HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Dreams on Fire
Sing as We Go!
Burnt Orange Heresy, The
Craft Legacy, The
Eye of the Storm
Inflatable Sex Doll of the Wastelands
Where No Vultures Fly
Come True
Kagemusha
Justine
Poly Styrene: I Am a Cliché
Madchen in Uniform
Fire Will Come
Suspect
Jailbreak Pact
News of the World
Dementer
Beyond Clueless
Stylist, The
Sky is On Fire, The
Wrong Turn
In a Year with 13 Moons
Blush
Strange Affair of Uncle Harry, The
Sinners, The
Tammy and the T-Rex
Archenemy
Zappa
Mindwarp
State Secret
Mogul Mowgli
Owners, The
Twentieth Century, The
Story of Gilbert and Sullivan, The
What Lies Below
Greenland
Broil
Dead Pigs
Willy's Wonderland
It's in the Air
   
 
Newest Articles
Network Double Bills: All Night Long and Ballad in Blue
Chew Him Up and Spit Him Out: Romeo is Bleeding on Blu-ray
British Body Snatchers: They Came from Beyond Space on Blu-ray
Bzzzt: Pulse on Blu-ray
The Tombs Will Be Their Cities: Demons and Demons 2 on Arrow
Somebody Killed Her Husband: Charade on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Maroc 7 and Invasion
Network Double Bills: The Best of Benny Hill and The Likely Lads
Network Double Bills: Some Girls Do and Deadlier Than the Male
Absolutely Bananas: Link on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Hawk the Slayer and The Medusa Touch
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
Nature Girl: The New World on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Perfect Friday and Robbery
Network Double Bills: The House in Nightmare Park and The Man Who Haunted Himself
Newley Minted: The Strange World of Gurney Slade on Blu-ray
Bad Love: The Night Porter on Blu-ray
Brevity is the Soul of Weird: Short Sharp Shocks on Blu-ray
Get Your Ass to Mars: Total Recall on Blu-ray
Call the Professionals: Le Cercle Rouge on Blu-ray
When There's No More Room in Hell: Dawn of the Dead on Blu-ray
   
 
  Whale of a Tale, A The Shat's Interest In Sea Life Started Early
Year: 1976
Director: Ewing Miles Brown
Stars: William Shatner, Marty Allen, Abby Dalton, Scott C. Kolden, Nancy O’Connor, Andy Devine, Richard Arlen, Cliff McDonald, Don Epperson, Walter O. Miles, Joe Ben Di MassaDon Kobaly, Nicki Rae
Genre: Comedy, Drama, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  3 (from 1 vote)
Review: Joey Fields (Scott C. Kolden) is a small boy on his school holidays who takes a liking to Marine Land sea park in California, so much so that he sneaks in through a back gate to have a closer look at the activities there. The animals there are killer whales, dolphins, seals and other ocean-going creatures - there is an aquarium as well - and Joey is captivated by the idea of getting close to them, but today he is noticed by the security guard who tries to escort him from the premises. However, he makes a friend in Louie (Marty Allen), a fisherman who catches the animals, including what they eat, and it is he who persuades the head marine biologist Dr Jack Fredericks (William Shatner) to allow Joey to stick around.

Before 2013, A Whale of a Tale was just one of many obscure family films churned out by the American independents in the nineteen-seventies, notable mainly for featuring Shatner who had recently left Star Trek; it was shot in 1971 but not released for five years after that for whatever reason. However, after 2013 a documentary called Blackfish was making waves, if you'll pardon the pun, because of its exposure of the practices of ocean parks like Sea World and indeed Marine Land which kept the killer whales in surroundings that were, according to it, deeply inhumane and cruel. If you have seen that eye-opening work, then this earlier puff piece looks a lot less than wholesome.

Seeing Joey duped into believing the creatures trapped in pools and tanks that don't look particularly spacious were actually having, er, a whale of a time, renders this coming across as a propaganda piece that brainwashed the innocent public into visiting such parks; they were very popular with school trips, for example. You find yourself seeking out examples of poor treatment, not only in the tricks that the animals are made to perform, such as a dolphin that genuinely leaps through a hoop of fire (!) to the tell-tale sign of a troubled killer whale, the broken dorsal fin, though there is the odd bit where Shatner locks up a baby seal in a cramped cage and starts filming it on a cine camera.

Quite what he was going to do with that footage is a mystery, presumably take it to a Marine Land party for employees and show it there so they could laugh gloatingly over it? Essentially this was a feature length advertisement for the park, though there was a diversion into a commercial for a certain popular fast food outlet, one which never passed up a chance to publicise themselves (though they missed a trick by not selling dolphin burgers). Director Ewing Miles Brown seemed to have arranged his film around the various tourist attractions, Joey leading the viewer to see what amounted to water-based circus acts and areas to get close to the beasts of the sea, though not too close as they were keen to point out these were not tame pets, they were wild animals and could rip your arm off if you're not careful.

Okay, they didn't put it in those terms, but that was the inference, and Blackfish illustrated how dangerous these whales could be, with a number of deaths attributed to them as the creatures literally went insane for lack of freedom and enforced tricks they were required to perform. All that aside, and it is a lot to put out of your mind, this would be most notable for Shatner's appearance in that wilderness period between the Star Trek franchise finishing on TV and starting up again on film, and he didn't disappoint in his Shatnerian delivery of scientific dialogue, nor his eager romancing of Joey's mother Abby Dalton when he discovers she is a widow who happens to be available, thereby providing the replacement father figure for the boy. Hey, it could have been worse, it could have been Louie. Anyway, in search of a proper ending the last act saw Joey go nuts and set out to sea in a tiny dinghy, sending the adults into a panic when they search for him all night. It all ends happily, unless you were one of the killer whales in captivity in a relic that was pretty tedious once the outrage was taken into account. Music by Jonathan Cain, including drippy guitar-led ballads aplenty.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 1276 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Stately Wayne Manor
Enoch Sneed
  Geraint Morgan
   

 

Last Updated: