The Sharkfighters (1956)


Victor Mature (Samson and Delilah) leads an ensemble cast in this underwhelming adventure about Navy scientists in Cuba trying to invent an effective shark repellent for downed pilots. With a title like The Sharkfighters, you might expect to see people fighting sharks. But apart from one character being bitten and dying, there’s precious little shark action in this movie. To fill the void, the screenplay tries to make drama between Mature’s character and his wife (Karen Steele), and among the scientific research team, which includes Claude Akins (Rio Bravo). Unfortunately, the male characters are all too stiff to ever become endearing and Steele’s character turns into a whiny harpy. Composer Jerome Moross works overtime with a repetitive, jazzy score that tries to make the film more exciting, but there’s only so much that can be done to liven up a group of men on a boat looking at puny little tiger sharks. Rafael Campos’s young supporting character, an eager boy who aids the men on their sea missions, is the most charismatic and engaging thing about the movie.

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