Sword Fishing (1939) Poster


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Personally, I was cheering for the fish.
llltdesq16 August 2001
This short was nominated for an Oscar. It's principal point of interest today is its narrator, one Ronald Wilson Reagan. There are some nice archery shots and the sword fish scores a moral victory of sorts, but it's only average or slightly above average. Turner Classic Movies runs this as filler and your best bet to catch it is in March during their "31 Days of Oscar" festival. Worth wtching to a degree. I was rooting for the fish myself.
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Decent Time Killer
Michael_Elliott2 March 2009
Sword Fishing (1939)

*** (out of 4)

Oscar-nominated short has Ronald Reagan narrating the story of "the world's greatest archer" Howard Hill who jumps on a boat and shows off his skill by shooting various fish including a marlin. This is a mildly entertaining short but needless to say members of PETA might want to stay away as there are quite a few fish that are killed and the large marlin seems to suffer quite a bit before finally dying. With that out of the way, there's nothing overly special about the short but it doesn't make for a bad ten-minute filler. The film pops up quite often on Turner Classic Movies so someone there must think it's very entertaining. Reagan's narration is actually very good as he comes off rather energetic and the archery shots are also nicely done.
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Back when we had hobbies....
mark.waltz6 April 2017
Warning: Spoilers
This is just another example of the types of films that you might get to see when going to the movies in 1939. All sorts of shorts, whether historical, comedy, cartoon, travelog or scientific. Literally showing fish with wings (quite a sight to behold!), this shows the hunt for swordfish, aka the marlin. It's a challenge, certainly dangerous and nearly impossible to catch. These predators of the deep are compared to carnivorous cats, eating their prey live, and certainly able to kill a man. This one reel short shows what it takes, and it ain't easy. Pretty interesting one reel short, and historical in showing a sport that might get lots of flack today, but certainly a tasty morsel if you plan on eating it rather than stuffing and mounting it for macho dude style showoffs.
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boblipton12 June 2019
I've done some spear fishing in my time, but this is the first time I've encountered arrow fishing. We listen to Ronald Reagan narrate this short subject, shot wild, of some men who go fishing for marlin, the big sports fish. While one guy is happy to fish fish for the big blues in the usual way, with a line and reel -- at least until the marlin breaks free and the fisherman falls down -- Howard Hill shoots them with his little bow and arrow.

Hill was a Hollywood specialist when it came to stunts: if you needed something shot with an arrow, he was your man. It was he who shot the arrows for Errol Flynn in THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD. He also directed and produced about ten shorts on archery.

This one looks goofy, but then someone who tries to catch swordfish in the usual way wind up looking pretty dumb too.
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The sadistic murders of at least four fish folks . . .
oscaralbert15 October 2015
Warning: Spoilers
. . . are gleefully narrated by Ronald Reagan, in a 10-minute live-action short suppressed by George H.W. Bush's parent agency, America's CIA, during the 1980s so that its mass distribution would not sabotage this actor's installation at the White House. "This scourge of the sea, fresh from a lifetime of slaughter . . . " seems a far more apt description for the future invader of that peaceful ocean backwater Grenada than of the two slain blue marlins whose sudden assassinations as they're cavorting in the waves are documented here. Every sentence that Reagon intones seems fraught with clues to his early-onset Alzheimer's Disease, which even Fox News' Bill O'Reilly admitted to in his recent money-maker, KILLING REAGAN. (A convent of Toledo-area nuns had their handwritten entry essays scored for tell-tale Alzheimer's hallmarks decades later, when it was known which ones were demented, and it was found that those fated to lose their minds could have been singled out in their 20s!) Reagan's lack of empathy for the wantonly wasted Guardians of the Deep here very certainly is predictive of something, and it isn't nice.
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