the bait the crew left out to attract
stunning footage still looks great in the newly mastered edition
- hard to believe this film is nearly 40 years old. While
Gimbel tragically died of cancer at age 59 in 1987, much of
the rest of his team were present at a recent reunion included
on an extra feature on this disc.