It Came from Beneath the Sea (1955) Poster

User Reviews

Review this title
91 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
Far better than you'd expect from a giant monster film
MartinHafer22 March 2008
In the 1950s and 60s, there were practically zillions of giant radioactive monster films. Giant shrews, ants, spiders, dinosaurs and whatnot scared audiences and were immensely popular throughout the world. For example, THE BEAST FROM 20,000 FATHOMS (1953) clearly led to Japanese films such as Godzilla (1954) and its many spin-offs. In general, these films were super-cheesy--having pretty second-rate special effects (even for the time) and lousy dialog. Godzilla was a guy in a reptile suit, TEENAGERS FROM OUTER SPACE used a lobster and THE KILLER SHREWS used hairy costumes placed on dogs--all very high on the "cheese-o-meter". However, a very small number of these films did have decent special effects for the time period and tried to be serious entertainment--and IT CAME FROM BENEATH THE SEA is one of them.

Unlike many giant monster films, IT CAME FROM BENEATH THE SEA looked like it had a larger budget. Much of this was because they had the cooperation of the navy and because they used GOOD stock footage--not the usual grainy and irrelevant filler used in many of these films. It also looked big budget because of the work of Ray Harryhausen. Now, in the 21st century, his work appears rather crude and old fashioned, but for the mid-1950s it was state of the art and still holds up reasonably well if you aren't an idiot who expects CG and state of the art effects. Sure, the giant octopus looks a bit odd and is obviously controlled through stop-motion, but it is very well integrated into the scenes and still impresses. It's obvious that they really cared and wanted to make a quality picture.

As far as the romance and dialog goes, I will admit it has a lot of clichés--such as the brainy but sexy female scientist. However, it was handled a bit better than usual and at least Faith Domergue (a perennial in 50s sci-fi) was pleasant looking. I know it's weird, but I really get turned on by the "brainy scientists" in these film. In fact, I married one myself--though she has no experience, so far, with giant monsters! Don't worry folks--I showed this review to my wife and I am NOT in the dog house!

For lovers of the genre, this film is a must. For those who think giant monsters attacking mankind are stupid, then at least one is better than most of the rest!!
38 out of 40 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Two Men, One Woman And One Atomic Hextapus!
Spikeopath6 October 2009
In the 1950s cinema was subjected to (graciously in my case) a number of things that came to wreak havoc on mankind. Be it nuclear enhanced spiders and ants marching forth from the desert or various beings from outer space come to deliver alien fury. Hell we even had giant water snails laying slimy waste to all in their way. But what of the ocean? So much potential down there. Rhedosaurus and Gojira had come from the sea to lay a marker down for the big lizard, but what of the natural creatures? Sharks? Well Spielberg's genre daddy was some 20 years away. Whales? Crabs? Squids? Ah what about a giant Octopus? Now there is scope for a riot. Lets make him a product of atomic blasting, awoken from the Mindanao Deep, keep it sympathetic 9it's just being natural after all), set up an attack on a bastion landmark of Americana and get stop-mo genius Ray Harryhausen to work his wonders.

So they did. It Came from Beneath the Sea, if you pardon the pun, holds its head above water in the creature feature, sci-fi schlockers genre. Starring Faith Domergue (This Island Earth), Kenneth Tobey (The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms) and Donald Curtis (Earth vs. The Flying Saucers), it has safe and solid genre credentials. Though guilty of being over talky, in that the science being offered up isn't worthy of such meanderings, the script does allow for a feminism angle that should be applauded for the time it was made. Even if it's almost smothered by the love tryst shenanigans of our three central players that is. Filmed on location in San Francisco to add some level of authenticity to the story and having a running time that doesn't let it outstay its welcome. It Came from Beneath the Sea is a fine genre piece worthy of yearly revisits. 7/10
19 out of 21 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
I Left My Tentacle in San Francisco
BaronBl00d9 September 2000
Ray Harryhausen wonderfully creates a giant octopus ravaging the Pacific Coast and then rooting itself in San Francisco Bay. The octopus is quite stunning and a marvel of stop-motion animation. Viewers are treated to it actually climbing on the Golden Gate Bridge(a model of course), squeezing a submarine, literally bringing a ship down to the depths, and throwing tentacles all over pedestrians in the San Francisco harbour. My only regret is that this is all too infrequent and most of it arriving at the end of the film. The rest of the story centers around Kenneth Tobey, Faith Domerge and Donald Curtis trying to discover what it is that held Tobey's submarine. There is also a weird love triangle among the three as well which enhances the story I believe. All in all this is a fine piece of classic science fiction entertainment.
26 out of 30 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
One of the First "Disaster" Movies
Space_Mafune8 December 2003
When an atomic-powered submarine runs afoul of something most bizarre on their radar, its Commander Pete Matthews decides not to risk the $ 55 million dollar naval submarine he commands and tries to head out of the area but suddenly the submarine is unable to move while something outside them is emitting radiation. Eventually after a considerable struggle, they do escape and later discover that what had held them down was in fact a giant Octopus!

From scientists Dr. John Carter (Donald Curtis) & Dr. Leslie Joyce (Faith Domergue), working along with the military's Commander Matthews, we learn that this Octopus has undergone an atomic mutation and has now come to prey on man instead of fish and is all set to ravage the West Coast of America. Eventually it surfaces and attacks the Golden Gate Bridge while San Francisco panics in fear! Can It be stopped?

The real star of this film is Harryhausen's Giant Octopus, who even with only six tentacles, manages to make a more lasting impression on the viewer than most of the cast. That said, the theme of feminism is also an important undercurrent of this story and I felt Faith Domergue did a wonderful job with what she was given to work with. The moments she coaxes the trans-steamer survivor into admitting it was a giant Octopus that attacked his ship is a great one for her.

While this movie is much too slow getting to its eventual pay-off for most viewers, it's never bothered me as much because I felt Domergue and Tobey had a great chemistry on screen together and I actually liked the addition of their romance here. Still this has to be one of the first disaster films really considering how a giant Octopus nearly does in San Francisco...and well that's a cool and fun premise for a movie in my book (even if one does have to swallow one's disbelief).
27 out of 32 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
One of the best giant octopus on the rampage films I've seen.
Wilbur-1027 August 2002
Having already starred in 'The Thing from Another World' (1951) and 'The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms' (1953), Kenneth Tobey completed a memorable treble of classic Sci-Fi films with this offering.

Make no mistake, 'It Came from Beneath the Sea' is one of the classics of the genre and as such is above the mundane criticism about poor script, narrative, performances etc. We all know that these monster-flicks from the 50's and 60's had their shortcomings, but they were made to a formula for a target audience and in this respect there is little to fault and much to commend.

Here we have a giant octopus, disturbed from it's Pacific lair by atomic testing, heading for San Francisco in a foul mood. The Harryhausen effects are great, the narrative follows a course of some scientific logic and Faith Domergue, if a little too old, looks good enough in her tight blouse.

Director Robert Gordon did little else of note which is surprising - he did a good enough job here and whilst not up to the standard of '20 Million Miles to Earth' (1957), 'It Came from Beneath the Sea' is still superior for its type.

BEST SCENE - no contest; the octopus trashing the Golden Gate Bridge.
14 out of 16 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Giving a Big Octopus a Hot Foot
bkoganbing25 April 2006
It Came From Beneath the Sea was one of the better monster films from the Fifties as Hollywood cinema was desperately trying to compete with the small picture box gradually invading American homes. One of the answers was large screen special effects and this film was one of the best in that department.

Ray Harryhausen's name so far is still the only special effects man that I know who's name will actually encourage people to buy a movie ticket. He created some marvelous film monsters and this was one of his best.

The octopus we are told comes from the Mindinao Deep, a spot on our planet still not totally explored because it is the deepest part of our ocean's bottoms. Presumably there are a whole lot more like him around and in point of fact to this day we don't know all the creatures of the sea.

That perennial villain of Fifties Science fiction, atomic testing and/or radiation has made this big guy move out of the depths and try to capture Captain Kenneth Tobey's submarine. He barely gets away and Tobey's is the first of several incidents involving the creature. Scientists Faith Domergue and Donald Curtis are also on the job and the creature ends up in San Francisco Bay. He does a number on the Golden Gate bridge and then tries to beach himself at the Embarcadero. Army flame throwers see that doesn't happen.

Faith Domergue was a really beautiful woman who became known again through the Howard Hughes biographical film, The Aviator. She was at one time Hughes's main squeeze. This is probably the film she's most known for though. There's one scene where Domergue uses her best asset to convince a merchant seaman whose ship has been sunk by the octopus, but is afraid of being given a section 8, to fess up about the monster. Kind of campy, but fun.

The monster's no villain here as in some films. He's just a creature whose habitat man has disturbed that's trying to survive. Unfortunately we can't have him roaming the Pacific destroying all kinds of civilian and military activity. So he has to be killed. For me it was a bit sad seeing the outcome. I think other viewers will feel the same way.
21 out of 26 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
An excellent 50's monster movie
chris_gaskin12317 March 2004
It Came From Beneath The Sea was the first of many movies involving the partnership of producer Charles H Schneer and Ray Harryhausen.

A giant octopus makes its way to San Francisco and attacks several ships and submarines on the way. When there, it brings down the Golden Gate Bridge and destroys several other landmarks before being attacked by flame throwers to send it back into the sea, where is it blown to bits by a torpedo.

The stop-motion animation by Ray Harryhausen is excellent, despite the fact that the movie's low budget made the octopus have six tentacles instead of eight.

The cast is lead by 50's sci-fi regulars Kenneth Tobey (The Thing From Another World, The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms), Faith Domergue (This Island Earth) and Donald Curtis (Earth vs the Flying Saucers). A love triangle develops with these stars to keep the movie going.

I enjoyed this movie and is a must if you are a fan of 1950's sci-fi and Ray Harryhausen like me.

Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
23 out of 29 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
"The next time I cruise in these waters I'm going to have torpedoes on board and warheads on 'em."
utgard148 January 2016
1950s sci-fi monster movie about a giant octopus attacking ships and submarines. The Navy doesn't like it one bit. Slow-going with the monster octopus not fully showing up until three-quarters into the picture. Far too much focus in the first half on the nauseating romantic drama involving Kenneth Tobey's sub commander and scientists Faith Domergue and Donald Curtis. There is some fun to be had with the clichéd characters and some of their corny lines ("When you're driving that atomic submarine of yours, do you have time for romance?"). All of the octopus scenes are fun and the last quarter of the movie is the most interesting, due to the stop-motion effects from the legendary Ray Harryhausen. I normally love movies like this and would rate it higher, but it's just so talky and the romance makes me want to puke.
6 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
"It's no whale Sir, that's for sure!"
classicsoncall10 October 2015
Warning: Spoilers
I can't tell you how many times I tried to catch this flick over a span of years but was always stymied in the attempt. Chalk it up to bad timing, falling asleep or missing it in the cable listings. I might have blown this one too but thanks to DVR, even nodding off would have had a remedy.

The first thing I noticed here was that the black and white transfer I viewed on Turner Classics was phenomenally crisp and offered a first rate viewing experience. Ray Harryhausen's monster effects and the film makers' stop motion wizardry really brought a level of sophistication to this otherwise B grade sci-fi/horror film. Granted, the action isn't what modern day viewers would expect given the prevalence of CGI, but for the mid-Fifties, this was pretty cool.

But you know, the picture had it's share of goofs too, and it's the kind of stuff I live for with these old pictures. Remember when the airplane pilot spotted the pair of survivors in the rubber dinghy after the sailors abandoned ship during the first attack? When the scene transitions to the naval hospital, there are four men brought in!

Then this next scene, I had to wonder whether it was intentional or not because it was just so ironic. In the lab where the scientists and Commander Pete Matthews (Kenneth Tobey) are working, there's a prominently displayed sign that says 'No Smoking', but the commander spends his entire time taking drags on his cigarette.

But the one that really doubled me over was when Commander Matthews and Professor Joyce (Faith Domergue) are on the beach investigating the latest missing person headline, and the professor explains to the Admiral that the potential sea monster probably hasn't gone away from the area. Yet she and the commander are out in the ocean swimming!

Well if you can take your sci-fi with a grain of sea salt, this is probably one of the better giant mutant due to atomic radiation flicks you're likely to come up with from the era. The octopus attack on the Golden Gate Bridge was a pretty creative affair, and if you're going to make a stand for humanity, you might as well have the movie heroes blow the monster all to hell with an explosive torpedo. It sure does rule out a sequel though.
5 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A decent, but slooow giant monster flick.
Dodonna11 June 2003
I've been a fan of Ray Harryhausen since I was old enough to appreciate movies, so I bought the DVD of "It Came From Beneath the Sea" even though I hadn't seen the film in many years. Having rewatched it, I have to admit that it's perhaps the least of his film accomplishments.

Once again, the atomic bomb provides the justification for another giant monster, though, despite what has been inaccurately reported elsewhere, the octopus in the film has not been mutated by radiation. It's simply a very large example of its kind that was living at the bottom of a deep ocean trench. When atomic testing made it radioactive, it couldn't effectively hunt because other sea creatures could somehow sense its presence. Therefore, it came to the surface in search of food.

One of the major problems with this film is that while an octopus makes a decent giant monster, it completely lacks the personality of some of Harryhausen's other creatures. Furthermore, it is confined to the sea--and, by extension, the shoreline--limiting its ability to go on a proper rampage.

Even at 79 minutes, the film moves very slowly until the climax. The opening sequence, in which the beast attacks a submarine captained by Kenneth Tobey's character, goes on for several very long minutes of inconsequential naval dialogue.

The lethargic pacing extends to the plot as well. The team of scientists assigned to determine what attacked the sub take a full two weeks to identify it as an octopus.

An odd love triangle of sorts pads the running time. Faith Domergue--who is presented as a modern feminist despite her tendency to scream on cue--seems just as interested in Tobey's navy man as she does in her fellow scientist. The two men acknowledge the triangle, but neither seems at all competitive about it.

Domergue is one of the best things about the film. She's credible as both scientist and sweater gal, and is a good example of the increasing role of female characters in science-fiction films of the period.

Once the octopus attacks in earnest, things pick up quite a bit, and Harryhausen's effects--including stop-motion-animated building demolition--are quite effective. While this is definitely a lesser effort for him, he still shows what he can do with a small budget and a relatively uninteresting monster.
5 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
One of THE best of the 50's monster films!
Norm-309 July 1999
Ray Harryhausen's giant octopus is a stop-motion MASTERPIECE!

An excellent film & story!

Trivia: The producer's budget wouldn't allow the creation of an 8-tentacled octopus, so it only has SIX legs (this isn't noticeable, 'cos u think the other two are under water!).

And, the City of San Francisco didn't want the "landmark of their city", the Golden Gate Bridge destroyed (even in miniature!), so the cameras & crew had to be "smuggled" on the actual bridge!

A MUST-SEE film from the 50's !
20 out of 27 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Great Classic Film in 1955 !
whpratt113 July 2004
Greatly enjoyed viewing this film in the 1950's and all the audiences were thrilled at seeing this sea monster tackle the Golden Gate Bridge and terrify all the people in San Francisco. This film cannot compare to the films being made in 2000, however, in 1955 it was a great B Film and is presently and always will be a great Classic. Kenneth Tobey, who was a submarine captain, "Body Shot",'93 gave an outstanding performance along with Faith Domerque,"The House of Seven Corpses",'74 who was a beautiful young actress and acted like a very strong willed woman who was hard to charm off her feet. Unfortunately, Faith had a short career due to her struggle with cancer. This is truly a great Classic Film of the 50's. Enjoy!
14 out of 19 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Movie Fun
dougdoepke22 March 2010
This is not a creature you'll rub elbows with at Sea World, to say the least. Not after it's done a number on San Francisco and without a wrecking ball in sight. But then if Godzilla can take Tokyo, why not an octopus taking out an American city in big time stop-motion fashion. Okay, it's archaic special effects by today's digital standards, but cutting edge for its time and still a lot of movie fun.

Tobey's a fine underrated actor, perfect as a military type. And Domergue-- Howard Hughes' big squeeze— shows her dewy-eyed stuff as a "women are as good as men" feminist. Actually, it's Curtis, a man, who states that case for the "new woman", though Domergue's aggressive scientist makes a convincing case all by herself. Surprisingly for this type movie, the three share equal time on screen, and it's pretty clear director Gordon's instructions to them are to low-key it, which they do to good effect.

The first atomic submarine, the Nautilus, sailed in mid-1954 to a lot of public interest. No doubt, the producers here were well aware, and wove a crowd-pleasing story around the film version. Then too, mutant monsters had not yet taken over movie screens as they would a few years later. No doubt, the success of this film was parent to many of those creature offspring. Anyway, as these movies go, this is definitely one of the better ones in all departments, (though a couple of romantic scenes could have been easily economized).

In passing—I really like that last scene where our three musketeers get no recognition for their heroics. It's a nice ironic touch. And see if you agree—looks to me like they're about to "break character" at fade-out.
6 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Hokey but highly entertaining early Harryhausen
Nitrate-420 November 1998
Fans of 50's Sci-Fi will enjoy this entertaining film with terrific stop-motion effects by the master, Ray Harryhausen. In the forefront of the film is one of those campy little romances of the type so often found in 50's Sci-Fi outings. The special effects are certainly not incredible, but are very good looking as 50's style effects go. Watch for the destruction of the Golden Gate Bridge by the giant octopus, as well a the scene in which it's tentacles lurch through San Francisco like giant snakes. An above average 50's Sci-Fi.
6 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
The greatest 50's Atomic Sci-Fi Giant Monster Film of the 1950's & my favorite film of all time!
retromaster200012 December 2002
Warning: Spoilers
I saw this movie on TNT when i was like 10 on late night T.V.TNT's Monster Vision it was awesome! The Stop-Motion Octopus effects are great & look very realistic & still hold up today, Harryhausen did a great job! The Film is about atomic testing in the pacific. The H-Bomb Tests that mutate an already gigantic Octopus octopus into an even bigger monster & it becomes radioactive. Submarine commander Pete Matthews played by Kenneth Tobey (The Thing From Another World '51, The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms '53 & The Vampire '57.) he & his crew get attacked by it in the beginning. Then he meets up with beautiful marine biologist Leslie Joyce brilliantly played by Faith Domergue,(Cult Of The Cobra '55, This Island Earth '55, The Atomic Man '56, Voyage To The Prehistoric Planet '65 (M>TV), Legacy Of Blood '70 & House Of Seven Corpses '73) She & John Carter another biologist discover an enormous octopus after several attacks on ships, & boats plus an encounter they live themselves action must be taken, to protect the people & city of San Francisco. In the climax the monster attacks San Fran. even the famed Golden Gate Bridge & Embarkidaro Tower are demolished. Great entertainment with thrills & chills. Got this on DVD in 2004 My favorite Harryhausen Film! Looking forward to the Jan. 2008 Colorized 2-Disc Special Edition DVD Release which Legend Films will not be colorizing it as they did 20 Million Miles To Earth (1957) which I have & is pretty impressive. West Wing Studios are supposed to do It Came From Beneath The Sea I hope it has some nice exclusive special features like the Colorized 20 Million. Audio Commentary, Video Interview with Ray & an Image Gallery those at least. I am not sure if it will include the B&W Version. Columbia Tri-Stars recent DVD wasn't that great only extra it has was the trailer. I got It Came & Earth vs. 2-Discs they are really awesome! & have the movies remastered in Hi-Def with 5.1 Surround why didn't 20 Million have 5.1 Surround? oh well. I love the colorized versions for both films & the technology has improved & looks much better then the 80's Colorizing Process like done to King Kong which looked awful. I am not hip on Colorization but Legend Films has been doing a great job on Films like Ray's & others. Anyway if u hate Colorization so much both Discs also include the original B&W Versions with a toggle between feature which I found annoying on my one DVD Player every time the chapter changed a small camera popped up in the corner & I couldn't make it go away quite annoying! otherwise perfect DVD's with nice special features. Far surperior to the old Columbia Tri-Star DVD Releases from a few years back.
6 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Good entertainment, if you're in the right frame of mind
Wizard-814 January 2016
Warning: Spoilers
If you make preparations for what you expect from "It Came from Beneath the Sea", the better the chance you'll end up enjoying it. If you approach the movie expecting non-stop action and special effects, you'll probably be disappointed. The monster of this movie only makes a few brief appearances in the first sixty minutes, and the movie is more devoted to serious dialogue than anything else.

However, if you find the idea of a giant monster movie handled in a more realistic manner than usual, you'll probably find the movie interesting and entertaining. After seeing so many dumb giant monster movies, I actually found this serious approach refreshing. It's interesting to see a believable way authorities would deal with the sudden appearance of a giant monster.

Of course, the big selling point of the movie IS the giant monster. When we do get to see it, it's pretty impressive. Yes, some aspects of the special effects are dated by today's standards (like some cheesy rear projection), but if you put yourself in a 1955 perspective, you can be impressed by what you see.

If you're in the mood for a giant monster movie from the 1950s, but with a different narrative twist, give this movie a try.
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Decent B-Movie
Sargebri9 November 2004
This was a pretty decent effort by the master of stop motion animation, Ray Harryhausen. The scenes with the giant octopus helped to add a lot of thrills to this film. The only negative aspect to are the scenes without the monster. There is basically no human chemistry between the human characters and it probably would have made the film a lot better. Also, Faith Domergue's character of Professor Joyce was hard to figure out. At first it seems as if her character wants to be taken seriously, but as the film goes on she seems to act as the typical pretty face that screams whenever danger approaches. However, the real star of the film is the monster, who was probably one of Harryhausen's finest creations.

Also, one of the more interesting things about this film was the fact that they mentioned that the monster first appeared off the coast of Japan. Of course, this film was released about a year after another monster appeared off the coast of Japan, Gojira (aka. Godzilla).

Despite all of its flaws, this was still a good effort by the master.
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
The Abyssal Octopus
claudio_carvalho15 July 2015
The state-of-art atomic submarine under the command of Commander Pete Mathews (Kenneth Tobey) is hold back by something weird in the sea. Pete reports to the Admiral and contacts the prominent scientists Prof. Lesley Joyce (Faith Domergue) and Dr. John Carter (Donald Curtis) to investigate. They conclude that the submarine was attacked by a giant radioactive octopus developed from bombing tests in the Pacific Ocean that would threaten the oceans. The Navy Command does not accept the explanation, but when a ship is sunk by the octopus, they realize the menace. Cmdr. Mathews teams-up with Carter and Joyce and has a love affair with her. But soon the monster attacks San Francisco and the trio is the only chance to stop the creature.

"It Came from Beneath the Sea" is a weak sci-fi about an abyssal octopus, fruit of bomb tests in the ocean. I am a big fan of Sci-Fi's from the 50 's, but this one is too dated, military and lame. The story takes place after WWII and during the Cold War in a period when the military people were in the summit of their careers; but there are many others good movies from this period. The greatest problem is the lack of action, with the romance without any chemistry between Pete and Joyce with John Carter with them all the time in a total waste of time. The period of research is also too long. The stop-motion effects are OK for a 1955 film. The good point is Prof. Lesley Joyce, a woman ahead of time with her independence and not fainting or screaming like most of the heroins from the 50's and 60's movies. My vote is four.

Title (Brazil): "O Monstro do Mar Revolto" ("The Monster from the Choppy Sea")
6 out of 10 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Sexist Feminism
disinterested_spectator2 January 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Faith Domergue had a cold beauty that made her suitable as female scientist Professor Leslie Joyce. The stereotype of the cold, hard scientist whose intellect does not allow itself to be swayed by mere sentiment and feeling was especially prevalent in the old science fiction movies, and thus a beautiful female scientist constituted a special challenge for a macho man, used to having his way with ordinary women. In this movie, said macho man is Commander Pete Mathews.

A lot of old movies are sexist by twenty-first century standards, but science fiction movies from the 1950s, with their inevitable beautiful female scientists, often have a feminist theme in them, pushing back against that sexism. But the message tends to be mixed, with the movie expressing a sexist attitude one minute and a feminist attitude the next. No more is this so than in "It Came from Beneath the Sea."

Joyce's colleague is Dr. John Carter. They have both been called in to investigate a hunk of mysterious substance that got caught in the diving plane of Mathews' submarine. When Joyce definitively determines the nature of the substance, a piece of giant octopus, Carter kisses her on the cheek, and then she nestles in his arms as Mathews calls Naval Intelligence. If they were actually involved romantically, this would not be so strange. But they are not. As a result, we get that strange mixture of feminism and sexism: on the one hand, she is the expert in her field and has found the solution; on the other hand, she is a pretty girl that men just naturally kiss and hold in their arms, even when that man is a colleague in a professional setting.

On their last night in Pearl Harbor, they all decide to have dinner together at a restaurant. After Mathews and Joyce dance for a while, we think that Mathews is going to try to kiss her, but she moves her head forward and kisses him instead and then puts her arms around him. So, contrary to appearances, she is a sexually aggressive woman. Then they return to the table and have their meal. When Mathews realizes that Joyce still intends to go to Cairo to study the Red Sea with Carter, he is shocked. Presumably, he thought that since they kissed, she was going to give up all this foolishness about a career, marry him, and have babies. He leaves in a huff.

Their plans to go to Cairo, however, are foiled by the disappearance of a tramp steamer. In order to get the facts, a doctor examines the survivors. After the first survivor tells his story, the doctor decides he needs the care of a psychiatrist. The other three survivors, not wanting to be committed to a mental institution, deny having seen anything. They are given lie-detector tests, which show that they are lying about not seeing anything. And then the first survivor recants his story so that he can be released from the infirmary. Mathews and the other officers are exasperated and just don't understand why they can't get the truth out of these guys.

Professor Joyce rises to the occasion. Removing her coat so as to expose a little more of her soft, warm flesh, she tells the officers she will talk to the first survivor when he is released, and then contrives to be alone with him in a room. Using her womanly wiles—giving him sexy looks, touching his hand, showing a little leg—she gets the man to admit he saw the sea monster, which the officers hear through the intercom. So, you see, that's why we need female scientists, because they have special ways of getting to the truth.

Mathews and Joyce decide to investigate reports of poor fishing along the northwest coast, because it may be that the octopus has been eating all the fish. They spot what might be called an octopus footprint on the beach and they send for Carter. When Carter arrives with the deputy sheriff, Mathews asks Carter to help him persuade Joyce to leave and let the Navy take over the job. When Carter asks what Joyce has to say about that, Mathews responds, "What's the difference what she says?" At that point, Carter proceeds to lecture Mathews about women: "There's a whole new breed who feel they're just as smart and just as courageous as men. And they are. They don't like to be overprotected. They don't like to have their initiative taken away from them."

Joyce picks up the argument: "A, you'd want me to miss the opportunity to see this specimen, one that may never come again. B, you'd be making up my mind for me. And C, I not only don't like being pushed around, but you underestimate my ability to help in a crisis." Carter says that he is entirely on her side, as she nestles into the arm her puts around her. Mathews concedes to having lost the argument.

Suddenly, the octopus appears and kills the deputy, causing Joyce to scream like a girl.

The octopus starts wreaking havoc on San Francisco, Mathews and Carter take turns saving each other's lives, during which Joyce screams again, finding solace first in Carter's arms and then Mathews', until at last the octopus is killed.

They have dinner again. Mathews, saying that women can change, says he wants Joyce to marry him and start a family. She says she hasn't time for that and offers to collaborate with him on a book, "How to Catch a Sea Beast." Mathews tells Carter he is right about this new breed of women.
5 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
An enjoyable 50's giant monster flick.
Hey_Sweden22 December 2011
"It Came from Beneath the Sea" may get overshadowed by movies like "Them!" and "Tarantula" when it comes to the giant monster movies of the Atomic Age, but it's a good and enjoyable example of the genre.

The "It" of the title is an enormous octopus that has become radioactive thanks to A Bomb testing and, because its prey can now be alerted to its presence, it's been forced to move out of its natural habitat and look for sustenance elsewhere. Among the people figuring out how to track down the beast and destroy it are intrepid submarine commander Pete Matthews (Kenneth Tobey) and scientists Lesley Joyce (Faith Domergue) and John Carter (Donald Curtis).

The movie is typical of its kind in the way that an ever present narrator provides us with a generous amount of exposition. It is admittedly somewhat slow and dialogue heavy much of the time, and truthfully doesn't feature a whole lot of good octopus action, but in a way this does help in the appreciation of all of those moments when the monster makes its presence known.

This was the first collaboration between producer Charles H. Schneer and legendary stop motion expert Ray Harryhausen, and Harryhausen's effects are as always quite fun to watch. Even if budget constraints necessitated the octopus possess six tentacles rather than eight, the effects still work incredibly well. Robert Gordon's direction is efficient right down the line, up to the big finish which is equal parts exciting and suspenseful. Of course, with an engaging Tobey in the lead, this is highly watchable on that merit alone, as he'd proved himself a reliable hero in this and the other 50's science fiction efforts "The Thing from Another World" and "The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms". The beautiful Domergue is good, with her character in the mold of other leading ladies from the era: intelligent and capable, and more than eye candy. Curtis is solid in a no-nonsense role and the three main characters also figure in a love triangle that takes up a little too much of the running time. A fine supporting cast also includes Ian Keith, Dean Maddox Jr., Chuck Griffiths, Harry Lauter, Richard W. Peterson, and Del Courtney. Anybody who enjoys the genre, Harryhausen's work, or the actors is sure to have a good time with "It Came from Beneath the Sea".

Seven out of 10.
3 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
It Came from Beneath the Sea
Scarecrow-8828 March 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Atomic submarine crew under Commander Pete Mathews(the always reliable Kenneth Tobey, a veteran of classic B movie sci-fi horror), unequipped cruising supposedly uninhabited Pacific waters, encounters massive object on sonar which damages their X-ray equipment leaving tissue embedded in the diving planes. The Navy call on the knowledge of marine scientists/biologists Professor John Carter(Donald Curtis), renowned as the essential mind in his field, and Professor Lesley Joyce(Faith Domergue, whose sex appeal is well established in this flick)an up and coming authority in the study of aquatic life, to study the tissue so that an answer can be provided as to what the submarine encountered. They soon discover, as missing fisherman have already, that an enormous octopus, living in the extreme depths of the ocean, was disturbed by H-bomb testing with the radioactivity breeding an insatiable hunger for human or large animal life, leading to it's submerging to the surface in search of food. The scientists will assist Mathews and the Navy in a search for the octopus after it attacks a steamer in Canadian waters and a family driving along an Oregon beach. Closing the North Pacific in search for the marine monster, the Navy will race against time in the hopes of finding it as other countries in the surrounding areas grow restless with the secrecy of why their businesses are being effected. But, matters will only grow worse as the octopus sets it's sights on San Francisco..

Despite the love-triangle melodrama between Mathews, Joyce and Carter which develops as they seek the monster, and a narrative device used to spoon-feed the viewer( was often the case in the 50's), this is quite an entertaining little creature feature thanks to Harryhausen magic. The aquatic beast exposes it's massive tentacles as it destroys a portion of Golden Gate Bridge, ripping to shreds a clock tower, breaking into a store window, reaching into the streets as frightened civilians scurry for escape, grappling a steamer before pulling it underwater, and getting it's skin penetrated by a specially made warhead(patterned after a harpoon is encased in the nose;instead of exploding on contact it is designed to penetrate the flesh, by means of spreading barbs, the warhead will be set off electronically). The monster even surfaces on the coast of an Oregon embankment to grab a victim and holds Mathews' submarine hostage before he and Carter attempt to hurt it with explosives. Harryhausen's monster is the real star, but the leads have good chemistry and the screenplay plucks from the topic of the time, a villain of our own creation being the H-bombs we experiment with through explosions, to give the audience a reason for why it is attacking us(..not to mention making a statement about the dangers of radiation). Good fun. Tobey is always a welcome presence as the heroic, no-nonsense, man-in-charge, who you find believable as the one others trust as a leader when facing a crisis, needing the type of commander who can think on his feet. It's hard, though, to compete with those Harryhausen tentacles which rise from the watery depths to snatch terrified on-lookers..
3 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
See what happens when seafood sees food on land?
Carycomic17 February 2003
Warning: Spoilers
There are many who feel that this film is a low-budget loser, even for the 1950's. But, I pooh-pooh that theory!

*"Pooh-pooh" doesn't violate the no-swearing rule, does it?*

Ray Harryhausen's stop-motion effects have been the inspiration for many of the CGI geniuses working in Hollywood, today.

*Possible spoiler, here.*

Sure, the original model of the sea monster had six rather than eight tentacles. BUT, LET'S NOT FORGET; IT'S SUPPOSED TO HAVE BEEN MUTATED BY RADIATION! So, if one stretches one's imagination, one can plausibly convert that money-saving blooper into stunted anatomical growth. And, personally? I give Harryhausen's Hexapod four stars, when I compare it to that laughable eight-armed animatron in SciFi Channel's "Octopus 2!"

So, good night and good viewing.
3 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
This Film Should Be Underneath The Sea....Permanently
ccthemovieman-129 March 2007
This is another of those cornball "cult classics" of the 1950s, which usually are the science- fiction films. It gets recognized because of Ray Harryhausen, whose reputation as the early whiz of special-effects only gets bigger and bigger through the years. Film critics put the man on a pedestal and it seems like none of the films he ever worked on are ever criticized.

Well, I, too, enjoyed his expertise back in the '50s through the '70s, but that doesn't mean the films - such as all those Jason and the Argonaut/Greek mythology films - were any good. Most of the time, except for monsters and skeletons coming to life, they were terrible because the dialog was so brutal and the acting sub-par.

Here, we have much of the same. The giant octopus is cool - but not scary by today's standards - but the corny dialog in all the male-female courting scenes is just awful. Take a look at the cast, too: not too impressive. The worst part of the whole film is that nothing much happens until the end. We don't even get much of a chance to enjoy the campy octopus!
12 out of 28 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Ray Storey: Narrator and "Reporter"
Jim-49918 July 2000
I just watched this on video again after years and find the special effects very well done, especially when the creature attacks San Francisco. Interesting enough story. One thing I noticed, isn't the reporter (Ray Storey?) played by the same person as the narrator? Sounds exactly the same. Isn't this also the guy who narrated "Earth Vs the Flying Saucers" (another Ray Harryhausen's special effects movie) and "Atomic Submarine"?
3 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Enjoyable 50's creature feature
Woodyanders11 December 2011
Warning: Spoilers
A gigantic radioactive octopus makes a bee-line for San Francisco. Meanwhile, rugged Navy Captain Pete Matthews (well played by the always dependable Kenneth Tobey) has to find some way to stop the beast before it's too late. Director Robert Gordon, working from a compact script by George Worthing Yates, relates the engrossing story at a steady pace, maintains a serious tone throughout, and stages the monster attack scenes with aplomb (the sequence with the big creature destroying the Golden Gate Bridge rates as the definite exciting highlight). The solid acting from the competent cast helps a lot: Tobey does well in one of his customary stalwart hero roles, the lovely Faith Domergue holds her own as the feisty Professor Lesley Joyce, and Donald Curtis contributes a sturdy turn as the esteemed Dr. John Carter. Ray Harryhausen's typically fine and fluid stop-motion animation does an ace job of bringing the slimy behemoth to life. Moreover, there's a surprisingly radical and progressive subtext concerning Professor Joyce, there's an earnest quality to this picture that's impossible to dislike, and the inevitable romance between Matthews and Joyce provides a good deal of sweet charm thanks to the strong chemistry between Tobey and Domergue. Both Henry Freulich's stark black and white cinematography and Mischa Bakaleinikoff's robust'n'rousing score are up to snuff. An immensely entertaining giant monster movie.
2 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews

Recently Viewed