1977’s Orca – The Killer Whale was obviously an attempt to ride the wave created by the Buzz of Jaws, released just two years prior.
Starring Richard Harris as as Captain Nolan, a salty Irish-Canadian fisherman who is determined to catch a killer whale to sell to an aquarium so he can finally pay off his boat. Also starring a terrible wooden actress by the name of Charlotte Rampling as Rachel Bedford, a local writer and Whale specialist who almost made me gouge my eyes out due to her emotionless, borring voice and acting. Harris is, fine – portraying a salty fisherman quiet well. It’s just…she sucked badly.
Anyway, Harris’ character attempts to catch an Orca live, but the attempt goes horrible wrong when the whale attempts to kill it’s self by forcing itself into the boats propellers. They manage to hoist the whale aboard, but the whale immediately aborts it’s foetus. All this is watched, closely by the whales mate. The remaining whale begins a course of revenge against Harris and his mates. Eventually, Harris drops the captured whale back into the ocean, too late for her to be saved.
Over the next however long, the whale manages to disable evey boat but Harris’ in the harbour – he wants to fight Harris at sea. Harris’ obliges.
I guess this is an attempt at a modern Moby Dick. Despite Charlotte Rampling’s shitty acting, I found this film somewhat compelling. It’s also an attemp (I think) to make a “smart Jaws.” Jaws was about a mindless eating maching that just did what it was programmed to do: eat and swim. Orca is about an intelligent, thinking animal that methodically plots and extracts revenge against the man who killed it’s mate.
Interesting, and despite some low points, quite watchable. I say go for it!
Here is the trailer: