The Way of the Wind (1976)

G | 104 mins | Documentary | 17 December 1976

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HISTORY

Credits include the following onscreen statement: “Filmed on actual locations around the world.”
       A 13 Nov 1971 LAT article reported that producer-director-writer-narrator-photographer Charles Tobias resigned from the electronics firm Varadyne, Inc., where he was chairman and chief executive officer, “as a result of conflicting outside business requirements.” The firm had claimed a net loss of $800,000 for the first quarter of fiscal year 1971-72, and lost $7 million in fiscal year 1970-71. A 6 Sep 1977 LAT brief stated that a month later, Tobias was on his boat and sailed 40,000 miles during the next five years. The voyage depicted in The Way of the Wind was approximately 9,000 miles and took several months.
       The documentary includes a re-creation of the moment Tobias quit his job, shot on location in Santa Monica, CA, and downtown Los Angeles, CA.
       The 17 Dec 1976 LAT review stated that the film played a one week engagement in selected theaters to qualify for Academy Award consideration.
       The 22 Dec 1976 Var review called The Way of the Wind “a formless documentary” that “seems as long for the viewer as it was for filmmaker Charles Tobias.”
...

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Credits include the following onscreen statement: “Filmed on actual locations around the world.”
       A 13 Nov 1971 LAT article reported that producer-director-writer-narrator-photographer Charles Tobias resigned from the electronics firm Varadyne, Inc., where he was chairman and chief executive officer, “as a result of conflicting outside business requirements.” The firm had claimed a net loss of $800,000 for the first quarter of fiscal year 1971-72, and lost $7 million in fiscal year 1970-71. A 6 Sep 1977 LAT brief stated that a month later, Tobias was on his boat and sailed 40,000 miles during the next five years. The voyage depicted in The Way of the Wind was approximately 9,000 miles and took several months.
       The documentary includes a re-creation of the moment Tobias quit his job, shot on location in Santa Monica, CA, and downtown Los Angeles, CA.
       The 17 Dec 1976 LAT review stated that the film played a one week engagement in selected theaters to qualify for Academy Award consideration.
       The 22 Dec 1976 Var review called The Way of the Wind “a formless documentary” that “seems as long for the viewer as it was for filmmaker Charles Tobias.”

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GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Hollywood Reporter
31 Jan 1977
p. 3.
Los Angeles Times
13 Nov 1971
Section C, p. 8.
Los Angeles Times
17 Dec 1976
p. 28.
Los Angeles Times
6 Sep 1977
Section B, p. 2.
Variety
22 Dec 1976
p. 20.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Film by Charles Tobias
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTOR
PRODUCER
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Addl photog
Addl photog
Addl photog
FILM EDITOR
MUSIC
Mus wrt and arr
Zither player
Oud player
DETAILS
Release Date:
17 December 1976
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 16 Dec 1976; Newport, RI, opening: 8 Sep 1977
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Duration(in mins):
104
MPAA Rating:
G
Country:
United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

In 1971, Santa Monica, CA, electronics executive Charles Tobias quits his job, tired of working fifteen-hour days. A month later, he and three other men, John Slinger Riise, Tom Blue, and Maynard Ackerman, along with a young chimpanzee named Tommy, set sail from Los Angeles, CA, on a sixty-foot yacht, the Mar. The voyage takes the ketch south along the Pacific coast, through the Panama Canal, across the Atlantic Ocean, and into the Mediterranean Sea, where Tobias hopes to fulfill a childhood dream of visiting Cleopatra Island and Kapi Cove in Asia Minor, part of modern-day Turkey. The first leg of the journey takes Tobias and his crew to the Panama Canal, and through its locks to the San Blas Islands, Panama. Tobias combs the beaches looking for large seashells that have mythic meaning for the local residents. The expedition’s next stops are St. Georges, Grenada, and Antigua, before the crew embarks on its first extended stretch of open water. In the Bermuda Triangle, the crew’s sailing ability is tested by storms. For the 2,300 mile trek across the Atlantic Ocean, the four men split into two teams, alternating four-hour watches and maintaining the vessel’s course. Tobias acknowledges that the sea has taught him how little he needs to be happy, and he does not miss the materialistic life he left behind. The crew fortuitously catches a nearly ten-foot marlin, after dumping most of the meat they had brought with them. Sixteen days later they safely make landfall at the port of Horta, a Portuguese settlement in the Azores, an archipelago in the North Atlantic. There, they witness the Feast of Corpus Christi and Tobias ...

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In 1971, Santa Monica, CA, electronics executive Charles Tobias quits his job, tired of working fifteen-hour days. A month later, he and three other men, John Slinger Riise, Tom Blue, and Maynard Ackerman, along with a young chimpanzee named Tommy, set sail from Los Angeles, CA, on a sixty-foot yacht, the Mar. The voyage takes the ketch south along the Pacific coast, through the Panama Canal, across the Atlantic Ocean, and into the Mediterranean Sea, where Tobias hopes to fulfill a childhood dream of visiting Cleopatra Island and Kapi Cove in Asia Minor, part of modern-day Turkey. The first leg of the journey takes Tobias and his crew to the Panama Canal, and through its locks to the San Blas Islands, Panama. Tobias combs the beaches looking for large seashells that have mythic meaning for the local residents. The expedition’s next stops are St. Georges, Grenada, and Antigua, before the crew embarks on its first extended stretch of open water. In the Bermuda Triangle, the crew’s sailing ability is tested by storms. For the 2,300 mile trek across the Atlantic Ocean, the four men split into two teams, alternating four-hour watches and maintaining the vessel’s course. Tobias acknowledges that the sea has taught him how little he needs to be happy, and he does not miss the materialistic life he left behind. The crew fortuitously catches a nearly ten-foot marlin, after dumping most of the meat they had brought with them. Sixteen days later they safely make landfall at the port of Horta, a Portuguese settlement in the Azores, an archipelago in the North Atlantic. There, they witness the Feast of Corpus Christi and Tobias accompanies an expedition of local men, who hunt whales from a six-oared skiff with hand-thrown harpoons. Next, the Mar heads 1,000 miles east across choppy seas to Gibraltar, before entering the Mediterranean Sea and stopping at the island of Malta. Two friends join the crew for a few days in port and help prepare the yacht for the rest of the trip. Another friend delivers a cheetah named Fifi as a companion for Tommy, but the chimpanzee is jealous of the feline. Later, Tobias and his crew investigate a six-year-old shipwreck, scuba diving through the boat’s hull. When the Mar is ready, the crew sets sails across the Aegean Sea, where they are entertained by the sight of dolphins swimming alongside the yacht. They reach the island of Delos, Greece, where they visit ancient ruins, before continuing ten miles north to Mykonos. The town’s many churches fascinate Tobias. Later, he accompanies a group of deep-sea divers to harvest sea sponges. The local divers ignore warnings about decompression sickness and one of the young men dies following a dive. The Mar sails to Cleopatra Island, an uninhabited strip of land only 400 yards by 800 yards in size. When Tobias was a child, a Greek neighbor regaled him with mythological lore and he fulfills his longtime desire to visit the region. Walking among the island’s ruins, Tobias is amazed that such a small piece of land features the remains of an amphitheater, which he estimates had a capacity of 3,000 people. Later, he and the crew dive and discover shards of ancient pottery and recover a 2,000-year-old amphora jug. With the expedition nearing its conclusion after two months of seafaring, Tobias and the crew toast the sunset with rum. They reach their final destination, sailing southeast to Kapi Cove. There, the men enjoy the quiet and solitude, swimming, reading, and exploring the nearby ghost towns and shipwrecks. When it is time to depart, Tobias acknowledges that he found the freedom, simplicity, and adventure he was looking for and quotes “Sea-Fever, ” a poem by John Masefield: “I must go down to the sea again, to the lonely sea and the sky/ And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by/ And the wheel’s kick and the wind's song and the white sail’s shaking/ And a grey mist on the sea’s face and a grey dawn breaking.”

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

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.