Movie Diary 2/24/2010

Namu, the Killer Whale (Laslo Benedek, 1966). After I watched this today, for the first time since seeing it at its world premiere at the Orpheum Theater in Seattle, a trainer got killed by a killer whale in Orlando’s Sea World. That’s awful, and whales shouldn’t be kept in pens. Namu was the second killer whale held in captivity (also my childhood hero) and although his close observation was an important event in the understanding of how damn smart and social whales are, his capture was also the first evidence that whales don’t belong in captivity. The movie’s not much of anything, but it has great footage of people swimming with Namu, shot by some of the crew that worked on producer Ivan Tors’ “Flipper” TV show (that show’s formula – swimming every day + sunshine + dolphin as best friend – was my idea of paradise at age seven). The movie is re-titled for DVD: Namu My Best Friend, which is almost as bad as calling killer whales orcas.