Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Great White (1981)

Isn't it ironic? Vic Morrow stars in Castellaris rip-off on Jaws, Great White. Universal and Spielberg gets pissed off and sues the distributors of Great White, and prohibits them from ever show Castellaris movie again in the US. One year after the movie had it's short (but successful) run in theatres Vic Morrows decides to sign up for the Spielberg-produced Twilight Zone and gets decapitated for real during the shooting! Was it revenge from Spielberg? We’ll never know…

Anyway, Great White could have served very good as an official sequel to any of the Jaws-movies. The style and setting are almost identical (but with more slow-mo) but of course the budget is lower, the dubbing is cheesier and the dialogue is terrible. Still Castellari shows a lot of style, and even substance during a couple of moments, and effective copies some typical Spielberg-moments (the father-son relations, the beach-montage and so on) and ad some of his own touches too. All his favourite actors shows up (his brother Ennio Girolami, stuntman Massimo Vanni, cool guy Romano Puppo) and the rest are doing quite good performances.

Well, Vic Morrow chews the scenery more than Robert Shaw ever did, but is fun to watch and it’s still a great character. James Franciscus is one of the most underrated actors in the history of cinema. It’s easy to just see him as another Charlton Heston-clone, a handsome man doing his job so the movie can lead to another paycheck, but I would say he was a damn fine actor. He was a good hero in a lot of cool movies from the seventies, and even of the script was weak, he injected some human emotions and development in his work. He needs to be rediscovered.

The shark-attacks? Not bad, but as usual with Jaws-rips there’s a lot of boring stock footage (I have nothing against stock footage, but not in shark-movies) that never fits with the rest of the scene. But when the “real” shark shows up, it’s a really cool and gigantic rubber-shark that eats everything (including helicopters and cameramen). The shark is very plastic, and kinda stiff, but it’s so big that you forgot details like that fast.

Great White is not Castellaris best movie, but it’s a fantastic little Jaws-copy that I like to watch from time to time.

10 comments:

J said...

Aahhhh! What a great movie that is. I remember seeing this fucker on video back in the day, and that scene with the bloke chomped in half just freaked me out completely!

You brought back some great memories for me this time mate.

Great piece!

Nigel M said...

Hi,

didn't this have a recent dvd release in Sweden? anyhow....

noticed that all the best bits of this showed up again in Bruno Mattei's Jaws 5, and that is a really bad movie with a subplot about a dolphin sanctuary. Castellari's effort on the other hand is pretty nifty.

J said...

Bruno the Re-Cycler as we enviromentalists in Snowland call him. :)

And yeah it was released quite recently.

Jack J said...

Fred, you might wanna mention the more commonly known English title for this is THE LAST JAWS and yes it was indeed released in Scandinavia recently. Unfortunately only with a less than good English audio track (sound quality wise). I wish they'd included the Italian track as well.

It's a cool flick and makes for a fun double bill with CRUEL JAWS (which came out on Italian DVD recently for all those of you who don't have the Japanese VHS, haha).

Jack J said...

PS: And I watched Joe D'amato's DEEP BLOOD on DVD recently; Now there's a timewaster!

Ninja Dixon said...

Jack: But better one release, than no one at all? :)

I know that The Last Jaws/Shark is the more common titles, but I have a hard time using titles that I'm not used to. Great White has always been the title for me :D

Jack J said...

Yeah sure, I'm happy they put it out but if something could've been a lot better with very little effort why not bitch about it! xD

I'm not saying you ought to use the other title(s) instead, it was a piece of info to the general reader who (like me) might have been halfway thru the review before it dawns on them which movie they're reading about. ;o)

Ninja Dixon said...

Aha, but you danes are a bit special ;)

So, Deep Blood is just a patchwork of other shark movies I guess?

Jack J said...

LOL.

No, no patchwork at all but just not as entertaining as it could've been. You hardly see the shark.

Nigel M said...

Speaking of Bruno the recycler does anyone here know where I can get hold of an english lanuage Guinea Ama?

That footage in Zombie Creeping Flesh looks absolutely fascinating