Phantom from 10,000 Leagues, The

Tagged: Film

Film (1955). Milner Brothers Productions/American Releasing Corporation. Produced by Jack Milner. Directed by Dan Milner. Written by Lou Rusoff from an original story by Dorys Lukather. Cast includes Rodney Bell, Cathy Downs, Norma Hanson (uncredited), Vivi Janiss, Phillip Pine, Helene Stanton, Kent Taylor and Michael Whalen. 80 minutes. Black and white.

Bodies are washing up on a (presumably) California beach, showing signs of exposure to intense radiation. Professor King of the College of Oceanography (Whalen) inspects the scene of one such incident, followed by Ted Baxter (Taylor). After the Professor departs, US Defense Department investigator William "Bill" Grant (Bell) appears. He questions a suspicious character seen on the hillside with a spear gun: George Thomas (Pine), assistant to Professor King, supposedly just out for a walk. Grant is sceptical but allows Thomas to go on his way. Ted Baxter learns that the professor is acting oddly when his daughter Lois (Janiss) clearly lies about his whereabouts that night. It is soon revealed that Baxter is actually Dr Ted Stevens, an expert on the effects of radiation on marine life, and is working with Grant to investigate both the deaths, and suspected local espionage activity. Stevens has previously written a book on his discovery of how to use heavy water to focus radiation from natural sources, such as a uranium deposit, into a type of Death Ray. Professor King duplicated this process independently, and also accidentally created the titular Monster (Hanson) in experiments of his own. Thomas and Wanda (Stanton) are working for a by now Clichéd "unnamed foreign power" which covets details of the potential new Weapon. After capturing this pair, Grant and Stevens plan to destroy the sea Monster; they are beaten to this by Professor King, who dives into the sea with dynamite, and blows up both the monster and himself. Unsurprisingly, Stevens and Lois have developed a romantic relationship by the conclusions.

No one involved seemed to have the slightest idea of what a league actually is; the ineffective monster seems to live at a depth of perhaps twenty to fifty feet Under the Sea. Nevertheless the film was reasonably successful, sometimes in a double bill with the superior The Day the World Ended (1955). [GSt]

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