On Movies: Orca(1977)

A blast from my past.

I never quite understood why the movie Orca wasn’t as popular as Jaws (1975) it is one of my favorite movies although I can’t quite remember when I first watched it. It had to be the early eighties as one of the movies of the week on my local UHF channels- I think it is hysterical by the way that  anyone under forty may have a tough time trying to figure out what a UHF channel is. I am sooooo old!

I thought Orca was better and more intense than Jaws. It may be hard for millennials to watch since there is no CGI but it does use a real killer whale, I just cringe looking at that fake mechanical Jaws and even as a child I was not impressed-sorry Mr. Spielberg,although you can tell that a lot of the scenes were filmed in a tank. The story is so much more intense and you love the whale and the fisherman he is fighting.

Orca goes after fisherman, played by Richard Harris, Captain Nolan (Dumbledore before he was Dumbledore and old) who hunts a whale and unbeknownst to him is a female carrying a fetus. The male whale, seeks revenge for the murder of his female mate and child…yeah, it may sound way out there but whales are quite social and ‘family’ oriented so the storyline, is actually loosely based, very loosely, on whale behavior. Orca terrorizes Nolan till he has no choice but to face off against the whale. Unlike Jaws, I totally respected Orca and his fight, although I sympathized the with Nolan because he recognizes his error but he has no way to correct that wrong with a beast. Excellent movie choice if you have can stand to watch older film, which you should because there are so many gems before all this new film technology. It was on Netflix a few years ago and my youngest son watched it and loved it…he was seventeen then but he has inherited my good taste for movies and a damn good story.

I actually wouldn’t mind seeing a remake of this movie but right now Orca is only available on Youtube that I can find.


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