Creature from the Black Lagoon

Creature from the Black Lagoon

4.3 10
Director: Jack Arnold, Richard Carlson, Julie Adams, Richard Denning

Cast: Jack Arnold, Richard Carlson, Julie Adams, Richard Denning

     
 

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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,

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.

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.

Product Details

Release Date:
06/04/2013
UPC:
0025192187803
Original Release:
1954
Rating:
G
Source:
Universal Studios
Time:
1:20:00
Sales rank:
11,933

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
Ben Chapman Gill-Man
Ricou Browning Gill-Man (in water)
Rodd Redwing Louis
Perry Lopez Tomas
Sydney Mason Dr. Matos

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 J. Salter Score Composer
William Snyder Cinematographer
Herman Stein Score Composer
Charles S. Welbourne Cinematographer,Special Effects
Bud Westmore Makeup
Maurice Zimm Original Story

Scene Index

Back to the black lagoon; Production photographs; Feature commentary by film historian Tom Weaver; 100 years of Universal: the lot; Trailer gallery

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Creature from the Black Lagoon 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Wade1000 More than 1 year ago
The Creature or Gillman is my favorite Universal monster and the best 1950's thriller. It's an adventurous love story much like King Kong. The Creature From the Black Lagoon was the inspiration for Jaws; you can easily see the similarities in the movie. I am glad the Gillman saga was contained within a trilogy and not degraded by lame sequels like other classic monster films. Thank God no one has remade this motion picture because it would be an inferior copy and insult to an enduring classic!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A great film... however; The bluray "Creature from the Black Lagoon" should be labeled "image cropped to simulate wide screen". I compared the expensive bluray that I purchased at Barnes and Noble in Union Sq. N.Y. with the older full screen DVD version and discovered that the wide screen version is nothing but the full screen version with the top and the bottom cropped off. The result is a disgraceful deception for serious collectors who pay extra for the most faithful rendering of the favorite films. I discovered that this is not the only bluray on which they pulled this scam.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great 3D movie for its age.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
ChandlerSwain More than 1 year ago
Jack Arnold's " Creature From the Black Lagoon" is an iconic monster picture from the paranoid 50's, but it is a rarity in that it doesn't concern itself with either atomic bombs nor Communism, but instead treats as it's themes the ancient sense of discovery with a modern twist of commercialism perverting science. A fascinating little picture from Universal made on the cheap yet managing to convey an exotic richness (a specialty of the resourseful Arnold), the film features one of the most famous monster designs in history; scientifically realistic and terrifying. Featuring a reliable cast of studio stalwarts (Richard Carlson, Richard Denning, a stunning Julie Adams and Whit Bissell), the film is virtually a chamber piece as it takes place almost entirely within the confines of the Black Lagoon. Hardly stagnant in it's visual drama, the film makes full use of it's setting most spectacularly in it's lengthy underwater sequences especially one deservedly famous scene when Miss Adams is taking a leisuely swim through the Lagoon while the stalking Creature swims beneath her in a lyrical pas-de-deux that transcends the horror genre into visual poetry. Surely there has never been a sequence in any horror film imbued with such a scene of fatalistic romance. Oddly enough, this little black and white gem was originally lensed in 3-D, so the occasional moments of spears and claws thrusting into your eyes is explainable and rather nostalgically charming. Universal's DVD print is crisp in both picture and sound. (But not in 3-D)
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you liked this movie, you will love the DVD edition. The nearly 40 min. behind the scenes of the Creature films is great. The other production extras are super as well. The movie itself looks very sharp. Only drawback is that it is not in widescreen.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a famous fifties horror flick that¿s a little too cheesy to be a classic, but is still highly enjoyable. Despite a really undercooked cosmic appetizer to begin, the plot and narration stay tastefully tense throughout. The overall production is surprisingly good, especially on details. The underwater footage is great: visibility is excellent but is clearly an authentic riverine location, and the creature never looks stupid or contrived in his natural element. Scuba divers will enjoy the actors¿ use of vintage aqualung and swim equipment, and further appreciate that the stuntman who played the creature (professional diver Ricou Browning) is an exceptionally powerful swimmer who held his breath for up to 4 minutes a shot to eliminate tell-tale air bubbles. The ¿scientific¿ expedition to research the creature is laughably unscientific, but does provide some uncluttered action, as well as a heavy-handed dramatic counterpoint between leading men scientists Richard Carlson and Richard Denning. They both look pretty buffed out for scientists, anyway. Leading lady scientist Julie Adams screams too much and stands around scared too much, but she wins the swimsuit event hands (claws) down and does an Esther Williams mini-routine for the underwater camera. No wonder the Devonian fish man wants her, but we see his huge and hideous hand groping up gunwales, riverbanks, or portholes too many times, already. In spite of those horrible hands, gasping ichthyoidal mouth, and occasional mayhem on surface-dwellers, most viewers probably empathize with the creature. All he wanted was to be left alone with the girl.