Friday, July 20, 2012

Creature From The Black Lagoon (1954)

OK, there is not doubt, this is an absolute classic--and not just in confines of 1950's science fiction timeline.  It is regarded as one of the great science fiction classics in all of cinema history, not mention an early pioneer of 3-D.  One thing that stands out about it for me is that this is a creature that is not the product of some atomic experiment or other types of pollution; this creature is a genuine evolutionary throw-back that just happens to still exist the the remote Amazon.  Instead of it stalking humans in cities and doing massive damage to urban ares, it's the humans that invade his territory and do plenty of damage to it in the name of science.  Of course, the creature (Gill Man) MUST become infatuated with the sole woman on board ship...this was the 1950's after all!  And there is plenty of on-board jealous squabbling over the lady by the human males as well.

Release Date:  5 Mar. 1954

Runtime:  79 minutes

Directed by:  Jack Arnold

Screenplay:  Harry Essex & Arthur A. Ross

Music by:  3 uncredited chaps that included Henry Mancini (studios!!).

Aspect Ratio:  2.00:1 35 mm

Cinematic Process:  Universal 3-D

Sound:  Western Electric Recording mono

Tagline:  Creature from a million years ago!...every man is mortal enemy...every woman's beauty his prey!

Goofy Trivia:

The creature suit was based on the Oscar trophy given out at the Academy Awards.

Ricou Browning the man in the gill man costume had to hold his breath for up to four minute's at a time, because the creature was supposed be gilled for underwater and out water breathing--there could be no air bubbles.  Not surprisingly he was a professional at this, as he produced under water shows in FLA's Weeki Wachee.

Gill man made an appearance on The Munsters as "Uncle Gilbert."

Actor Ben Chapman played the creature when it was out of the water.

Some of the detail work of the gill man costume is based on 17th century woodcuts of a mysterious creatures Sea Monk & Sea Bishop. 

Filmmaker Jean Renoir was rumored to by a script doctor on the project.

Igmar Bergman reportedly watched the movie every year on his birthday.  Now that's a traditional I can get behind!

The film had a real fossil of an amphibian named after in the form of  Eucritta melanolimnetes.

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