Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

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. ***

2 comments:

Neil A Russell said...

This was the first (and only) movie I ever saw in 3D.

It was screened at the college I attended, and apart from inducing a headache, it was an entertaining experience.

It's definitely one of the better monster flicks from the 50s and if a viewer doesn't know it was supposed to be in 3D, it's not really obvious in a way that detracts from the story.

I don't know if it was used for the first time in this movie, but the 3 chord musical sting in this picture sure seemed to show up a lot in horror and sci fi movies and tv later on.

William said...

I think Universal used it repeatedly in their sci fi movies.