November 27, 1978 12:00 PM

One has to respect a movie whose star was discovered while making deliveries for a New York supermarket. And Mario Custodio, 18 when the film was shot, is agreeable enough as a young man learning to dive for pearls off the coast of Mexico. It’s also a pleasant surprise when Gilbert Roland, looking younger than his 73 years, shows up as the diver’s mentor. Apart, however, from some lovely underwater photography, there is little to recommend this adventure flick. Certainly not the allegedly deadly manta diablo, a flying manta ray, rendered laughably unterrifying by the shoddy special effects. Worst of all is the Ahab-lashed-to-the-whale ending lifted straight from Moby Dick. It’s a lesson for Mario, anyway: One minute the world is your oyster, the next minute you’re in the stew. (PG)

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