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

Thursday, November 21, 2013


Barry Norton as Robert

THE SEA FIEND/ DEVIL MONSTER (1936/1946). Director: S. Edwin Graham.

For inexplicable reasons, somebody decided it might be a good idea to take an unmemorable film entitled The Sea Fiend and ten years later fiddle with it a bit, overdub all the dialogue with new actors -- retaining the same basic plot -- and re-release it as Devil Monster. No matter what you call it, it's hard to sit through despite some interesting aspects. Jose (Jack Del Rio) and his crew went missing while sailing the south seas, and Jose's mother (Mary Carr) importunes Robert (Barry Norton) to go look for him, as does Jose's gal, Louise (Blanche Mehaffey). Robert is no sailor, but he goes along on his father's tuna boat so he can convince his old man to search for Jose. Along the way there are seals, a fight between a moray eel and an octopus, and native girls with naked breasts making dinner, not to mention a chubby ship's cook named Tiny. The heavy musical score does all the work, doing its darnedest to make the movie seem exciting even though it rarely is. Late the in the film a "devil fish" or manta ray shows up -- a real manta inter-cut with a prop -- but it seems ridiculous that this thing could have scuttled a ship and killed an entire crew. There's a lot of narration and stock footage. Some of the acting is decent. Barry Norton, who was born in Argentina as Alfredo Biraben, played the David Manners role of Jonathan [Juan] Harker in the Spanish-language version of Dracula. He had many credits, but was mostly in bit parts.

Verdict: Don't watch it and say that you did. *.

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