Creature from the Black Lagoon

Overview

Universal Pictures introduced audiences to yet another classic movie monster with this superbly crafted film, originally presented in 3-D. The story involves the members of a fossil-hunting expedition down a dark tributary of the mist-shrouded Amazon, where they enter the domain of a prehistoric, amphibious "Gill Man" -- possibly the last of a species of fanged, clawed humanoids who may have evolved entirely underwater. Tranquilized, captured, and brought aboard, the creature still manages to revive and escape --...
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Overview

Universal Pictures introduced audiences to yet another classic movie monster with this superbly crafted film, originally presented in 3-D. The story involves the members of a fossil-hunting expedition down a dark tributary of the mist-shrouded Amazon, where they enter the domain of a prehistoric, amphibious "Gill Man" -- possibly the last of a species of fanged, clawed humanoids who may have evolved entirely underwater. Tranquilized, captured, and brought aboard, the creature still manages to revive and escape -- slaughtering several members of the team -- and abducts their sole female member Julie Adams, spiriting her off to his mist-shrouded lair. This sparks the surviving crewmen to action -- particularly those who fancy carrying the girl off themselves. Director Jack Arnold makes excellent use of the tropical location, employing heavy mists and eerie jungle noises to create an atmosphere of nearly constant menace. The film's most effective element is certainly the monster itself, with his pulsating gills and fearsome webbed talons. The creature was played on land by stuntman Ben Chapman and underwater by champion swimmer Ricou Browning -- who was forced to hold his breath during long takes because the suit did not allow room for scuba gear. The end result was certainly worth the effort, proven in the famous scene where the Gill Man swims effortlessly beneath his female quarry in an eerie ballet -- a scene echoed much later by Steven Spielberg in the opening of Jaws.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Mark Deming
The Creature From the Black Lagoon may seem more cliché today than it did in 1954; so many movies have borrowed from this source that it's hard not to snicker while watching it. But downshift your disbelief, turn up your camp receptors a few notches, and you'll thoroughly enjoy this film. Unlike most other 3-D pictures of its era, it is mercifully low on "throwing stuff at the audience" sequences, though seeing the film in stereo certainly adds to the not-inconsiderable beauty of the film's underwater sequences (and watch out for the plaster cast of the creature's claw!). Richard Carlson is a better-than-average hero, Julia Adams is a superior damsel in distress (in a damp swimming suit), Jack Arnold keeps the story moving nicely and lays on plenty of mysterious undercurrent, and Universal Pictures knew how to make a monster when they put their mind to it. If the Creature isn't as immediately memorable as Frankenstein's monster or the Wolf Man (who were both near the end of their run when this movie was made), he easily beats out the dozens of aquatic beasts that later slithered onto drive-in screens. In an imaginative suit designed by Bud Westmore, diver Ricou Browning made the Gill-Man a graceful force to be reckoned with in the water, and Ben Chapman was even more powerful (if less mysterious) when he played the Creature on land. The Creature From the Black Lagoon was one of the last worthwhile monster movies from Universal, the studio that most enthusiastically embraced the horror genre in the 1930s and '40s, and, even if one can tell at times that this is a past-prime horror flick, it has enough craft and high spirits to serve as a potent reminder of just how strong even their second-string stuff could be.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/2/2014
  • UPC: 025192249600
  • Original Release: 1954
  • Rating:

  • Source: Universal Studios
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 19,541

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Richard Carlson David Reed
Julie Adams Kay Lawrence
Richard Denning Mark Williams
Antonio Moreno Carl Mala
Nestor Paiva Lucas
Whit Bissell Edwin Thompson
Bernie Gozier Zee
Henry Escalante Chico
Ricou Browning Gill-Man (in water)
Ben Chapman Gill-Man
Perry Lopez Tomas
Sydney Mason Dr. Matos
Rodd Redwing Louis
Technical Credits
Jack Arnold Director
William Alland Producer
Hilyard M. Brown Production Designer
Ricou Browning Stunts
Leslie I. Carey Sound/Sound Designer
Harry J. Essex Screenwriter
Fred Frank Asst. Director
Russell A. Gausman Set Decoration/Design
Joseph E. Gershenson Score Composer, Musical Direction/Supervision
James C. Havens Cinematographer
Bernard Herzbrun Production Designer
Ray Jeffers Set Decoration/Design
Ted Kent Editor
Joe Lapis Sound/Sound Designer
Henry Mancini Score Composer
Rosemary Odell Costumes/Costume Designer
Arthur A. Ross Screenwriter
Hans Salter Score Composer
William Snyder Cinematographer
Herman Stein Score Composer
Charles S. Welbourne Cinematographer, Special Effects
Bud Westmore Makeup
Maurice Zimm Original Story
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