Blue Water, White Death
March 6th 2009 01:40
Directors Peter Gimbel and James Lipscomb were the first documentary filmmakers to launch an expedition specifically to film Carcharodon carcharias, the Great White shark, or as it was often referred to: White Death. They headed to Durban, South Africa, then to Sri Lanka, and islands in the Indian Ocean, and finally to Dangerous Reef, South Australia, where they rendezvoused with diving coordinator Rodney Fox, the man who famously survived a savage attack from a Great White and has the horrendous scars to prove it (it is his account of the attack that gave me the most nightmarish chills).
Director and underwater photographer Peter Gimbel
The documentary itself however is a very leisurely affair. For the most part it comes across like a quaint Jacques Cousteau flick being shot for National Geographic, and is very much a document of its time, especially with the onboard folk singer/guitarist (who also acted as an assistant cameraman) Tom Chapin. His dainty tunes composed for the expedition seem to work in contrast to the somewhat ominous nature of the documentary, especially considering the movie's sensational title.
The crew watch in awe
Back on deck and shedding his scuba gear Peter Gimbel is overwhelmed, the experience has left him in total awe of the shark, he is unable to properly explain just how extraordinary the close encounter was. He admits one point he thought he was a goner, but the sense of satisfaction for him - and the footage to later add weight to his experience – is very apparent. His job is done. But his fascination has been intensified. Blue Water, White Death meanders a fair bit, but ultimately it's a superb Great White document.
I couldn't find a trailer, but here's one of the crew talking and footage of Ron and Valerie swimming surrounded by sharks:
Additionally, here's a pic I found of a Great White shark caught in a set-net in Seven Star Lake, Hualien County, Taiwan, on May 14, 1997. Total length is estimated at 6.7-7.0m (22 ft). Possibly the largest great white shark ever recorded. Now this is scary!
Blue Water, White Death DVD is courtesy of Umbrella Entertainment, many thanks!
subscribe to this blog