|Henry Fonda calling his agent after|
appearing in Tentacles.
Huston and Winters play brother and sister; he's an investigative reporter and she's a single mother. Huston's writer somehow connects a series of mysterious deaths around Solana Beach with an underground tunnel being built by an industrialist played by Henry Fonda. He's right, of course...Fonda's company's excavations have unleashed a giant octopus that likes to eat people. Have I mentioned that Tentacles was made two years after Jaws shattered box office records?
|Shelley Winters makes hats popular again.|
|Huston discussing the squid--no, I mean|
octopus!--with Claude Akins.
There are two reasons to watch Tentacles. The first is a Fritz Lang-worthy scene near the beginning in which a mother has parked her baby carriage near the shoreline as she crosses the street to talk with a friend. The camera frames the mother in the foreground and the baby carriage (with little Billy inside) in the background. It's a disturbing scene as the viewer waits for a slimy tentacle to snatch little Billy. Cars pass by between mother and child. Then, as a final car cruises by, we see that the baby carriage is now floating on the water. It's an effective sequence and gave me hope (false hope, as you know by now).
|Hopkins gives his big speech...to|
a killer whale.
"I guess you know now why I brought you here. I wanted to tell you more about it, but there've been many people that died... I've lost a loved one. I need your help more now than ever. I remember the times when I was training you--people used to call you killers. They used to call me that on the streets. It doesn't mean nothing. You have more, more love in your heart, more affection than any human being I ever met. But now I...I can't ask anybody else, so I'm asking you to help me kill this octopus. I hope you understand that. I know I'm in your environment. I don't want it this way, but if I release you and you go away, I want you to know I'll understand. All right, enough said. I gotta go now. If you feel anything--you talk to me. Make some noises. I know people'll think we're crazy. Maybe we are...maybe we are...."
If there's a tear running down your cheek, I'm sorry I didn't warn you about the raw emotion of that passage. Honestly, I don't know how Hopkins delivered it with a straight face, but--to his credit--he does. He also went on to carve out a solid acting career, mostly in television series like Dynasty.
As for Henry Fonda, he weathered follow-ups like The Swarm and Rollercoaster to win an Oscar in 1981 for On Golden Pond. As a director, John Huston was Oscar-nominated for Prizzi's Honor in 1985. Only Shelley Winters missed out on an opportunity for redemption. Ditto for the giant octopus, too, of course.