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Creature from the Black Lagoon, The

Entry updated 9 February 2022. Tagged: Film.

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Film (1954). Universal. Directed by Jack Arnold. Written by Harry Essex, Arthur Ross, from a story by Maurice Zimm. Cast includes Julia Adams, Ricou Browning (uncredited), Richard Carlson and Richard Denning. 79 minutes. Black and white. 3-D.

A humanoid creature with gills successfully resists attempts by three scientists – attracted to the area by the discovery of a fossilized hand with fins – to take him from his native lagoon in the upper Amazon. One (Denning) is ready to kill it; another (Carlson) hopes to keep it alive. The Gill-Man – lumbering on land but remarkably graceful in the underwater sequences – became one of the icons of Universal's Monster Movies. Shot in 3-D, the film is richly atmospheric despite its routine script. It became an archetype of the genre through the bizarre eroticism of the Creature's fascination with the third scientist (Adams), especially in the balletic sequence where he (Browning in underwater sequences) swims unseen beneath her in a sensuous mime of intercourse. In some respects Steven Spielberg's successful Jaws (1975) was a remake of The Creature from the Black Lagoon. The film had two sequels: Revenge of the Creature (1954) and The Creature Walks Among Us (1956).

The official novelization is Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954) by Vargo Statten (see John Russell Fearn). A later, revisionist tie is Creature from the Black Lagoon (1977; 1980 as by E K Leyton) by Walter Harris using the House Name Carl Dreadstone; a belated third novelization is It Came from Outer Space (1982 chap) by Julian May writing as Ian Thorne. [PN/JB/DRL]


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