Thursday, July 1, 2010
CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON
CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON (1954). Director: Jack Arnold.
Deep in the Amazon an expedition searches for a fossil but discovers a living gill man who can do without their intrusion into his territory. In short order the bad-tempered creature nearly wipes out the entire party, and blocks off their exit from the lagoon as well. The "B" variety actors are more or less solid, the creature design is quite good, and the film has a certain degree of suspense and tension. Of the cast Richard Denning and Whit Bissell come off best, although Julie/Julia Adams, Richard Carlson, the ever-reliable Nestor Paiva, and Antonio Moreno as the man who found another gill man's fossilized claw are more than acceptable. The creature's underground lair is well-designed, and the brassy, jangling score [used in many other Universal films including the sequels to Creature] is effective. The erotic underwater "ballet" between the creature and Adams is a stand-out sequence. Although the creature is generally seen as a victim of sorts, hunted by interlopers, an early scene shows him slaughtering two innocent natives even before the expedition arrives. Followed by Revenge of the Creature. A remake is planned for release in 2011.
Verdict: Memorable monster movie -- and monster. ***