Great White (aka The Last Shark) (1982)
Now, I am fervently against censorship, especially when it comes to the banning of materials of artistic expression: books, movies, etc. For the banned (in the United States anyway) waste of celluloid Great White, I am willing to make an exception, though not for the official reason given.
As you can guess, Great White is about a small coastal community that is menaced by the sudden appearance of a great white shark that starts dining on the populace. Sound familiar? Yep, Great White is a near carbon-copy of Steven Spielberg's immortal Jaws. And this was the problem. Great White was such a blatant ripoff that Spielberg and Universal Pictures successfully sued the distributors and got the movie yanked out of theaters just after it was released and completely banned. Despite the popularity of Great White overseas, the companies involved in its production went bankrupt and the movie all but disappeared. My main problem with the film is the fact that it just plain sucks...hard.
What do we have here? Small coastal town (check), politicos who don't want to disrupt the summer season despite the sailboarders and swimmers getting snacked on (check), a prominent townsperson (James Franciscus) who knows there is a shark problem even though no one will listen (check), and a grizzled old sea dog (Vic Morrow) who helps said townsperson battle the monster shark. So imagine Jaws but sap out any semblance of talent in front of or behind the camera and all done with such a nothing budget that the film makers couldn't even cobble together enough stock shark footage to make any of it convincing.
Great White gets off to a hilariously bad start when a sailboarder becomes the first victim. How do we know? The sailboader's board gets chomped in half and it takes the slow-witted sailboarder quite a while to realize he's in danger. But at least the shark isn't shown to us here. When it does make an appearance, it is so laughably phony, as if it were made of papier-mache and Elmer's glue. The way the shark attacks is even phonier; instead of, you know, moving like a fish, it simply bolts up from the water at a 90 degree angle and throws whomever or whatever into the air. The movie is also extensively padded with the aforementioned stock shark footage that doesn't look anything at all like the shark we see bobbing up in the water.
Not that the late James Franciscus or Vic Morrow were all that discerning in the film projects they signed up for, but the decision to star in this garbage is still perplexing. Neither actor seems to be able to mask his contempt for the project; Franciscus barely delivers anything resembling a performance, and Morrow decides to sport a horrendous Scottish accent. This accent is so bad that not only does it come and go from scene to scene it comes and goes within each line he speaks.
Great White was a quick cash grab for all involved. No one involved seemed to care anything about actually trying to make a watchable movie regardless of their low ambition. So, Great White was purged from theaters due to plagiarism (something that doesn't seem to happen anymore), but I like to imagine that it was banned due to it being a complete waste of time, energy and resources.