Written by: Michael Den Boer on January 8th, 2011
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, November 3rd, 1979
Director: Sergio Martino
Writers: Cesare Frugoni, Ernesto Gastaldi, Sergio Martino, Luigi Montefiore, Maria Chianetta
Cast: Barbara Bach, Claudio Cassinelli, Mel Ferrer, Romano Puppo
DVD released: Janaury 25th, 2010
Approximate running time: 89 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English, Dolby Digital Mono Italian
DVD Release: Mya Communication
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.99
Synopsis: Joshua (Mel Ferrer) is a wealthy business man who has built a resort in a tropical paradise. Joshua hires photographer Daniel Nessel (Claudio Cassinelli) to take photographs to help promote his new resort. Things start to go wrong when the model that came with Daniel disappears the night before the resort has its grand opening. Joshua not wanting to start a panic covers up the model’s disappearance. Daniel with the help of Alice Brandt (Barbara Bach) search for the missing girl. They soon find out that the Kuma natives’ god Kroona a giant alligator is angered by the modernization of his sacred land exacts its revenge by devouring everyone in its path.
In the 1970’s if something was successful in Hollywood chances are the Italian film industry would then make countless cheap knock offs. Most of these films were released around the world and very few would ever see theatrical exhibitions in North America. Sergio Martino more than any other director working at the time in Italy shifted effortlessly from genre to genre crafting several genre classics.
Steven Spielberg’s Jaw’s is obviously the main influence that inspired Sergio Martino’s Alligator. Which has a underwater creature that feasts mainly on tourists. The shark in Jaw’s and the alligator in this film suffer similar demises. The films exotic locals are beautifully photographed and as usual Sergio Martino’s direction is solid as he fills the film with his distinctive style. The alligator does look cheap at times still the underwater photography is extremely effective. The plot isn’t exactly original as its takes several theme’s from various creature films that now all feel cliché. The acting in this film is merely adequate as no one really stands out or shines. Bond girl Barbara Bach provides eye candy in her limited screen time and Mel Ferrer is entertaining as the unscrupulous business man. Out of the various genres that Sergio Martino has worked in the action adventure genre is the one that holds the least interest with me. Alligator is an above average B film that has a few moments that bring on unintentional laughter and to its credit this film effective keeps the alligator off screen as much as possible not to give away how cheap it looks. Content wise Alligator is a cross between the animal vs. people films of the 1970’s and the action adventure stories written by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Overall Alligator is not one of Sergio Martino’s strongest efforts; still it offers plenty of action and adventure that is distinctively Italian.
Alligator is presented in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the film’s original 2.35:1 scope aspect ratio. This progressive flagged transfer has been sourced from the restored original vault 2p negative. Alligator was original released in North American on DVD by No Shame Films in 2005 under the title The Big Alligator River. Even though the film has been given an alternate title, this transfer looks very similar to the transfer for the No Shame DVD release. Also the No Shame DVD release was a dual layer, while this release is a single layer presentation.
This release comes with two audio options, a Dolby Digital Mono mix in English and a Dolby Digital Mono mix in Italian. Both audio mixes sound clear and balanced throughout. There are no problems with background noise or distortion. Also included with this release are removable English subtitles that are easy to follow and error free.
Extras for this release include two trailers, the English language trailer (2 minutes 49 seconds – anamorphic widescreen), the Italian language trailer with English subtitles (2 minutes 50 seconds), English language opening credits and a image gallery with stills, artwork, lobby cards and posters. Overall Alligator gets a strong audio / video presentation from Mya Communication.