Good Eatin’

The post-Jaws cycle saw Italy became a hub for knock-offs, including more than one killer reptile. In this case, obviously, it’s an alligator in waters flush with crocodiles.

If that doesn’t make sense, Great Alligator acknowledges this oddity, playing up a religious angle – the ‘gator is a manifestation of the local tribe’s god. Visiting a priest for answers, the heroes find a disheveled man, who while still holding onto his crucifix and rosary inside the cave that is his home, has gone mad at the thought of this water-dwelling deity.

Great Alligator offers slightly more subtlety to its monster

Inevitably, this island paradise is taken over by a business owner looking to create a resort, which employs local natives, devastating their culture. Scenes of the natives dancing and drunkenly wandering are met with disgust by the rational, empathetic hero, Daniel (Claudio Cassinelli).

Rather than the alligator being a natural threat, Great Alligator offers slightly more subtlety to its monster. It’s infused by the will of a god. It’s not fighting greed so much as exploitation and ruination. Daniel, circa 1979, plays a stereotyped bleeding heart for that era, a photographer more curious about art and environmental concerns than paying bills. He’s also the only one to show true disdain for what’s happening to this paradise.

Playing up dated tropes, the final act sees Great Alligator drift toward King Kong, the Italian producers pulling from more than one source. Co-star Barbara Bach finds herself tied up as a sacrifice for much of the finale, while the island’s all-white visitors become victims to the tribe they wronged.

It’s marginally interesting plotting, if not performed or produced with nuance. A rubbery, bath tub-toy-like ‘gator mars an otherwise successful full size monster that chomp down civilians, at least those who don’t succumb to spears tossed by the tribe. Frantic editing hides the seams and creates panic where the tiny cast might not otherwise suggest scale. Great Alligator passably entertains as the standard monster-on-the-loose formula plays out, if with a little extra story kick.

Video

A bit scratch and dent, the print used by Severin for this release has its share of damage, but that adds charm to this exploitation flick. Generally, the print looks crisp enough to produce gorgeous definition and detail. Facial texture keeps up a consistent pace, fantastic at its peak considering the production origin.

The digitized film stock contains glamorous color too, the location brilliantly saturated with greenery and blue skies. Flesh tones reach a satisfying level without looking unnatural. Grain resolves well, a few instances of chroma noise aside; those pass quickly.

Intense, vivid HDR adds a spark to Great Alligator, with fantastic enhancement to sun-drenched locales and torches. Even a white t-shirt can drive brightness into the frame. Black levels appear perfectly balanced and calibrated to add depth.

Audio

Both English and Italian mixes come in DTS-HD mono. Note the Italian audio contains proper translation with a separate subtitle track. Both sound their age, with scratchy, worn dialog and uneventful soundtrack. Italian dialog sounds brighter and louder in the mix, the only benefit.

Extras

Other than a trailer, everything resides on the Blu-ray. Mostly, that’s interviews. Those include director Sergio Martino, actress Silvia Collatina, production design Antonio Geleng, camera operator Claudio Morabito, and underwater camera operator Gianlorenzo Battaglia. Geleng returns in another piece where he shows his original production drawings, and yet again for a roundtable discussion with effect supervisor Paolo Ricci and cinematographer Giancarlo Ferrando. Finally, author Lee Gambin publishes a video essay about the film.

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

The Great Alligator
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras
2

Movie

A clumsy Jaws knock-off, The Great Alligator is everything Italian knock-offs of the era inspired to be – which is to say, not much.

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User Review
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The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 36 full resolution uncompressed 4K screen shots grabbed directly from the UHD:


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