Charles Berlitz's The Bermuda Triangle (1979)

G | 90 mins | Documentary | 3 January 1979

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HISTORY

The film concludes with the following statement: “The events you have just seen have been based on actual accounts, but all of the persons depicted in these events have been portrayed by professional actors and actresses.”
       End credits include the following acknowledgements: “The producers wish to express their appreciation to the following persons or organizations. Mention should not construe, however, a meaning that any such persons or organizations necessarily endorses the views presented in this feature: Joseph M. Golden, N.O.A.A., consultant, U.S. Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; Dr. Lee Tepley, Undersea Lava Flow; Dr. J. Manson Valentine, special consultant; Confederate Air Force, Harlingen, Texas; Federal Aviation Association, Southwest Region; Fort Brown Properties, Inc., Brownsville, Texas; Harlingen Airport, Harlingen, Texas; KDUV, Brownsville, Texas; Marine Military Academy, Harlingen, Texas; National Aeronautics Space Agency; Rosenberg Library, Galveston, Texas; The Department of the Navy; The Midnight/Globe; The National Enquirer; Unicorn Maritime Institute, Tampa, Florida; United States Geological Survey; U.S.S. Stewart, Seawolf Park, Galveston, Texas; U.S. Submarine Veterans World War II, Galveston, Texas; Young American Showcase, St. Petersburg, Florida.”
       End credits also noted that teh picture was “Filmed entirely on location.”
       The film received negative reviews for regurgitating a well-worn pseudoscience and presenting it in, what the 5 Jan 1979 LAT called, “such plodding fashion that it threatens to put to sleep all the most dedicated Bermuda Triangle buffs.” The 17 Jan 1979 Var critic pointed out that the film’s effective advertising campaign was the actual “achievement” of distributor Schick Sunn Classic Pictures, whose previous exploitative documentaries, such as In Search of Noah’s Ark (1977, see entry) and Beyond and Back ... More Less

The film concludes with the following statement: “The events you have just seen have been based on actual accounts, but all of the persons depicted in these events have been portrayed by professional actors and actresses.”
       End credits include the following acknowledgements: “The producers wish to express their appreciation to the following persons or organizations. Mention should not construe, however, a meaning that any such persons or organizations necessarily endorses the views presented in this feature: Joseph M. Golden, N.O.A.A., consultant, U.S. Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; Dr. Lee Tepley, Undersea Lava Flow; Dr. J. Manson Valentine, special consultant; Confederate Air Force, Harlingen, Texas; Federal Aviation Association, Southwest Region; Fort Brown Properties, Inc., Brownsville, Texas; Harlingen Airport, Harlingen, Texas; KDUV, Brownsville, Texas; Marine Military Academy, Harlingen, Texas; National Aeronautics Space Agency; Rosenberg Library, Galveston, Texas; The Department of the Navy; The Midnight/Globe; The National Enquirer; Unicorn Maritime Institute, Tampa, Florida; United States Geological Survey; U.S.S. Stewart, Seawolf Park, Galveston, Texas; U.S. Submarine Veterans World War II, Galveston, Texas; Young American Showcase, St. Petersburg, Florida.”
       End credits also noted that teh picture was “Filmed entirely on location.”
       The film received negative reviews for regurgitating a well-worn pseudoscience and presenting it in, what the 5 Jan 1979 LAT called, “such plodding fashion that it threatens to put to sleep all the most dedicated Bermuda Triangle buffs.” The 17 Jan 1979 Var critic pointed out that the film’s effective advertising campaign was the actual “achievement” of distributor Schick Sunn Classic Pictures, whose previous exploitative documentaries, such as In Search of Noah’s Ark (1977, see entry) and Beyond and Back (1978, see entry), lured audiences to theaters through “60-second gems” on television. Similarly, the 12 Jan 1979 HR critic stated that the film, targeted for the “tabloid” newspaper audience, “is almost assured of turning a quick profit due to the marketing strategy.”
       According to a 21 May 1979 HR item, the film earned more than $5 million at the box-office after three weeks in U.S. theaters. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Hollywood Reporter
12 Jan 1979
p. 34.
Hollywood Reporter
21 May 1979.
---
Los Angeles Times
5 Jan 1979
Section F, p. 15.
Variety
17 Jan 1979
p. 21.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
Sunn Classic Pictures Presents
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
Dir of underwater unit
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Asst cam
Best boy gaffer
Equip grip
1st grip
Still photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Asst film ed
SET DECORATORS
Const supv
Carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Set dec
Prop master
Asst props
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set laborer
COSTUMES
Ward mistress
Asst ward
MUSIC
Mus comp and cond
Mus performed by
Mus supv
Mus ed
SOUND
Sd mixer
Boom man
Dial ed
Sd eff supv
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Titles & opt eff
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Asst makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod exec
Post-prod supv
Scr supv
Business coord
Loc mgr
Prod asst
Public affairs
Prod secy
Res supv
Film res
Dial dir
Film librarian
Transportation capt
Mechanic
Film runner
Tech adv
Tech adv
Tech adv
Tech adv
Tech adv
STAND INS
Stunt coord
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col by
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the book The Bermuda Triangle by Charles Berlitz (Garden City, 1974).
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Il Triangolo Delle Bermude
The Bermuda Triangle
Release Date:
3 January 1979
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 3 January 1979
Copyright Claimant:
Schick Sunn Classic Productions, Inc.
Copyright Date:
29 September 1978
Copyright Number:
PA23725
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo
Color
Duration(in mins):
90
MPAA Rating:
G
Countries:
Italy, Mexico, United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In the Atlantic Ocean, a body of water, known as the “Bermuda Triangle,” which is bordered by Miami, Florida, San Juan, Puerto Rico, and the island of Bermuda, has been the site of numerous disappearances and unexplained occurrences for centuries. Beginning with explorer Christopher Columbus, evidence from travel logs indicate that early sailors witnessed otherworldly lights in the sky as well as a ship mysteriously sailing across still water, although no wind was present. When several American vessels, such as the USS Insurgent and USS Pickering, disappeared at the beginning of the nineteenth century, the U.S. Navy began keeping records of strange phenomenon in the area, which at that time was coined the “Sea of Fear.” In 1945, the name changed to the “Bermuda Triangle” after five U.S. Navy bombers of “Flight Nineteen” disappeared while on a training mission. Fragmented transmission from the pilots pointed to navigation failure on board and sightings of strange lights. During the massive search and rescue operation, another aircraft and its crew went missing. A U.S. Navy inquiry into Flight Nineteen concluded that a simultaneous malfunction of instrumentation occurred, but a cause could not be determined. As boats and aircraft continued to vanish in the Triangle, the following explanations emerged: underwater mines and bombs leftover from previous wars; whirlpools on the surface caused by pressure in sea caves; underwater earthquakes; and waterspouts. These theories, however, might account for the loss of a small craft, but not the large ships or planes. Furthermore, these occurrences ... +


In the Atlantic Ocean, a body of water, known as the “Bermuda Triangle,” which is bordered by Miami, Florida, San Juan, Puerto Rico, and the island of Bermuda, has been the site of numerous disappearances and unexplained occurrences for centuries. Beginning with explorer Christopher Columbus, evidence from travel logs indicate that early sailors witnessed otherworldly lights in the sky as well as a ship mysteriously sailing across still water, although no wind was present. When several American vessels, such as the USS Insurgent and USS Pickering, disappeared at the beginning of the nineteenth century, the U.S. Navy began keeping records of strange phenomenon in the area, which at that time was coined the “Sea of Fear.” In 1945, the name changed to the “Bermuda Triangle” after five U.S. Navy bombers of “Flight Nineteen” disappeared while on a training mission. Fragmented transmission from the pilots pointed to navigation failure on board and sightings of strange lights. During the massive search and rescue operation, another aircraft and its crew went missing. A U.S. Navy inquiry into Flight Nineteen concluded that a simultaneous malfunction of instrumentation occurred, but a cause could not be determined. As boats and aircraft continued to vanish in the Triangle, the following explanations emerged: underwater mines and bombs leftover from previous wars; whirlpools on the surface caused by pressure in sea caves; underwater earthquakes; and waterspouts. These theories, however, might account for the loss of a small craft, but not the large ships or planes. Furthermore, these occurrences do not provide a reason for the absence of any wreckage found. Narrator Brad Crandall states that several people have survived incidents in the Triangle and reported their experiences. For example, tugboat captain Don Henry witnessed a sudden cloud of mist that left the atmosphere freezing cold, while the rails around the boat were burning hot. In 1974, the British cruise ship, Queen Elizabeth II, temporarily vanished from U.S. Coast Guard radar while traveling across the Triangle with 1500 passengers. Many experts agree that the Triangle does have “navigational deadspots” as well as luminous white waters, which are thought to be explained by the mythical lost city of Atlantis. According to the writings of Plato and the predictions of psychic Edgar Cayce, the ruins of Atlantis are located underwater near the island of Bimini, which lies within the Triangle. In 1968, archeologists discovered walls of irregular stones in this area. Cayce claimed that Atlantis contained a powerful crystal called the “Tuaoi Stone,” which derives energy from magnetic forces in the universe. If the crystal still exists underwater, its energy field could account for compass problems and glowing light in the region. Crandall also describes the theory of “magnetic vortex” where time and space becomes distorted, resulting in objects disappearing and reappearing. For example, a 727 commercial aircraft approaching the Miami airport once slipped off radar screens for ten minutes, during which time the pilots noticed a strange haze in the sky. After landing, the pilots' watches and the plane’s clock were behind by ten minutes. Authorities, however, covered up the incident. Crandall explains that these time warp episodes could also be explained by physicist Albert Einstein’s “complex unified field” theory, whereby matter is transformed or shifted to another dimension through concentrations of magnetism, similar to the ones that exist in the Triangle. To clarify, Crandall describes a rumored U.S. government secret test in 1943, called the “Philadelphia Experiment,” which applied Einstein’s theory to generate an artificial magnetic field around the Navy ship, USS Eldridge, making it temporarily vanish. The idea of a magnetic storm to make objects disappear and reappear also interested astronomer and scientific philosopher, Dr. M. K. Jessup, who proposed that unidentified flying objects (UFOs) might employ a similar technique. Jessup investigated the Philadelphia Experiment, but died, possibly under suspicious circumstances, before reporting his findings. As a final theory, Crandall explains that the Triangle could provide a time warp opening for UFOs to enter our atmosphere. There have been several documented UFO sightings in the region by individuals, such as rower and adventurer John Fairfax, and also by residents of Puerto Rico, who reported similar accounts of alien vessels in the sky in 1972. Furthermore, globe-shaped lights have been spotted by ships and boaters moving rapidly underneath Triangle waters. Although authorities and scientists differ on explanations for the mysteries of the Bermuda Triangle, the fact of numerous disappearances concentrated in one area remains difficult to dispute. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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