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

Thursday, May 26, 2011


Harryhausen's "rhedosaurus" attacks Manhattan

THE BEAST FROM 20,000 FATHOMS (1953). Director: Eugene Lourie. 

Professor Tom Nesbitt (Paul Christian, aka Swiss film star Paul Hubschmind) thinks he's spotted a monster during a blizzard after atomic testing in the Arctic. Of course, he has or there would be no movie. Improbably, Nesbitt is able to convince foremost paleontologist Thurgood Elson (Cecil Kellaway) -- as well as Elson's pretty assistant, Lee (Paula Raymond) -- of the "paleolithic survival's" existence and the hunt for the beast is on. This monster movie, with  stop-motion special effects by Ray Harryhausen, made a ton of money for Warner Brothers, spawned the Japanese imitation Godzilla, and ushered in the dinosaur/bug/creature cycle of the 1950's for better or worse. Despite it's low-budget, it is still a well-made and very entertaining picture. The beast's stomping trek through the streets of downtown Manhattan is impressive, and enough cannot be said regarding the extra impact given the film by David Buttolph's dramatic scoring. Christian, Raymond and especially Kellaway turn in adept performances and Kenneth Tobey and Lee Van Cleef in smaller roles are also solid. Lourie followed this up with The Giant Behemoth and Gorgo. NOTE: For more info on this film and many others like it, read Creature Features: Nature Turned Nasty in the Movies.

Verdict: Maybe not a sexy beast but certainly a lively one! ***.

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