State-of-the-art photographic technology captures microorganisms, a bullet frozen as it rips through a playing card, a human fetus in a mother's womb and a star from a galaxy 600 light years away. Also: a look at how time-lapse, slow-motion and Kerlian photography work.
Mel Fisher's 16-year search for the Atocha, a Spanish treasure ship containing a fortune in silver ingots, gold bullion and precious stones, which sank in waters off the Florida Keys in 1622. Fisher located the ship in 1985.
“Amazon: Land of the Flooded Forest” studies the South American region's wildlife explosion after annual rains. Observed: three-toed sloths; tambaquis, fruit-eating fish; and white, bald uakari monkeys. William Shatner narrates.
“Bushmen of the Kalahari,” an African civilization's move from the Stone Age to the present. This 1974 film documents the Bushmen's struggle to assimilate modern ways to their culture, facing such obstacles as fences erected across their hunting grounds. Highlighted is explorer John Marshall's reunion with the tribe, with whom he lived during the 1958 filming of "The Hunters," which he co-produced. Narrator: Leslie Nielsen.
Whale species are seen in captivity, free in the Pacific and being hunted by man. Included: “singing” humpbacks off Maui; the birth of a killer whale at California's Marineland; and the commercial slaughter of whales in the 19th and 20th centuries. Alexander Scourby narrates.
Orson Welles narrates this 1965 documentary about chimpanzee research in Tanzania, conducted by zoologist Jane Goodall. Films of the chimpanzee community illustrate Goodall's findings: the primates improvise and use tools---a vital step in the evolution of humans.
“The Legacy of L.S.B. Leakey” includes the anthropologist's work, and reminiscences by his wife, son and colleagues. Clips show Leakey at a site in Africa, and on a U.S. speaking tour shortly before his death in 1972.
Researchers visit a mountain region of China trying to save the panda from extinction by studying the creature's behavior in its natural environment. Destruction of the bamboo forests has severely reduced its population.
Documenting Jane Goodall's study of chimpanzees, begun in 1960 in Tanzania's Gombe Stream Game Reserve. The animals display temperaments that range from shy to violent. Vivid footage also shows chimpanzee clans engaged in organized warfare.
Profiles of a wildlife photographer who's lived on Africa's Serengeti Plain for 30 years, and a writer-lecturer who's a Masai. Observed: a Masai "name changing" ritual; filming flamingos, and rangers nabbing poachers.
Exploring the events leading up to the execution of Nicholas II and his family in 1918. Also: the resurgence of interest in the Imperialist era. Included: archival footage and family photographs; interviews with descendants. Narrator: Jeremy Irons.
A study of treasure-hunter Mel Fisher's quest for the Atocha, a sunken galleon believed to contain silver and gold. Fisher is seen combing the Florida Keys for clues to the ship's uncharted whereabouts and waging a legal battle with authorities claiming state jurisdiction over his haul.
Life 8,000 feet under the Pacific is observed on a deep-sea dive. Descending in a minisub, members of this 1979 expedition set out to explore the Galapagos Rift, which harbors creatures such as 8-foot worms, sightless crabs and Portuguese men-of-war.
Life beneath the Costa Rican rain forest is captured by David and Carol Hughes, who spent 17 months filming the report. Observed: leaf-cutter ants, paper wasps, lizards and army ants. Richard Kiley is the narrator.