Film: 5538

Science | 1940 | Sound | B/W + Colour

Clip:

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Synopsis:

A Christian influenced science film, which compares exploration of sound under water with knowledge of the spiritual realm. Good underwater shots.

Credit sequence. 'A sermon from science with Irwin A. Moon'. A title card thanks the Steinhart Aquarium at the California Academy of Sciences and Marine Studios of Marineland, Florida. Page from an illuminated manuscript Bible. Voice reads text, 'in the beginning God created the heaven and the Earth'. Globe or model of Planet Earth seen from space. Voice-over continues story of God separating earth and the seas. Rocky headland and bay. Waves crash against rocks. Voice-over describes our relationship to the sea. Menu card of seafood dinner: Most peoples' knowledge of the sea. A pair of hands leaves through a reference book on fish. Close-ups of a photograph of a turkey fish on the page. Photograph becomes film in colour of the fish. Angel fish. The narrator says the fish population of the sea is a fulfilment of God's injunction to multiply. Shots of various tropical fish. A sea horse- Close-up of a mating pair, the female deposits the eggs in the male's pouch. Male gives birth. Close-up of young. Two moray eels, one head on, one in profile, the narrator mentions their razor-sharp teeth. Octopi exploring for food. One changes colour. Another propels itself across the tank. An ocean sun fish, can weigh up to two tons. Shot of sea water, a strange and wonderful part of God's universe.
Busy street with lots of traffic (San Francisco?). Narrator says this is our world.
A small river. Cows grazing on a field in front of a mountain. The ear can tell us as much as the eye. At night: Sound waves cross the ear, they build up mental pictures, e.g. a rooster's crow; crickets; a train whistle.

A man wearing swimming trunks, flippers, a scuba mask and carrying a small trident swims in the sea. Man is struck by an overwhelming silence in the sea. The sea has become known as the silent deep. Hardback books on a shelf. Close-ups of the titles of some of them, 'Denizens of the Deep', 'A Natural History of the Seas', ' Seashore Animals of the Pacific Coast', 'the Ocean and its Mysteries'. These books usually state that the ocean is as quiet as a tomb. A quote from a book stating that ocean life has little or no voice scrolls down the screen, read also by the narrator. An early electric lamp. An early amplifier. An early microphone. It is inevitable that someone would use this technology to record beneath the sea. A pair of hands wrap the microphone in a waterproof black material. A man in a suit on a wooden platform lowers the covered microphone into the sea and places an earpiece to his head. A large freight ship. Its engine noise can be heard through the water. We discover the deep is not so silent after all. A cross-section of the sea and sky. A bell is above the sea and another is below it. Sound, in the form of an arrow, travels five times faster through water than through air. The bell below water rings but an ear in the sky cannot hear it. The arrow of sound hits the water level and bounces back down into the sea. The human ear is not designed to work well beneath water. The ear descends into the sea. New ears are needed. A pair of hands works on a hydrophone. The hydrophone is lowered into the sea. The passing freight ship is heard much more clearly this time.
The illustration of sky and sea. A battleship on the water level sends a sonar ping to a submarine, which bounces it back. This is the next advance in listening under water, in 1941. An illustrated map showing a ship moving past a city. The map shows Chesapeake bay, which invited enemy submarines to approach the capital. War always demonstrates the strategic importance of the sea. Two sightseers standing in front of two cannons facing the water, look across the bay. Preparations for defence are nothing new to this area. A plaque commemorating the national ensign which inspired Francis Scott to write the Star Spangled Banner, during the bombardment of Fort Mc Henry, September 13, 1814. The stars and stripes flying from a flagpole on top of Fort McHenry. A battleship seen from above.

An illustration showing a cross-section of the bay in 1942. A string of sonar buoys appears along the bottom of the bay. A signal travels from them to a listening post. Two men in uniform in a room of sonar receiving equipment. One is sitting in front of a bank of equipment, the other has an earpiece and is marking positions on a map table. Close-up of a speaker relaying the sound of propellers. Flashing lights correspond to the hydrophone position. A clock shows ten to nine on a late spring evening. Two uniformed men on night watch notice the flashing lights. One turns the speaker on. They look at the lights and consult the map table. They cannot identify the sound. A pair of hands sounds the alarm by turning a handle. An officer picks up a telephone. An officer speaks into an intercom. A man in front of a map speaks into a telephone. A soldier looks through a pair of binoculars. A radar transmitter. The lights disappear around midnight. The comment 'sounds unidentified' is entered in the log. The same sound was heard each night at the same time. A hydrophone with lots of cable is taken from a box. Someone turns a dial on a receiver. The scientists will investigate the sound. A man in a suit listens to headphones. An uniformed man in the sonar room looks at a teletype machine. The machine types the message that the sounds are made by fish called croakers. Fish pass by a hydrophone. A fisherman shovels caught fish into a scale's pan. Fish are laid in a box and packed with ice. Page from a report of the investigation "experiments prove that fish purr and grunt".

Underwater sound begins to be investigated more thoroughly. The staff of the Marine Institute of Science embark to study underwater sound. Men in a landing craft leave the harbour. A seagull. The men dressed casually with baseball caps. The skipper wears a flying jacket, sunglasses and pilot's cap.
Jumping porpoises. Two men look at a map. One is identified as F. Alton Everetts, in charge of this mission, the first underwater sound film. The boat in a bay. Mr. Everetts and another man get into a rowing boat. He selects an area for study by looking through a viewing box. View of underwater plants. A red flag being flown by the landing craft. Two men help each other get into a deep-sea diving suit. They lace the trousers. The diver's heavy boots are laced. A man prepares a camera on a tripod. A man tests the hydrophone. A reel-to reel tape machine for recording the sound. The diver's belt and knife. The two men put the helmet on the diver. The man tightens a nut on the air hose. The hose attached to the helmet is the communication tube. The diver stands. The helmet is closed. The air begins to be pumped. The diver climbs over the side and down a ladder. He enters the water. The diver under water, the narrator describes his descend. The diver hits the bottom. A school of fish stay together for protection from the bigger fish. A shark. Someone from the boat tells Dr. Moon, the diver, over the communication tube that there are some porpoises near the boat. If he turns off his air, he can listen to on the hydrophone. The hydrophone appears beside the diver. He turns the air valve.

Porpoises under water. Their sounds can be heard. A man on the boat hand-cranks a camera pointed at the porpoises. A porpoise jumps out of the water in slow motion. The narrator describes the porpoise's 'ear', its auditory canal behind the eye. A porpoise under water, they can be heard on the soundtrack. A rocky shoreline. The hydrophone under water, recording snapping shrimp. These are very loud. A bucket attached to a rope is pulled aboard. It is passed to a man by a workbench, which has instruments on it. He takes a shell from the bucket and opens it. He takes a shrimp from a small bottle with a pair of tweezers. the snapping shrimp held by tweezers, the narrator describes it. A close-up of the shrimp's claw in outline, which is animated to show how the claw opens and closes to produce the clacking sounds.
The sea floor. An operator on board listens through headphones to the hydrophones. The boat in the dark. The porpoises sleep under water. The narrator in diving suit climbs down the ladder into the sea. Some fish only make a noise at night time. A hydrophone operator with headphones on. The hydrophone under water. The underwater evening sounds. A turtle bites the hydrophone. Sounds heard in darkness. A shark passes by the hydrophone. The hydrophone operator. The crew pull the diver up the ladder. They remove the tubes from the helmet. Dr. Moon in a suit behind a desk talking to the camera. The previous assumption about the sea's silence is demonstrated by the words "test", "fact", and "conclusion" above each other on the screen. "Test" becomes "listened", "fact" becomes "heard nothing", and "conclusion" becomes "no sound". "No sound" is covered by a red X. They did not have the technology to listen under water. The swimmer with mask and trident, in black and white.

Dr. Moon behind the desk. He describes another spiritual realm. People who 'test' the spiritual realm by listening, finding nothing, have concluded there is no such thing. The words "Right Conclusion" covered by a red question mark. A quote from the Bible that explains man is not naturally equipped to listen to the spiritual realm. Dr. Moon says we can come to know the spiritual realm in the same way we came to know the underwater realm. He picks up a hydrophone. It works because someone puts aside his preconceived ideas to use it. Dr. Moon uses another biblical quote to explain that grace is God's gift.
The words "Gift of God" are highlighted. We need new eyes, ears, and a new life to see the spiritual realm. A quote from the Book of John, the words "Born Again" are highlighted. Dr. Moon picks up the hydrophone, which has opened the secrets of the sea. He picks up the Bible, which promises eternal life. Shot of the sea. Waves crashing against the rocks. We must listen to the voice of the deep which will guide us.


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