Retro-review: New this week in a double festure DVD from MVD Visual & RetroVision Entertainment LLC!
DEADLY JAWS (1974)
aka NO GOLD FOR A DEAD DIVER
Directed by Harald Reinl, Jürgen Roland
Written by Jürgen Goslar (as George Merlon), Heinz G. Konsalik (novel)
Starring Horst Janson, Hans Hass Jr., Marius Weyers, Monika Lundi, Sandra Prinsloo
I wish this film would have delivered more on the deadly jaws that the title promises, but instead DEADLY JAWS is more underwater crime thriller than killer shark flick.
A group of divers get wind of a sunken treasure in the Gulf of Mexico and set out to find it. Two of them Rene (Marius Weyers) and the sultry Ellen (Monika Lundi) plan on killing the rest of the group after the gold is found. The rest of the group, consisting of CAPTAIN KRONOS himself Horst Janson, Hans Hass Jr., and the Susan George-esque Sandra Prinsloo, simply want to soak in the scenery and maybe get rich, but are naïve to Rene’s plans. Meanwhile, the locals are restless and want to vulture in for the gold after it is discovered. After some close encounters with some sharks and an angry octopus, the gold is found, and greed pits everyone against everyone by the end.
While there are sharks in this film, they only show up for one scene after Ellen chums the waters in hopes the divers will be eaten. It does look like the divers are in the same scene with the sharks, they don’t really seem like they are very interested in the divers at all and thus don’t really cause much of a shiver even in this shark-phobic viewer. There is more of a conflict with a grouchy octopus which has camped out at the entrance of the sunken vessel holding the gold, though the tentacles attacking the divers are pretty fake looking, especially interspersed with shots of a real life octopus. That’s pretty much all of the underwater animal horror you’re going to get here.
I did like the conflict between all of the parties on board this ship. While there are definite bad guys and good guys here, lines blur along the way as Ellen falls for one of the good guys and attempts to betray Rene. The film also does a great job of soaking in the South African locale—though the film says it is taking place in the Gulf of Mexico. I also liked the outer threat of the circling local pirates who are simply waiting for the gold to be found. This is a pretty low budget dubbed German flick, obviously named to ride the tide of JAWS, but despite that, it actually is a fun little heist flick highlighting the worst of human qualities…and just a pinch of shark action.