Cast & Crew
A search to discover a cargo of gold bullion carried by a ship that sank off the Mexican coast in 1868 is documented in this film. After the crew arrives in a bay near the supposed site of the sunken ship, game fish, whales, porpoises, sharks and seals are seen. A visit to a seagull rookery is made, and the expedition members search for landmarks mentioned in old records. The treasure hunters encounter an abalone drying camp operated by Japanese divers as a concession from the Mexican government. Among the other enterprisees observed by the expedition are the processing of sharks's fins for sale to China and sea turtle and tuna fishing. The crew kills a dolphin, which is considered to be bad luck by the Mexicans. While watching pearl divers, the treasure hunters witness an attack by a giant manta ray, which almost results in the drowning of one diver. The expedition members finally come across the quartz island for which they have been searching and begin diving for the treasure. Many species of deep-sea fish are seen, a blue shark is killed, and one of the divers dies after a battle with an octopus. The ill-fated expedition then leaves without having discovered the sunken treasure.
Although presented as a document of a treasure hunting expedition, Sea Killers is actually a highly edited compilation of film from various expeditions made by John D. Craig, which he intended to use as a demonstration to studio heads of audience interest in non-fiction films. In his autobiography, Danger is My Business, Craig stated "In my own morgue I had a lot of film from various expeditions-cutouts and odds and ends the studios hadn't bought. I went into retirement and fitted these together. Then I wrote a sound track, and titled the result Sea Killers. With this I decided to tour the country, barnstorming, to get audience reaction. In that way I could find out what the people wanted....That was in 1934. In the next year we played everything from the swank Balaban and Katz circuit of houses in Chicago to the once-a-week shacks in the West Virginia hills....I made a short speech of introduction. Then, with pencils and pads, we checked the ohs, ahs, ush, gasps, and hand-clapping at the various points, until we had settled pretty well just what parts of the picture the audience liked, or was frightened or impressed by.
Roland Price, who is credited with Narration in a continuity obtained from the NYSA, was also was generally credited as a photographer and it seems likely that he shot at least some of the footage seen in this film. NYSA records reveal that the film was approved for exhibition in New York State on December 9, 1933, but no additional information about its distribution has been located.