Amusing Monday: Time-warp view of ‘Fish from Hell’

If this week’s film “Fish from Hell” is any indication, Americans’ view of life in the ocean has changed considerably since 1945. (Scroll down for video player.)

I found this film in the Prelinger Archives, a large collection of old films and television commercials started in 1983 by Rick Prelinger in New York City.

It’s a longer video than I usually offer for Amusing Monday. But if you pick any point on either of the two video segments you will find something interesting, if not shocking. If you are limited on time, check out Part 2 at 2 minutes, 50 seconds, where the fear of a large octopus is truly amusing, knowing what we know about these creatures in Puget Sound. The storyline of “man against nature” seems quaint from a modern scientific perspective, but I wonder how many people still hold this world view.

A description of the film in the archive by Ken Smith says it is nothing more than “murky stock footage of men on a fishing trawler” except for the narration by Wilfred Lucas. “Mr. Lucas pulls no punches,” Smith says. “In this violent world, decent men kill every fish they meet. But that’s okay, because — as Mr. Lucas explains — fish are evil and deserve to die.”

Other comments in the “reviews” section also were interesting:

Whitetip: “When I see this, I feel sick. But I get sick whenever killing is sold as sport. To underline this, the movie could be very helpful, serving as a bad example – but only if it is presented with the right introduction. Something like: ‘You are about to watch stupidity at its finest…’ or ‘Don´t try this on your planet…’”

HappyVoice: “The narrator was obviously given a script which he reads quite well with feigned emotion, but his declared hatred of sea-dwelling creatures is clearly nonsense that he himself does not believe. Bringing us up to the twenty-first century, we love all animals, including those living in the water, much more than we used to, but much of that is simply because we hate to see them disappear through overfishing and human greed for profit.”

Fish from Hell, Part 1

Fish from Hell, Part 2

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