Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, April 21, 2011


GREAT WHITE (aka The Last Shark and L'ultimo squalo/1981). Director: Enzo G. Castellari.

When a surfer disappears in the waters off a small coastal town, authorities fear a great white shark may be dining in the area. Naturally -- as this is another rip-off of Jaws -- Mayor Wells (Joshua Sinclair) doesn't want to cancel the big regatta that's coming up, so supposedly shark-proof netting is placed in the water to protect swimmers and others. Unfortunately -- or else there would be no movie -- the 35-foot-long shark is easily able to munch his way into the enclosure. James Franciscus stars as Peter Benton, who is determined to wipe out the fish after it chops off his teenage daughter's leg. Vic Morrow is cast as a shark hunter who proves no match for the great white. The best scene has the big shark squaring off with a helicopter and easily winning. The shark is given its own catchy rock theme, and there's some effectively sinister music at other times, as well as some attractive wide-screen photography. Gruesome in spots.

Verdict: Another fair-to-middling fish story. **1/2.


S. Alexander Hicks said...

I remember back when this was supposed to show at a local theater. There was an ad in the movie section of the paper and everything. Then an injunction from the courts kept it from showing because it was too similar to JAWS. How did they get it onto video/DVD?

William said...

Since it was originally an Italian film I think they were still able to get it onto DVD in Europe and eventually in the U.S. Perhaps the injunction didn't include VHS etc back in those days. So all these years later I finally got ot see it but it wasn't really worth the wait.

Thanks for your comment. Best, William

Neil A Russell said...

For some reason I thought this was another offering from Greek (working in Italy) producer Ovidio Assonitis, the guy that brought us such filmatic wonders as "Tentacles" and "Beyond the Door", and of course his greatest epic that ripped off so many genres; 1979's "The Visitor".

At least you've laid to rest my misconception about the production company, sorry I don't have anything else to add, I never saw this, nor did I ever even see "Jaws". Disgraceful isn't it?

William said...

Well, Jaws isn't a bad movie but you can still have a full life without seeing it. Now "Tentacles" on the other hand ... LOL