Fisherman Richard Harris ignores the warnings of whale expert Charlotte Rampling andattempts to capture a killer whale, the idea being to make a mint by selling it to an aquarium.Everything goes horribly wrong, and he accidentally kills a pregnant female (the scene is prettydamn gruesome). The whale’s mate mounts a vendetta against Harris. It attacks boats and causeshuge fires, turning the town against him, and then lures him out for a final confrontation.
The Ja…s steals are obvious, with Rampling filling in for Richard Dreyfuss (thoughlooking a hell of a lot icily gorgeous than he did) and Harris playing a more melancholy versionof Robert Shaw. See, it turns out Harris knows exactly how the whale feels, since he lost his ownwife and child to a drunk driver, and he really doesn’t want to fight. Obviously, the plot isextremely preposterous, but is lots of fun for precisely that reason. Other joys are all the whale-caused destruction, and the sight of a pre-10 Bo Derek having her leg graphically bittenoff. Dismissed upon its release in 1977 (and it IS a silly film), Orca now looks prettygood when compared to the countless other Jaws carbon copies and inferior sequels.
The sound is mono, and a pretty rough mono at that, for 1977. Though free of static, thesound is a bit thin, and gurgles in the music and dialogue pop up every so often throughout thefilm.
The 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen picture will reveal a whole new film to those who haveonly ever seen this on TV or on VHS. Numerous widescreen compositions would have beenruined by fullscreen cropping. The colours, blacks, contrasts and flesh tones are all good, andthere is no grain. The image is quite sharp, though it does shake a bit a couple of times. There isalso some speckling on the print.
Good, campy fun today, and there are a couple of undeniably effective scenes. Go ahead.Indulge.