Scientists drug and capture the creature, who becomes enamored with the head scientist's female assistant (Julie Adams). The lonely creature, "a living amphibious missing link," escapes and kidnaps the object of his affec... more »tion. Chief scientist (Richard Carlson) then launches a crusade to rescue his assistant ans cast the ominous creature back to the depths from where he came. Well-acted and directed, and with Bud Westmore's brilliantly designed monster, Creature From The Black Lagoon remains an enduring tribute to the imaginative genius of its Hollywood creators.« less
Michael R Gates | Nampa, ID United States | 11/08/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Though it features the weakest of the classic Universal monsters, THE CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON is still a first-rate horror film. Two decades before Steven Spielberg's JAWS made us fearful about swimming too far beyond the beach, this classic movie made us believe that something weird and evil could be lurking below the water's surface. The story revolves around a scientific expedition in the Amazon jungle. Spurred by the recent discovery of a strange fossil, the scientists hope to find evidence of what may be the "missing link" between humans and the first of our ancestors to have crawled up out of the sea. Then, while collecting rocks and fossils from the bottom of a sequestered little lagoon, they unwittingly intrude upon the lair of the titular creature, a fish-like humanoid--or "gillman"--who just might be a living example of the fossils they seek.Unlike the other rubber-suit monsters in B-grade horror flicks from the 1950s, the eponymous monster in this film does actually look real and frightening. Especially scary are the close-up shots of the creature when he is out of the water. Gasping for air, his mouth opens and closes in short spasms as the fins on his gills gesticulate in a parallel rhythm, and he quite convincingly comes across as a giant mutant fish with nothing but most malevolent of intentions.Even in black-and-white, the underwater photography in THE CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON is absolutely beautiful, and it is often cited as one of the best aspects of the film. Much of this underwater footage was shot in protected nature reserves in Florida, and though it was not directed by the film's primary director, Jack Arnold, it fits in seamlessly with Arnold's top-notch above-water directing style. Also top-notch are the performances in the film, especially from principals Richard Carlson, Richard Denning, and Julia Adams. Speaking of beautiful film footage, Ms. Adams looks fantastic in a bathing suit, even in the conservative swimwear of the 1950s. And while we're on the subject of sex, it's been nearly 50 years since THE CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON was released, but some critics and film historians still point to the sexual subtext of the film as the main reason for the its enduring popularity. It is supposedly a classic beauty-and-the-beast story--one of the scriptwriters has even been quoted as saying he was inspired by KING KONG--with Ms. Adams playing the beauty, of course, to the lovesick creature's beast. Though it is true that there are some scenes that are replete with sexual innuendo--the scene with Ms. Adams swimming in the lagoon while the creature lurks in the water just below can easily be read as symbolic of sexual intercourse--the titular creature is simply not a character that evokes sympathy, at least not to a degree that can make this film genuinely play like story of unrequited love. Indeed, the one aspect of creature that makes him rank just below the other classic Universal monsters is his lack of pathos. He's scary, to be sure, but devoid of the range of emotional response that makes it possible for an audience to identify with him in the way that they do with, say, the Frankenstein monster or the Wolfman. In spite of all the hoopla, then, it takes a bit of mental gymnastics to make this a love story. Still, Ms. Adams DOES look stunning in a bathing suit....In short, THE CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON is a genuine classic monster flick, right up there with Universal's best. It has great photography, excellent acting, a bathing beauty, and a realistic and genuinely scary monster. It should be on the must-see list of any true horror fan.[Note: THE CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON was originally filmed in 3-D, and there are some really dynamic shots that are obviously meant to exploit the 3-D technique. Unfortunately, the particular 3-D process originally used on this film only works with a special projection setup, and, consequently, the 3-D version is not available for home video. But don't let that deter you from buying the film for home viewing; it is still an excellent movie even without the 3-D effect. Some art-house theaters do occasionally screen the 3-D version--I happened to see it in 3-D in a Baltimore theater sometime in the early 1990s, and it was a great experience--so if you ever get a chance to see it in that format, DO IT!]"
Horror classic with unforgettable Universal monster
Simon Davis | 10/25/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Creature From The Black Lagoon" would have to go down as one of the classic titles of the 1950's horror/Sci Fi genre. Too often dismissed as drive-in fodder, this film is a real classic and is a film which grows more on me with each screening. Indeed I find more to like about this production all the time. It's enduring popularity is a great testimony to its excellent production values, good acting, intelligent storyline, and the real claustrophobic atmosphere it engenders."Creature" also boosts one of the most memorable of Universal's great gallery of classic monsters in the form of the Gillman superbly realised by the genius of designer Bud Westmore. Coming quite late in the long tradition of Universal monsters the Gillman is right up there with such memorable creations as Dracula, Frankenstein, The Bride of Frankenstein and The Wolfman. He was to return to the screen in two sequels "Revenge Of The Creature" and "The Creature Walks Among Us" however it is for this original effort that he is justly remembered. The story in reality is a simple one. A rare find of a clawed hand that has no relationship with any known link in evolution is unearthed during an excavation in the Amazon jungle. The possibilty of a sensational find prompts a group of scientists to set out on a expedition to find the rest of its body only to discover themselves having to deal with a live ancestor of this fossil in the form of a strange underwater Gillmam. Much to their distress they find themselves trapped in the eerie and mysterious Black Lagoon having to literally fight for their lives against this creature who is not only aggressive towards those that disturb his Amazion shelter but begins killing off the expedition team one by one. He also takes a shine to the only female member of the expedition (Julia Adams) and proceeds to kidnap her and take her down into his underwater cavern. The end result of this is that not only is the Gillman captured and then escapes but he manages to elude his unwelcome guests and disappear into the swamp without trace.The production boosts a first rate cast for its kind and has the services of veteran latin actor Antonio Moreno in the role of Dr. Maia who originally finds the fossil and is responsible for the expedition being formed to find the rest of it. The main focus of the story is on the three way relationship between the characters played by Richard Carlson (veteran of many 1950's Sci Fi efforts) Julie Adams and Richard Denning. The conflict situation between these three, Carlson wanting to protect the strange creature and Denning wanting to capture it and make money for the research institute from it, is very effectively done and as the crisis situation with the Gillman reaches its climax the sparks between them make for a very well crafted and realistic situation. Julie Adams, the love interest of the piece is perhaps best known for this role and her very memorable swimming sequence photographed by second unit camera man James C. Havens is magnificently done with the Gillman hovering just under Miss Adams in the shots with a strange combination of playfulness and menace. These scenes are probably the most famous from the film and indeed all the extensive underwater photography is excellent.The overall look of "Creature From The Black lagoon" is really unforgettable and the suit worn by the Gillman is excellent and by far the best of its kind in all the "creature features" of the 1950's. It looks realistic and like a real prehistoric skin and adds tremendously to the overall creepy appearance of the Gillman. Veteran director Jack Arnold who was a talented director of some of the best Sci Fi efforts of the 1950's guides here with a sure hand and the tight closed in set of the mysterious lagoon combined with shots of the causeways of the real Amazon basin used here, give the film a real feeling of isolation and fear with the monster always lurking nearby ready to attack. Indeed the atmosphere of the lagoon goes a long way to instilling the terror into this story.I personally love these 1950's horror and Sci Fi efforts and "Creature From The Black Lagoon" is one of the very best and is a personal favourite of mine. Its story when produced was an original one and the acting is undertaken with a seriousness about the material that places it above most of the other efforts of this period. For a thrilling piece of entertainment with a classic icon of horror cinema on display you can't go past "Creature From The Black Lagoon" for a great viewing experience."
Simon Davis | 10/05/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"They don't get any better than this: my favorite film "monster." The last word is quoted because like the other great "monsters" (The Phantom of the Opera, The Wolf Man, The Mummy, the Hunchback of Notre Dame, the Frankenstein monster, King Kong), they are really sympathetic, misunderstood beings. In "Creature" and the 2 excellent sequels, we increasingly feel for the Creature, who longs to love, but only gets intruded upon, burned, harpooned, caged, probed, shocked, vivisected, shot at, all in the name of science. It's a trilogy that improves with age, with the beautifully designed 'Creature' costume a landmark. Julie Adams and Richard Carlson play sympathetic scientists (she asks "will he live?" after the Creature is drugged and banged on, he stops the men from continually shooting the Creature at climax), while Richard Denning is cast as a "big-game hunter" type who ultimately gets his. The famous underwater scene with the exquisite, dark-haired, beauteous Adams in a stunning one-piece white bathing suit swimming on top of the water while the Creature (Ricou Browning) below mirrors her movements is poetry. On land the Creature is less graceful, masterfully mimed by Ben Chapman. Picture quality is fine, and the disc features great commentary by Tom Weaver, and a superb 40-minute documentary, featuring scholars, and Adams, Chapman, Browning, Lori Nelson ("Revenge of the Creature") discussing the films. A top-notch package."
The Creature Lives Forever!
Bill W. Dalton | Santa Ana, CA USA | 03/01/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is the movie that gave us the phrase "man-in-a-rubber-suit" to describe the monster/alien/creature/whatever in the horror and science fiction films that followed it. And it actually was a suit made of foam rubber, then still a new product, that made the Creature so effectively scary. I saw this movie upon its initial release, in awesome 3-D, and it was a chilling thrill ride! I had never seen the 3-D process better presented and I had never seen anything like the Creature before! This classic is one of my top ten movies of all time in its genre.Film historian Tom Weaver provides a fascinating commentary on the movie. He describes the origin of the ides for the creature, points out some of the gaffs in the movie (such as the telephone pole in the background of the lagoon, the creature's little pinky claw bending like the rubber it is, the distinct wet footprints of the creature on the deck of the Rita while it's been previously shown that the creature never took foot steps; he slid his big feet on the deck!) but none of these flaws, and many others, make the film any less fun!There are cast and crew interviews with Julie Adams, Ricou Browning, Ben Chapman, and others, that are interesting and informative. The production notes and still photos, scene index, several different versions of the theatrical trailers, biographies, etc., are very well done. The menus are easy to read and use. All in all, this is an outstanding DVD, and every fan of the Creature and of the `50s horror/sci-fi genre will enjoy it!"
Dragged Down Into the Water By a Demon
Ryan Costantino | Nowhere, Special | 10/15/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"No matter how many times you see this movie it always seems fresh and original. Probably because when it was released it was! The Creature is one of the top 10 Movie monsters of all time. The scientific approach of this movie is today, laughable, but in its day it was a bold move to make evolutionary biology integral to a film's plot. The early glimpses of the Creature allow for a buildup of suspense. Throughout the enitre film you feel that the Creature is the victim, even after its killed and mutilated. Equally important is Julia Adams whose white bathing suit must have been quite scandalous in 1954! And I wouldn't be giving her her due if I didn't say that in her day she was a knockout! The exploratory scene invovling the Creature and Julia Adams where the Creature tries to figure out what Adams is by first swimming stroke for stroke underneath her and then touching her feet is CLASSIC! The Creature is great, the violence done artfully, drawing on the imagination's idea of what happened, a quick glimpse of a clenched hand in rigor mortis, a fishing net torn to pieces as the ship is rocked back and forth from below...A must have film for any Horror fan! "I'll get the aqualung"!"