Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Creature from the Black Lagoon - The Legacy Collection |
Creature from the Black Lagoon / Revenge of the Creature / The Creature Walks Among Us
Actors: Richard Carlson, Julie Adams, John Agar, Lori Nelson, Jeff Morrow
Directors: Jack Arnold, John Sherwood
Genres: Action & Adventure, Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy
For the first time ever, the original Creature from the Black Lagoon film comes to DVD in this extraordinary Legacy Collection. Included in the collection is the original classic, starring Richard Carlson, and two timeless... more »
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Great set, Great extras, Great price, but no 3-D.
S. Phillips | Las Vegas, NV United States | 08/27/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Both CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON and REVENGE OF THE CREATURE were shot in 3-D, but this set includes flat prints only, so I'll deduct one star for that.
Still, you can't blame the studio too much, as recreating the polarized, dual projector 3-D experience at home is no easy feat. No, these films were NOT shown in the inferior red/blue anaglyph format back in the 50s, though they have been shown that way on TV and in some revivals. Those versions look awful, and are an insult to the original 3-D versions. I'm glad they chose not to include downconverted anaglyph prints on the DVD, and the ColorCode format is even worse. The only choice for good 3-D at home is field sequential, but the glasses are $30 a pair and can't be included in the box. The studio COULD have included a FS 3-D version of the first and second films along with the modified flat print along with instructions on how to purchase the glasses if people were interested. However, even FS 3-D isn't perfect so at this time we will have to live with flat versions on this set. I've seen the original 3-D versions of these movies in all their polarized, clear glasses glory and for sure, people seeing these movies flat are missing out.
The final film, CREATURE WALKS AMONG US, was an ordinary flat film.
The extras on the set are worth the price alone, all films have audio commentaries, and REVENGE and WALKS AMONG US have cast member participation!
A great set, if not perfect.
P.S....the films are all B/W as intended."
They Don't Make'em Like This Anymore...
Joshua Chipman | Shelby, IA USA | 05/20/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"In a way, I'm quite glad that every attempt to remake this movie has failed to materialize; were Universal to remake it now, it would be a neo-slasher crap fest laced with nothing but screaming teenagers and a totally unsympathetic gore factory of a monster. And while there are purists out there who may claim that the Gill Man doesn't really belong in the company of the other clssic Universal Monsters, the truth is that "The Creature From The Black Lagoon" IS the last great Universal monster movie. What's more, its sequels actually aren't as bad as others may want you to believe, particularly since they do accomplish the rare task of telling a different story in each entry - more than the "Jaws" sequels could manage - and as the central sympathetic character of each piece, the Creature himself does show significant character development over the course of three movies without degenerating into the high-camp approach that has since destroyed the likes of Jason Vorhees and Freddy Krueger.
CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON
Where better to start than the beginning? You probably know the drill: a group of scientists - one of whom happens to look particularly gorgeous in a white bathing suit - putters down the Amazon in search of the fossils of a 'missing link' between man and fish, only to find the living truth hiding out in a forgotten tributary. And it becomes clear that the Gill Man wants only two things: female companionship and solitude from everybody else. The plot pretty standard sci-fi fare for the 1950s (and earlier when you consider the first two movies are naught but a submerged remake of 'King Kong', but more on that later), but it's the execution of it that sets CFTBL above all other contenders of the era.
Under the expert direction of Jack Arnold, the cast is up to their task - as Kay Lawrence, Julia (Julie) Adams does sufficient acting to convince us she could have some scientific prowess despite her excellent screaming ability and great legs; Richard Carlson does another capable job of playing a scientist-hero type - something he was known for in '50s sci-fi - as Kay's fiance David Reed; Richard Denning makes a great antagonistic figure in the form of David and Kay's boss Mark Williams; and Nestor Paiva provides comic relief as Lucas, the eccentric captain of the RITA. Then, of course, there's the 'star', or rather both of him: Ben Chapman is the man inside the monster suit - with the slickest and most iconic monster design of the '50s - while topside, with Ricou Browning playing the Gill Man beneath the waves, a role he would reprise for the two sequels.
Filled with equal measures of emotional resonance, textbook dialogue and good old-fashioned shivers - accompanied by one of the most surprisingly functional 'patchwork' music scores ever produced - CFTBL is unquestionably the best monster movie of the '50s, and one of the best sci-fi movies of that time.
Considering how few who were involved in making this movies are still around today, Universal does an impressive job assembling its resources for the bonus features:
* The documentary "Back To The Black Lagoon", by film historian and Universal monster aficionado David Skal, provides some intriguing insights into the making of the Gill Man trilogy, including such revelations as:
- The studio's original vision for the look of the Gill Man, and what they intended to do with that look after it was scrapped.
- The real makers of the Gill Man - including concept artist Milicent Patrick and sculptors Chris Mueller and Jack Keban.
- Comical anecdotes of on-set mishaps involving an eyebrow-raising trade-paper photo and a man-eating sea turtle.
- The principle behind the 3-D in which the first two movies were filmed, and the truth behind why the fad faded so quickly.
- Discussion about subtexts and implications in the films, and the progression of the Gill Man as a character.
* Audio commentary by film historian Tom Weaver, whose laborious dialogue drowns out the rest of the movie yet still provides ever more tantalizing details into the making of the films - as he himself admits early on, he does have much more to say and short running times to do it in. Through these commentaries you learn such interesting little tidbits as what role Orson Welles played in the genesis of the Gill Man, and how the first two Gill Man movies resemble a certain classic movie about a giant ape.
* Theatrical trailers for the first film, which when watched back-to-back, as they're presented, can get a little tiresome since most of the trailers contain the same rehashed footage and voiceover.
REVENGE OF THE CREATURE
A year has passed, and some more pretty confident scientists decide to capture the Gill Man and bring him back to civilization and put him on display in a marine life park, where he's observed by a beautiful blond icthyologist. I don't think I need to explain the rest.
Needless to say, with a plot like that, you can safely assume none of the characters from the original film are going to make any return appearances, except for, of course, the comic relief, Nestor Paiva, and then for a cameo. Still, John Agar as professor Clete Ferguson and Lori Nelson as icthyologist Helen Dobson do make a cute scientist couple, with John Bromfield playing the obligatory macho shark-wrangler type/monster fodder Joseph Hayes. And there are two other very notable cameos - one a topside appearance by Ricou Browning as a lab tech, the other a comical appearance by a young Clint Eastwood. Tom Hennessey is the topside Gill Man this outing, with Browning back in the suit for underwater shots.
Like most sequels, ROTC has its flaws, to be sure - one scene involves some visibly-imperfect wire work for one of the Gill Man's victims, and for some reason the sculptors gave the classic Gill Man design a pair of ping-pong-ball monster eyes, possibly for visibility purposes for the actors. But given the act it had to follow, ROTC is actually pretty worthwhile...especially when you consider that this DID get remade by Universal, sort of, as "Jaws 3". You figure out which one you'd rather watch.
THE CREATURE WALKS AMONG US
Fitting that for the last Gill Man movie, the Gill Man be forcibly removed from the undersea environment he's at home in - this time by being doused in kerosene and flames by the dunderheaded assistant of obsessive scientist William Barton (Jeff Morrow), who's determined to reshape the Gill Man into a land-lubber - we never do find out why - just as much as he's determined to make a complete subordinate out of his disillusioned child-bride wife Marcia (Leigh Snowden). Once again, a nobler scientific mind enters the equation, Tom Morgan (Rex Reason), and his rescue of the Gill Man from certain death, combined with the Gill Man's affinity for the opposite sex regardless of species, prove advantageous for Tom and Marcia when Dr. Barton begins eyeing those eyeing his wife with murder on his mind.
A lot of 'fans' don't like this movie, but I do. It solidifies the two overall themes of the Gill Man movies - that humankind is its own worst enemy, and that the Gill Man must deal with a world in which he doesn't belong. The chemistry between the human characters closely resembles that of the first film - one scientific philosophy that suggests we could benefit spiritually from what we learn, whereas another takes the path of benefitting materially from knowledge - and surprisingly, this time out the beast doesn't make a beeline for the beauty, although he does acknowledge her - maybe the Gill Man is just tired of having his heart broken. The land-locked Gill Man is played by Don Megowan, with the character's look radically altered as the result of being burned (a plot device re-used by Universal in "Jaws 2" to cheesier effect) - heck, they even put him in clothes! And Ricou Browning does make one final appearance as the submerged Gill Man, with the aid of stock footage from the first two films.
All in all, TCWAU does tie up the story pretty effectively, if not necessarily happily - the last scene of the picture is pretty sad - and with any luck Universal won't besmirch what is a good trilogy of films with a crappy trend-driven remake.
* More audio commentary by Tom Weaver, joined by Bob Burns for ROTC and TCWAU, and Lori Nelson on ROTC. It's fun to hear shared stories among the group, particularly Ms. Nelson talking about her film career and Burns sharing stories from members of the production team, so these commentaries are a lot less tight than that of the first film.
* More theatrical trailers, which are always a hoot, particularly the trailer for ROTC.
The bottom line: if you like your monster-movie series waterlogged, don't waste your time with the "Jaws" sequels. Universal got it right back in the '50s, and this is the proof. Buy this set, by cracky!"
mrliteral | 10/12/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"As one of the six "Legacy" collections featuring the popular Universal monsters, the Creature set has some distinctly unique features. In one way, it's the sparsest collection, with only three movies, but it also is the only one with commentaries on all the films. Perhaps more importantly is the nature of the Creature himself. While the other monsters are either purely supernatural (Dracula, the Wolf Man), purely man-made (Frankenstein's monster, the Invisible Man) or a combination of the two (the Mummy), only the Creature is a natural creature.
What also stands out in the Creature movies is that humanity in general comes off as the bad guys and the Creature is the most sympathetic figure. Acting in a generally defensive manner, the Creature is subjected to greater and greater torments. He actually is similar in this fashion to King Kong (which is not surprising, since the first two movies, when combined, are essentially remakes of that giant ape classic).
As is typically the case, the first movie - The Creature from the Black Lagoon - is the best in the bunch. Several scientists - as well as the essential female love interest - go to South America in search of the bones of a legendary fish-man, only to find a living one instead. The Creature develops an interest in the woman even as it wages war with the intruders in its Black Lagoon, leading to several deaths before the final confrontation.
In Revenge of the Creature, the Creature is captured and brought to a marine amusement park, where it is chained up, studied and displayed for the masses. (In both this movie and the third one, there is a lot of confusion between salt-water and fresh water life, with the Creature forced to alternate between the two.) A la King Kong, eventually, he breaks free and goes on a rampage. While this film is most noted for the screen debut of Clint Eastwood, this is actually only of minor significance: Eastwood is in the movie for only a minute, playing a very atypical role as an inept lab assistant.
In the third movie - The Creature Walks Among Us - the Creature is captured again but seriously burned in the process. The process to save him forces him to be a land creature, and this once mighty creature of the Amazon is forced to live in the San Francisco Bay area, unable to be master of the water anymore.
The 1950s were not great years in science fiction/horror film making, but the Creature movies, despite their flaws, are some of the best of the era, with a decent costume for the monster and reasonably good effects. Just as it was influenced by King Kong, you can see the clear influence these movies had on others, in particular, Jaws. For Universal, this would be the last of their iconic monsters, and unlike the others, it has not been subject to any remakes. With decent commentaries and other features, this is a fun set, a solid four star collection that will please fans of classic monster movies.
Wave 2 Of Universal's Monster Legacy Collections Arrives!
Erik Morton | Carmel, CA United States | 07/20/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I was expecting quite a bit from the Legacy Collections of DRACULA, FRANKENSTEIN, and THE WOLF MAN. But even so, all my expectations were thrown out the window, and then some. They are extraordinary DVDs, and any lover of classic horror would be ashamed not to have picked them up already. (By the way, the best way to do so is to get the box set, complete with three super-cool statuettes of all three monsters. Trust me, it's worth the extra $.) I was hoping (no, praying) that Universal would continue to deliver similar releases from their classic film vault. And now my, and all other monster fans' prayers have been answered. Come October (just in time for Halloween, obviously), three more L.C.s will appear on store shelves, featuring all five MUMMY films, the INVISIBLE MAN series, and, by far my favorite of all, the CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON collection. These have always been my absolute favorite monster movies of old, and to see not only the first one, but both its classic sequels previously unreleased on DVD, get similar treatment is quite exciting. Honestly, if Wave 2 of the L.C.s is half as good as Wave 1, I'll be far more than satisfied. (Oh, and I hope to God that a box set with collectible busts of the Mummy, the Invisible Man, and the Creature will also be available. Woudln't that be heaven . . . . . . . .)"