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Those of us old enough to remember the ABC Movies of the Week in the
'70s remember more than a few science fiction, horror and fantasy
pickings. Among them were "The Stranger Within," "Satan's Triangle,"
"The Last Dinosaur" and Irwin Allen's "The Time Travelers." On a cold,
dark winter night of January 27, 1978, Rankin and Bass -- best known
for their cheerful Christmas stop-motion cartoons -- took us on a
two-hour trip to tropical climes with "Bermuda Depths," featuring lush
locations filmed in where else but Bermuda.
In recent years, I obtained first a poor-quality copy of the movie and later the DVD. The first time I played it was with some trepidation. Would it be better left in the past? After watching it, I'm still ambivalent. It was good to see it again, but some parts were definitely B-movie quality, something an older but not necessarily wiser me finds less easy to forgive than 22 years ago.
This movie was an uneasy blend of science fiction and mystical fantasy. It appears the writers couldn't decide on which kind of movie to do. Sometimes, it's a supernatural story with the devil's servant - a gigantic turtle with glowing eyes - and a forever young "imaginary friend" who only appears to men about to drown or to be lost at sea. Then it turns around and both can be wounded by nothing more than spear-guns and harpoons. If only the writers had chosen one or the other, it would have been a stronger story.
One can't help but note the similarities with 1984's "Splash." A young man returns to a place of happiness from his youth. He finds a mysterious young woman, also with ties to his past, who is far more than she appears. Determined to ferret out the truth is an obsessed researcher. The biggest difference is that this story has the kind of ending Hollywood would never allow today. Not a single character is left happy. Not even bittersweet. "Rudolph, the Red-nosed Reindeer," this wasn't.
The main musical theme was a delicate, somewhat melancholy piece composed by one of the masters, Antonio Vivaldi. It's the Largo movement from the Concerto for Lute, 2 Violins and Basso Continuo in D Major. Vivaldi composed in the early 18th century, the time of Jennie Hanniver. The Concerto also made several appearances in Georges Delerue's Academy Award-winning score for 1979's "A Little Romance." The first three minutes, an extended flashback to Magnus' days as a boy on the island, were the highlight of the movie as the lyrical concerto wended its way through scenes of childhood innocence.
The special effects were dead ringers for ones from Japanese "kaiju" giant monster movies, complete with blatant miniatures in the water tank shots. The giant turtle even looked a lot like Gamera in some shots. This is understandable as the effects actually were done in Japan, as with the previous Rankin/Bass monster effort, "The Last Dinosaur."
The young leads did what they could, but were hampered by their inexperience and the material. This introduced a lissome Connie Selleca. Leigh McCloskey fared somewhat less well as his character's motivations were never really clear. Nor was it ever explained why Jennie appeared to Magnus twice - first as a little girl and later as an adult - when he was not about to drown or be lost at sea either time, as the legend demanded.
A single U.S. production run of the videocassette was done in the '80s. With no promotion from the company, most of the tapes went into video rental stores. It took decades, but at long last, Warner is offering a manufactured on demand DVD with some decent picture quality. It's not perfect, but certainly no worse than our TV reception back in 1978.
This movie had a very profound effect upon my brother and I. We saw it
in 1979 when I was 11 years old, and my brother was 7. I spent the next
20 years trying to tell people about the movie with the "Giant Turtle".
Virtually nobody knew what I was talking about, and they thought I was
nuts - but I knew that both my brother and I had seen it.
I caught part of the end of it in the late 1980's, probably on WGN or TBS late at night, and actually called one of my friends and made him turn it on, because he thought I was making the movie up. So there was another person to verify it's existence! LOL!
I wish that this movie would be released on DVD; I found it every bit as haunting as the 1974 film GARGOLYES. (Which I just happened to get today for Christmas on DVD! Thank God my Brother understands and loves these old movies as much as I do! Thanks Bro!!)
All I can say is, this Movie Rocks. IF it's on and you have to go to work, call in sick! If they won't let you have off -then Quit! Jobs are available all day long, "The Berumuda Depths" isn't!
What starts out as a good sea serpent thriller for kids turns into an unrequited love story for adults.Plot:Leigh McKloskey returns to Bermuda to seek out why and how his father died when he was a boy.Instead,he discovers that his father had been conducting strange experiments and that his childhood friend,now played mysteriously by Connie Sellecca,is not what she appears to be.The last scenes in the cemetery and the giant turtle underwater wrapped everything up for me.The movie's theme, "Jenny," still drives goosebumps up my back. I recommend this movie for anyone who's been to Bermuda or is thinking of going.I stayed up late one night just to tape this movie on my VCR and I'll tell you,it was worth it !!!
Echoing what others have said, I saw this movie when I was about 16. I only saw it the one time, the original broadcast in 1978, but it has remained lurking in my memory ever since. The music, the situations, the cheesy effects . . . The doomed romance element still makes my heart ache. For a cheap little Rankin-Bass production, this film is remarkably effective. This one *seriously* needs to be released on DVD.
This movie is my Holy Grail. I have found every movie that affected me as I grew up but this one. I was 8 years old when I saw this movie and all I remember is the sound of the ocean and the haunting memory of a lovely phantom girl who waits for her childhood love. (Carl Weathers being dragged to the oceans depths on the back of a giant turtle is a bonus as well.) It's been so long that I don't recall how the special effects were but it's tone and moodiness have stuck with me to this day.
I remember watching this movie when I was about 6 or 7 as a young boy.
This movie really does has affect on people who watch it for some
reason. The music the view and Jenny and the Turtle is just such
amazing characters. It make you visualize and meditate when you finish
watching it. I remember the movie as if it was yesterday. I just didn't
remember the title of the movie. I didn't won't to ask some body about
the movie if I didn't know the title of it, but now I know. I feel so
relief and happy that I have accomplish something. Now I just need to
accomplish getting a full original version copy of the movie "The
Bermuda Depths" Can any body help me out?
I will not spoil the movie, because I think every body need to see it again and refreshing their own memories.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I'm just going to agree with what everyone else here has said, must have been 9 or 10 when I saw this (based on the '78 air date), and it has stuck with me since. What is the deal with this movie? I was reminded of Bermuda Depths while watching Whale Rider last night, and the scene where the girl begins to ride the whale into the depths -- that scene in Whale Rider reminded me of the end of Bermuda Depths (of course Whale Rider had a happier ending), where the guy gets dragged down by the turtle, and the carvings on the turtle, ooh boy has that stuck with me. Did a Google search for "giant sea turtle movie," expecting to find a bunch of links about Gamera, but what do you know, I find this whole community of people on IMDb who were just as affected by that movie, all these years later -- weird. We're kind of like the people in Close Encounters of the Third Kind, inexplicably making mashed potato mountains of Devil's Tower, only to discover we're not the only ones.
I saw this movie when I was about ten years old back in the late 70s.
never forgot this movie. It comes on a couple of times a year and I always
seem to catch it right at the end. I wish they would release a DVD of this
movie. It's a cult classic if not a classic outright. It was beautifully
shot and though some of the special effects are outdated, it doesn't
subtract from the movie.
Not many people know that animation studio Rankin/Bass made a few stabs into live-action productions. This may be their best known, if only because (especially evident in these user comments) so many people remember it from their childhoods! I can see why, since there are some haunting images and scenes (like the long opening where hardly a word is spoken), skillful use of classical music, themes of loss and despair, and a decidingly un-Hollywood ending. Though watching the movie with the eyes of an adult, its flaws become clear - unbelievably cheesy special effects, plot elements that are murky or underbaked, and characters doing/saying things that are laughable at times. All the same, the movie still has some magic to it, and when you watch it you can see the makings of a truly enchanting buried under mediocre production. It probably deserves a DVD release - I'm certain a lot of people would buy it to relive their childhoods! - but since the majority of the Rankin/Bass catalog today seems to be under the control of Warner Brothers (who are clueless about releasing older movies on DVD), it will probably never happen.
I saw this film when I was four years old on TV and it has forever haunted me since. I saw some of it again recently on a poor quality VHS tape and the minitaures suck, the title sequence is corny, and the acting is wanting, but the story itself, the images and tones that it offers from it´s romance of the sea is simply lovely and wonderful. Maybe they could do some kind of remake or clean up the effects somehow, but if you liked films like the Big Blue or Atlantis then this corny little number is for you. Just please be warned, it is not a well made piece, just a great story and tribute to the mystery of the ocean.
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