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SHARKS’ TREASURE(director/writer: Cornel Wilde; cinematographer: Jack Atcheler; editor: Byron Brandt; cast: Cornel Wilde (Jim Carnahan), Yaphet Kotto (Ben Flynn), John Neilson (Ron Walker), David Canary (Larry Hicks), Cliff Osmond (Lobo), David Gilliam (Juanito), Caesar Cordova (Pablo), Gene Borkhan (Kook), Dale Ishimoto (Ishi); Runtime: 95; United Artists; 1975)
“An action-packed nonsense thriller that is very entertaining.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

One film critic, Tom Milne, aptly said that “Cornel Wilde maintains his reputation in this film for making the most likable bad movies around.” Sharks’ Treasure is an action-packed nonsense thriller that is very entertaining. In this oddity film, Wilde is the producer, writer, director, and star. He could have used someone else to give him some help with the plot and he could have worked more with the supporting cast to make their roles more plausible and meaty. Everyone seemed like a cartoon character, as there was no attempt made at character development or for the storyline to make too much sense.

The film feels like it’s stuck in a strange space-warp, as the all-male treasure hunters are out at sea and are pretty close to going insane. The four treasure hunters who seek buried gold in the Caribbean’s shark infested waters are: the skipper Jim Carnahan (Cornel Wilde), the one who dives amidst the sharks Ben Flynn (Yaphet Kotto), a young man that the skipper favors but keeps calling to his displeasure kid–whose real name is Ron (Neilson), and another diver named Larry Hicks (David Canary).

In some of the most colorful scenes, they must battle the sharks to get to the sunken treasure. They also squabble amongst themselves, hear the skipper lecture them on the evils of tobacco and liquor, and have to put up with the 60-year-old skipper boasting how fit he is as he tries to impress them by doing one-handed push-ups on deck while impressing upon them the importance of keeping fit.

Their happiness over their new wealth is short-lived, as they are overtaken by a band of desperadoes. These hombres are bad dudes, bad actors, and bad punsters. The leader is Lobo (Osmond), a bad joke for what a rough Hispanic pirate should be like, who thinks of himself as a big man who should be respected. Lobo keeps a pretty-boy gringo, Juanito (Osmond), around as his trophy toy/boy lover. The five felons have escaped from prison and now plan to steal the treasure and the boat, and kill their captives, but emotions run high on the boat and a life-and-death struggle takes place. This all seems bizarre and hardly real, but it’s full of emotion. It’s a film that has to be seen to be treasured for what it makes of such a slight story.

REVIEWED ON 10/6/2001 GRADE: C +

Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”