For Reel

The Sea Around Us (1953)
December 29, 2016, 3:31 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Irwin Allen
1.5 Stars
the-sea-around-usRachel L. Carson’s best-selling study about the mysteries of the deep was adapted by future disaster film director Irwin Allen. Reportedly, when Carson previewed the script that RKO would be putting into production, she was gobsmacked by the result. It is easy to see why—whereas figures like Jacques Cousteau and Jean Painlevé wisely treaded the line between scientific analysis and sensationalist spectacle, Allen’s exploration is all the latter. The filmed sequences would be better fit for a deep sea action adventurer film, including an intense battle between a shark and an octopus, and particularly a few shockingly violent images involving a diver hacking through a moray eel before stabbing a shark and a climactic whale hunt. Disregarding the ethical qualms about presenting this sort of entertainment in a documentary wrought to inform, one is constantly aware of a surface-level, almost barbaric sort of amusement. Allen sees the ocean not as the incredible result of millions of years of evolution, but as nature’s most incredible boxing ring.

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