AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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Titans of the Deep
Director: Otis Barton (Dir)
Release Date:   28 Oct 1938
Duration (in mins):   39-40 or 47-48
Duration (in feet):   4,353 or 4,256
Duration (in reels):   5
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Cast:   Dr. William Beebe    
    Otis Barton    
    John Tee Van    
    Gloria Hollister    
    Joan Igou    
    Jocelyn Crane    

Summary: After an introduction to Otis Barton and an explanation of his bathysphere, which is strong enough to withstand the pressue of deep-sea diving due to its spherical shape and extremely durable cast of an alloy of chrome and nichol, Barton discusses with narrator Lowell Thomas all of the functions of the bathysphere. Following this explanation, the bathysphere is taken by boat to the waters surrounding the island of Bermuda. Dr. William Beebe, a noted scientist, and his assistant, Joan Igou, prepare for the undersea expedition, and soon make a dive. During the expedition, the scientists encounter many undersea creatures, including tiger sharks, octopi, giant ray, and lobsters. During one of the dives, another female scientist, Yvonne, is trapped by a barracuda, and Igou rushes to her aid, killing the barracuda with a 22 callibre rifle. On another dive, Igou is rescued by members of the party when her air hose is cut by the wreckage of an old ship. Finally, when a shark comes too close to Barton, he is forced to throw his camera equipment at the shark to save his life. The shark is killed when the camera crashes into his mouth, and in order to retrieve the equipment, the ship's crew must pull the shark up on deck and cut open its stomach. 

Distribution Company: Grand National Pictures, Inc.  
Director: Otis Barton (Dir)
Producer: E. W. Hammons (Pres)
  Otis Barton (Prod)
Writer: Lowell Thomas (Story)
Photography: Frank Dalrymple (Photog)
  Edward Ewer (Photog)
Film Editor: Sam Citron (Ed)
Production Misc: Lowell Thomas (Narr)
Country: United States

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Grand National Pictures, Inc. 28/10/1938 dd/mm/yyyy MU8848

Physical Properties: Sd:
  b&w:

 
Genre: Documentary
 
Subjects (Major): William Barton
  Dr. William Beebe
  Divers and diving
  Expeditions
  Scientists
  Sea animals
 
Subjects (Minor): Bathyspheres
  Bermuda Islands
  Deep-sea sounding
  Fish
  Lobsters
  Octopi
  Scientific apparatus and instruments
  Sea rescues
  Sharks

Note: Plot information is taken from the film's cutting continuity, contained within copyright records. That continuity lists the picture's length as 4,353 ft, although records from the New York state censor board lists the length as 4,256 ft. Although the cutting continuity lists a PCA certificate number, 02086, that certificate number was not issued for this film. No information on the film was located in the MPAA/PCA Collection files in the AMPAS Library. A written foreword to the documentary states: "The Beebe Bathysphere Expeditions are historic in the study of the oceanic depths. For ages mankind dreamed of deep-sea exploration, but the great pressures of the underwater were invincible--until this modern era created the bathysphere, in which the sub-oceanic explorer has descended into the abyss of the sea. The diving sphere was built by Otis Barton, himself a naturalist, who joined forces with Dr. William Beebe and was a partner in the Bermuda Deep Sea Expeditions. And Otis Barton made other motion picture records of memorable adventures in the deep. These are the motion pictures of the bathysphere exploration of the submerged realm of the sea--a classic of scientic exploration and adventure." As noted in the film, Barton was the inventor of the Bathysphere, a device used for underwater exploration and photography. Reviewers noted that the picture was a "longish" short subject, but not the usual length of feature documentaries. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Film Daily   14 Nov 38   p. 6.
Motion Picture Daily   11 Nov 38   p. 8.
Motion Picture Herald   19 Nov 38   p. 42.
New York Post   10-Nov-38   
New York Times   10 Nov 38   p.33.

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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.
 
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