Picks and Pans Review: The Sharks

updated 05/12/1986 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/12/1986 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Both of these fascinating, beautifully photographed wildlife documentaries were originally produced for National Geographic public-TV specials. The Sharks, filmed by the husband-wife team of Ron and Valerie Taylor and narrated by Alexander Scourby, is something of an apologia. Director-writer Nicolas Noxon minimizes the danger sharks pose to man and makes a case that men, by wantonly slaughtering sharks, are the real killing machines. In that context it's counterproductive to use ominous background musïc—not unlike the here-comes-Bruce theme in Jaws—behind so much of the shark footage. And while it's no doubt of great relevance to science, rare film of sharks sleeping is not exactly boffo movie material. Still, the eerie beauty of these creatures is clear, and the tape will make you feel safer going back in the water. Stanley Breeden and Belinda Wright, also a husband-wife team, spent two and a half years in India amassing the extraordinary footage in Land of the Tiger. There are scenes of tigers mating and a mother suckling her cubs. Most of the 56-minute tape, though, is devoted to tigers hunting. With their batting average, they should envy the branch of the family in Detroit—tigers only make a kill once in every 20 stalks, according to Richard Kiley's narration, written by Breeden. The animals' patience, however, is as impressive as their grace; the best sequence shows a tigress stalking a herd of antelope. Both tapes show natural violence that might frighten younger children; the most gruesome scenes are those of sharks being blown apart by explosives. (Vestron, $29.95 each)

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