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Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)

G | | Horror, Sci-Fi | 5 March 1954 (USA)
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A strange prehistoric beast lurks in the depths of the Amazonian jungle. A group of scientists try to capture the animal and bring it back to civilization for study.

Director:

Jack Arnold

Writers:

Harry Essex (screenplay), Arthur A. Ross (screenplay) (as Arthur Ross) | 1 more credit »
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4,444 ( 95)
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Richard Carlson ... David Reed
Julie Adams ... Kay Lawrence (as Julia Adams)
Richard Denning ... Mark Williams
Antonio Moreno ... Carl Maia
Nestor Paiva ... Lucas
Whit Bissell ... Dr. Thompson
Bernie Gozier ... Zee
Henry A. Escalante Henry A. Escalante ... Chico (as Henry Escalante)
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Storyline

A scientific expedition searching for fossils along the Amazon River discovers a prehistoric Gill-Man in the legendary Black Lagoon. The explorers capture the mysterious creature, but it breaks free. The Gill-Man returns to kidnap the lovely Kay, fiancée of one in the expedition, with whom it has fallen in love. Written by Marty McKee <mmckee@wkio.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Terrifying monster ravages mankind! See more »

Genres:

Horror | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

5 March 1954 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Black Lagoon See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$1,300,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Ricou Browning, a professional diver and swimmer, was required to hold his breath for up to 4 minutes at a time for his underwater role as the "Gill-man". The director's logic was that the air would have to travel through the monster's gills and thus not reveal air bubbles from his mouth or nose. Thus, the costume was designed without an air tank. In the subsequent films, this detail was ignored and air can be seen emanating from the top of the creature's head. See more »

Goofs

When the Gill-Man tries to climb aboard the Rita after being drugged and is discovered by Kay, he is clearly standing on a platform before diving back into the water. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Narrator: In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth. And the Earth was without form and void. This the planet Earth, newly born and and cooling rapidly from a temperature 6,000 degrees to a few hundred in less than 5 billion years. Heat rises, meets the atmosphere, the clouds form, and rain pours down upon the hardening surface for countless centuries. The restless seas rise, find boundaries, are contained. Now, in their warm depths, the miracle of life begins. In infinite ...
See more »

Alternate Versions

Originally shown in theatres in 3-D. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Monster of Piedras Blancas (1959) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
We didn't come here to fight monsters, we're not equipped for it.
17 July 2010 | by SpikeopathSee all my reviews

Out of Universal Pictures, Creature from the Black Lagoon is directed by Jack Arnold, and stars Richard Carlson, Julia Adams, Richard Denning, Antonio Moreno, and Whit Bissell. The eponymous creature was played by Ben Chapman on land and Ricou Browning for the underwater scenes. The cinematography is by William E. Snyder and the score is composed by a trio of men, Henry Mancini, Hans J. Salter & Herman Stein. The story sees a scientific expedition at the top end of the Amazon encounter a Devonian Period amphibious creature. As the creature starts to defend its turf by attacking members of the expedition, in fighting begins to take a hold as the men argue about the best course of action to take. Should it be killed, or should it be captured for scientific research? Either way they need to act fast as the creature has taken a fancy to Kay, the sole female member of the expedition group.

One of the better creature features that surfaced in the 1950s, Creature from the Black Lagoon was one of the film's made as part of the 3D craze that filtered out of Hollywood in 53 & 54. However, unlike many of those film's that were made in the format over those two years, this one has rightly managed to break away from its gimmicky beginnings to become regarded as a genre classic. There are many reasons why it is still well regarded and taken in appreciatively by newcomers.

The story of course is nothing new, the old "beauty & the beast" theme can be traced back to the daddy himself, King Kong. But much like Kong, Arnold's movie thrives within the endearing story by getting the audience to sympathise with the titular creature. He is after all only defending his territory, he was happy wallowing down in the depths, remaining undiscovered for many a moon. That he is fascinated by the considerable beauty of Kay Lawrence (Adams sexy and gorgeous), is no crime either. The amount of sympathy garnered for "Gill-Man" is helped enormously by the illogical actions of the humans; who in turn go diving and swimming where legend has it men get eaten! This coupled with their bickering about pro science or trophy hunting makes it easy to side with the amphibious one.

It also helps that the film is pretty brisk and only runs for 80 minutes, there's no sags or pointless filler. Too many similar film's of its ilk labour until the monster shows up and all hell then breaks loose. But under Arnold's (It Came From Outer Space/The Incredible Shrinking Man) astute direction, atmosphere and unease is built up by ominous talk and sightings of the Black Lagoon-and only initial glimpses of the creature's scaly webbed claw; accompanied by the attention grabbing theme music. And when the creature finally reveals itself it doesn't disappoint for its an impressive creation. A half-man/half-fish creature covered in scales, resplendent with gills and with cold, dark featureless eyes. It also has great characteristics with a distinctive swimming style in the water, and a lumbering Frankenstein thing going on when on the land. A definitive monster that would be merchandised for ever after.

There's also technical accomplishments away from the creature itself, notably with the memorable underwater photography by Snyder, who uses a portable camera to flow with the swimming sequences, while his shadow and light work down in the depths is memorably mood enhancing. The three tiered score is also one of the best to feature in a B movie schlocker, three different composers, three different emotional strands; nice. Then there's of course the definitive sequence, the sexy underwater flirting as "Gill-Man" swims below the shapely form of Kay, beguiled by her, it's love at first sight. He's not the only one beguiled, we all are, as was Steven Spileberg, who would homage the more dramatic part of the sequence in his opening for Jaws 21 years later. Whilst last but not least it should be mentioned that there are little asides to ecological issues in the piece, something Arnold was want to do. Two sequels would follow, Arnold would return for Revenge Of The Creature in 1955 and then the John Sherwood directed The Creature Walks Among Us would round off the trilogy in 1956.

It's the original that still holds up today. 8/10


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