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This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

Fish Story

Piranha (1972) on IMDb

Plot Overview

photographerYanqui photographers Terry (Ahna Capri, whose name spelled backward is piranha) and her brother Arthur Greene (Tom Simcox) are on a mission to preserve a record of one of the last pristine places on Earth. They rendezvous with their jungle escort Jim “Tarzan” Pendrake (Peter Brown) at the busy Caracas air­port. An early scene of Terry photo­graphing the crowd grabbing some spilled diamonds while Art tries to get one him­self shows who's serious and who's baggage on this trip. “Casanova” Art also takes part in Caracas's swinging night life before they embark for the jungle. A chance meeting in a bar with a “renowned hunter” named Caribe (William Smith) results in a motor­cycle race between the two macho men to liven up the trip. Then the four of them take off for the back­country: Terry to take pictures, Art to do some prospecting, Jim to shepherd the crew, and Caribe to hunt. Their late start necessitates Caribe put them up in his jungle dwelling for the night. Some unpleasant surprises await.


In 1972 at the height of the Vietnam protests in America, Terry is the quint­essential peacenik opposed even to hunting animals, to say nothing of war. Caribe hunts “every­thing”—literally. The tension between these two forms the core of the movie.

The ascent
of man

Caribe takes us back to the Dawn of Man. There were, he expounds, two great apes: the australo­pithecus africanus and the australo­pithecus robustus. The africanus was wily and secured for him­self the femur of some animal. With it (as a club) he found he was well fed and nobody messed with him. From him evolved “man's aggressive tendencies and desires.” They have since become instinctual and manifest now in the expositor. Terry's reference to every­body being more enlightened now, wanting peace and harmony, would derive from the robustus who had a more robust population expansion. The minority population, though, operates on affemurtive action. Today's political correctness might not allow the issuing of a movie depicting two separate austral lines—one even gets in trouble calling some­one oriental—but in 1972 nobody cared.

The Christian archetype of the post-diluvial dawn of man would correspond to Noah and his three sons: (Gen. 9:18-19) “And the sons of Noah, that went forth of the ark, were Shem, and Ham, and Japheth: and Ham is the father of Canaan. These are the three sons of Noah: and of them was the whole earth over­spread.” Siblings tend to pair up, and Shem & Japheth were a duo of some kind, but Ham being the odd man out picked up his youngest son Canaan in the biblical narrative.

(Gen. 9:20-23) “And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard: And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent. And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the naked­ness of his father, and told his two brethren with­out. And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went back­ward, and covered the naked­ness of their father; and their faces were back­ward, and they saw not their father's naked­ness.” Caribe's name means piranha whom the Indians named for his poor table manners. In the movie he sweeps Terry off her feet so the shallow water piranha can't get at her, but later alone at his cabin he ravishes her leaving her slumped on a table. We might say that he had bad table manners showing his aggressive tendencies, as broadly speaking Ham had bad table manners, too.

(Gen. 9:24-27) “And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son [Ham] had done unto him. And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren. And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant. God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.” Japheth was to be integrated with (to dwell in the tents of) Shem. From Shem come the Semites, of course. Writer Bodie Hodge holds forth that: “Generally, from the Middle East in the land of Shinar (modern-day Iraq, where Babel was), Japheth's descendants went north toward Europe and Asia, Ham's went toward Africa, and Shem's remained in the Middle East” (183). The servitude of Ham as passing to his youngest son Canaan also encompassed his eldest son Cush, see Gen. 10:6. Cush is Hebrew for black, whose descendants settled in Africa. Canaan is the youngest son of Ham carrying the curse on the whole family by a figure of speech called a synecdoche whereby a part stands for the whole. (Jasher 73:35) “For the Lord our God gave Ham the son of Noah, and his children and all his seed, as slaves to the children of Shem and to the children of Japheth, and unto their seed after them for slaves, forever.”

In our movie we see but one black back laboring away in the depths of a diamond mine, so the movie isn't focused on Negro slavery per se. Similarly, there is no semitic emphasis apart from the photography grant that may have come from rich Jews, but who knows? Japheth, whose name means expand and whose offspring expanded all over the world, had a robust population growth, whose ethnic groups were dis­played in closeup many times through­out the movie. This is the docile branch.

This movie focuses on another line of Ham. Cush is the oldest son of Ham who is Noah's youngest. In the movie Caribe is referred to as a “renowned hunter.” In the Bible Nimrod is a “mighty hunter:” (Gen. 10:8-9) “And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the LORD: where­fore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the LORD.” The movie develops Caribe as a “bad man,” and Nimrod for his part got into all kinds of trouble founding the wicked city of Babylon and building the rebellious Tower of Babel.

This movie sidesteps the issue of skin color by representing Ham's line with a light-skinned man. The civil rights movement back in the day denounced dis­crimin­ation based on skin color. In this movie they must discriminate between venomous snakes and non- based on their pigmentation, but that's as far as they get.

Production Values

” (1972) was directed by Bill Gibson. It was written by Richard Finder. It stars William Smith, Peter Brown, and Ahna Capri. The cast is great, but Capri is shallow. Simcox seems like a regular Joe on an adventure. Smith out­does him­self in his villain role. I was thinking of complimenting the period costuming and hair styles, but since it was shot in 1972, they selected from off the shelf. Every­one wore bells, which we don't see any­more. The women had their hair up and the men long. Every­one was thinner back then, and their speech more expressive before being muzzled by political correctness. Unabashed free love was flourishing. I got all nostalgic just watching this flick.

wildebeestIt's rated PG having some PG frights as one might see in a Tarzan movie but nothing to out­right traumatize the youngsters as would “Jaws” that came along later. The stock wild­life footage added a nice touch. It included a mellow folk song: “Love All Things That Love the Sun,” written and sung by Jim Stein. It was filmed in Nicaragua. The aspect ratio: 1.85 : 1 was practically a square on my screen—adjust it for a perfect circle in the shot taken through the camera lens. The cinema­tog­raphy is in places creative. It's 1½ hours long.

Review Conclusion w/a Christian's Recommendation

This is a good movie if you are expecting a nice adventure-drama with some danger at the end. It doesn't string the tension tight all the way through. It's more of an old time movie experience than a modern bombardment. It's a good B movie.

Movie Ratings

Action factor: Decent action scenes. Suitability for children: Suitable for children with guidance. Special effects: Average special effects. Video Occasion: Better than watching TV. Suspense: A few suspenseful moments. Overall movie rating: Three stars out of five.

Works Cited

Scripture quoted from the King James Version. Pub. 1611, rev. 1769. Software.

The Book of Jasher. Trans­lated from the Hebrew into English (1840). Photo litho­graphic reprint of exact edition published by J.H. Parry & Co., Salt Lake City: 1887. Muskogee, OK: Artisan Pub., 1988. Print, WEB.

Hodge, Bodie. Tower of Babel: The Cultural History of Our Ancestors. Green Forest, AR: New Leaf Pub., 2013. Print.