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Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, The

Entry updated 3 January 2017. Tagged: Film.

Film (1953). Mutual Pictures/Warner Bros. Director Eugène Lourié. Written by Lou Morheim, Fred Freiberger, based on "The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms" (23 June 1951 Saturday Evening Post; vt "The Fog Horn" in The Golden Apples of the Sun, coll 1953) by Ray Bradbury. Cast includes Paul Christian, Cecil Kellaway, Paula Raymond and Kenneth Tobey. 80 minutes. Black and white.

This was the second of the 1950s Monster Movies – the first being The Thing (1951) – and the one that established the basic formula for most of those that followed. An atomic test in the Arctic wakes a Dinosaur frozen in the ice. It swims to its ancestral breeding-grounds – an area now covered by the city of New York, a classic sink of iniquity. It is finally trapped and killed in an amusement park. This is the first film on which model animator Ray Harryhausen had full control over the special effects, though these are not remarkable. Nor is the film, though it looks good: Lourié usually worked as an art director on mostly non-sf films, including some of Jean Renoir's most distinguished; his other sf films are Behemoth, the Sea Monster (1958), The Colossus of New York (1958) and Gorgo (1961). [JB]


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