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  • This won an Academy Award for Documeentary Feature and most definitely deserved to win. The whole project is well-executed and the underwater camerawork is particularly worthy of mention. Holds up very well after almost fifty years. Turner Classic Movies usually shows this a few times a year. Highly recommended.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Before Irwin Allen went on to produce crappy, clumsy, cardboard disaster epics with gaudy but primitive special effects, he managed to get himself noticed by throwing together a film version of Rachel Carson's bestselling (82 weeks on the NYTimes list) The Sea Around Us. I say put together because this film, which impressed everybody (1953 Academy Award) in the early fifties by merely having undersea color photography, because the footage was supplied by people and organizations with an interest in self promotion like oil companies, commercial fishing companies, shipping companies and the Australian National Tourist Board. What Allen did was to get his hands on free or almost free footage and write a voice- over narrative to go along with the footage and slap the already well-known title on it. Irwin Allen was the type of hideous cheese ball producer who thinks: Why pay a writer to write a script? After all there's nothing to itÂ… and comes up with what sounds important but is just a lot of meaningless but portentous sh*t. He failed as a journalist and was reduced to working for an ad agency, so once a hack, always a hack. He was an even worse writer than Joe Gillis. To him his script must have sounded just as good as Rachel Carson or maybe even Bill Faulkner but to anyone learning creative writing it's a prime example of what not to do.

    While Technicolor processed the film it doesn't seem to have been shot using the Technicolor process because the three strip cameras would have been too bulky to use underwater. Instead it seems as though various types of mono pack film stocks were used. Ask yourself why there is no cinematographer credited? It's all advertising/propaganda film. The print shown on TCM looks terrible and it must have been something of an orphan film to go unrestored. Perhaps the people who pay for such things are put off by the ham fisted hack narration, the obvious business connections (RKO at the time was still owned by Howard Hughes who was involved in undersea exploration and even underwater feature movies; UNDERWATER! 1955, at the time) or the fact that Carson, who went on the write the environmentalist clarion call, The Silent Spring, had her work treated in such a shabby manner.

    Like all of Allen's work, its best appreciated by adolescent boys. And not too bright ones at that.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Irwin (Poseidon Adventure/Towering Inferno/Lost in Space) Allen's Oscar winning look at the ocean and seas. Actually its bases on a book by Rachel Carson. This is a 62 minute look at various sea life. The film begins with a horrible creation of the world bit that segues into a god awful "This is the sea..." or similar nonsense where we get quick cutting and stentorian speech thats more at home in a exploitation trailer "See man vs shark" that sort of thing over and over again. After about ten minutes of really lousy material the film settles down into footage of sea life. To be certain by todays standards its nothing special when compared to the numerous Discovery Channel specials, but its still impressive.Some of it it is actual sea footage, some is from aquariums and much of the non-nature footage is staged or borrowed. but it doesn't matter since once the film gets up and running it just neat stuff (though I could have lived with out the man vs shark bit). Its a good film and worth a shot. I should mention that the film ends with a warning about global warming, which the film says started just before 1900 and which "very shortly" will cause the seas to rise and will flood us all out. Clearly Al Gore is late on the band wagon yet again.
  • Sea Around Us, The (1953)

    *** 1/2 (out of 4)

    Oscar-winning documentary runs a short 62-minutes but it packs one great punch for some wonderful family entertainment. This documentary, written and directed by Irwin Allen, takes a look at the various lifeforms that live in and around the sea. The documentary using, at the time groundbreaking camera-work, takes us below the sea and shows us a wide range of items from various varieties of fish and even a fight between a shark and an octopus. It's funny to note that one segment of the film deals with tidal waves, which is the subject of Allen's The Poseidon Adventure nearly twenty-years later. The documentary was filmed in Technicolor and this is another plus as we get to see the beautiful fish and other items in their full glory. Some of the footage, like the shark fight, is black and white but this is only a small fraction. Not only do we get to see the various fish but we also get to look at various jobs including a crab farmer and a shark walker, which some might remember because of a certain scene in Jaws 3. I'm sure kids would really get a kick out of all the scenery here but there's enough stuff here for adults as well. The film is probably old-fashioned in regards to some of the information it's giving out but that's not really a problem since I'm sure most people will be caught up in the visuals. The one minor problem is some of the narration, which is a tad bit over-dramatic.
  • This is from a well known book by Rachel Carson, so I don't know why this film is not well-known. It took home the Academy Award as best documentary. I suppose the later work of Cousteau just eclipsed it. Never the less, this is a well done film, well worth watching.
  • This is a shockingly awful 'documentary'....what the viewer sees is almost beyond belief.

    Plot in a nutshell: Underwater photographers reveal various aspects of sea life, with a healthy dose of human interference.

    Why is this shockingly awful? "The Sea Around Us" is not a documentary in any modern sense of the word. If by 'documentary', you imagine film-makers immersing themselves into nature and documenting what they see, you'll be very surprised by this film; because what you get here instead is mankind inserting himself into the sea, and more importantly the film, usually to the detriment of the sea life around him.

    Rather than being called "The Sea Around Us," a more accurate title would be "Man's Clueless Exploitation of the Sea." I don't think you can really have 'spoilers' for a documentary, so I'm not going to check that box, and really, what I'm about to say here SHOULD be known by anyone who thinks s/he might be interested in this 'nature' film.

    Imagine seeing a diver spearing a barracuda. Then the diver spearing a moray eel. Then the diver stabbing a small shark in its belly with a knife when it comes too close. This is in fact the film-maker's idea of a documentary, it seems - namely, 'Go deep-sea diving, and kill everything that crosses your path.' Anyone who enjoys nature and wants to learn more about it will likely be flabbergasted, horrified and stunned when watching this film, as I was.

    The carnage doesn't stop there. The viewer also sees an example of deep-sea trawler fishing, where the fishermen scoop up everything they can in a huge net, and whatever they don't want - 'bycatch' - simply dies in the process. We witness sponges being collected by men off the sea floor, and see salmon on their way to their breeding grounds instead being caught by fishermen positioned in strategic places along a river (what a river scene is doing in a film about the sea, well, don't ask me). We also see sharks being captured for display in aquariums and hermit crabs being trapped and captured, I assume destined for pet shops everywhere. The film is capped off - believe it or not - by a whale hunt, as the viewer watches a whale get harpooned and then mercilessly stabbed to death by the hunters. The narrator then unbelievably labels the dying whale a 'monster' not once, not twice, but three times. Never mind that the whale shown here was of no threat to humans. This film - or more accurately, this utter piece of trash - is an absolute horror fest for anyone who loves nature and finds beauty within it. 'Abysmal' is a pretty fair description for this mess.

    The fact that "The Sea Around Us" won an Academy Award for Best Documentary seems to be some sort of cruel joke. It speaks volumes about the stupidity of mankind and what it deemed as acceptable and good, just a few decades ago. Famous conservationist Rachel Carson's name was used to promote this film, but after seeing the finished product, she angrily distanced herself from it, and never sold the filming rights to any of her work again. Seeing this travesty of a film, that should come as no surprise.

    1/10. This is valuable only in showing the viewer what was deemed normal in 1950s America. It should serve as Exhibit A for "What to avoid when making a documentary." Would I watch again (Y/N): Hell no!
  • Adaptation of Rachel Carson's book about the sea. I've never read the book so I don't know how faithful it is but some of this is fascinating. It starts out pretty badly with ponderous narration describing how the Earth (and sea) came into being. After that it lightens up pretty quickly and shows us various creatures of the sea including some incredible microscopic views of sea life. There's an interesting (and non-bloody) fight between a shark and an octopus. It also shows various occupations men have dealing with the sea like a shark walker and crab herder. The part showing different ways to capture fish (so they can be killed and eaten) might be troubling to some viewers but it's more of a sign of the time it was made than anything else. Narration aside this should be seen for visuals alone. Also the ending seems to predict global warming before it was discovered! I give it an 8.
  • This work conveys an appreciation of not only sea life but the oceans as an avenue of commerce, subject of artisans and realm of warfare. At a surface level it seems to run counter to the reputation of Rachel Carson as conservationist. It depicts, without judgment, not only the capture but the killing of large fish. At least one such scene was gratuitous. But as that was the attitude of the day (1953), it realistically depicted the attitude, if unwittingly. Still, because of the camera work, the detail and the both Atlantic and Pacific settings the viewer is left with a large chunk of the appreciation of that 70% of the Earth it's obvious Carson and screenwriter Irwin Allen (Flipper, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea) posses.
  • Unlike the nasty comments from previous reviewers, I found this movie to be utterly fascinating. I was 8 years old when I saw it on the big screen in 1953 -- beginning with the creation of the world sequence -- and would love to see it again. I was actually "pre-adolescent" then, so I guess I wasn't yet in the group that was so dismissed by one of the reviewers! Also, Al Gore was not "late to the game" inasmuch as he was only 5 year old when this came out. Sorry! He was just taking the premises of Carson's book forward a number of decades. This movie deserved the Oscar, and it should be required viewing for anyone concerned with the natural world and mankind's responsibility to take care of it.