Radioactive waste dumped in the Atlantic Ocean awakens a prehistoric monster than can project electric shocks and radioactive beams. After the beast terrorizes the English coast, officials decide against attacking the crea... more »ture with conventional weaponry because such a strategy would spread a dangerous amount radioactive contamination over the entire country. Meanwhile, the monster approaches London...« less
Heather L. Parisi | St. Augustine, FL USA | 09/02/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Basically the story goes like this; a Cornish fisherman is found by his daughter covered with radiation burns. His last "word" to her on the surf is, "behemoth," a citation from the bible which we understand means some kind of monster did this to him. Eventually, England is besieged by this dinosaur which as the film unfolds is evidently the tragic by-product of careless atomic fallout in the Pacific. Ultimately, only a special torpedo fired from a two man sub in London harbor can save London and ultimately the world.
Yes, the story line is rather cliché, but there is more, much more. Around 1960 I saw "THE GIANT BEHEMOTH" many times and each time I was genuinely enchanted and terrified by it. The premise of a dinosaur suddenly appearing and destroying a major city, London in this case, had been done before and perhaps somewhat better in "THE BEAST FROM 20,000 FATHOMS. However, this was a new setting, England and ultimately London and this monster spewed radiation at anyone and anything within its sight, a take off on the germ carrying "Beast From 20,000 Fathoms" naturally, but still something new. Also, the Behemoth was invisible to radar so its movements were impossible to track as it traveled mostly underwater. This virtual invisibility caused more than a few fatalities including the venerable Doctor Sampson [Jack MacGowran] who was in a helicopter over the Thames trying to get a closer look at what no one who saw lived to tell about. Of course we had to wait an hour into this 79 minute flick to actually see the monster, but this type of invisible sneaky monster becomes visible in these old creature features incrementally which adds to both the campiness and suspense. Somehow after several failed attempts and desperate situations the monster is vanquished!
BUT .. BUT .. BUT .. As the film ends we hear on the car radio that dead fish are covering the shores of New England just as they had in England just prior to this whole thing beginning! The two scientists having just barely survived this ordeal looked at each other rather ominously, and without uttering a word we knew that they knew, that it was all about to happen again! Maybe we would not be so lucky again!?
For a long time I debated as to whether this film or the "BEAST FROM 20,000 FATHOMS" was superior. I have recently concluded that the stories are about equal though very similar as is the acting, but the superior stop action animation by Ray Harryhausen in "The Beast" gives it a clear edge. Although Eugène Lourié Directed both films [plus Gorgo] and Willis O'Brien did some of the Special Effects for the "Giant Behemoth" there are some major visual weaknesses and much less visual air time in the "Giant Behemoth" for the featured monster. Also as I recall one pretty gritty scene where the Behemoth trashes a ferry and does leave some people dead in the water has not made it to video, having been edited out in the transfer probably because it was deleted from the TV version that played in the 1960's. Too much gore?
Well, whichever film is better is now for you to judge.
If this genre [50's style atomic creature/features] is appealing to you, this film is among the best of its kind. The film transfer is very good for a 46 year old film, and very well worth viewing. Nevertheless a DVD, preferably remastered with the lost ferry scene restored would be greatly appreciated and make a more equitable rival for "The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms".
ANOTHER GIANT, RADIOACTIVE MONSTER
Tim Janson | Michigan | 05/31/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Giant Behemoth, and isn't that just a bit redundant, was directed by Eugene Lourie who was no stranger when it came to films in this genre having directed the 1953 classic Beast From 20,000 Fathoms and 1958's Colossus of New York and would go on to direct Gorgo in 1961. Clearly the man liked giant monsters. Behemoth is in the latter in terms of quality behind both Gorgo and Beast from 20,000 fathoms. This creature threatens the shores of England not only with his size but also being able to emit radiation to burn people. The stop-motion animation was done by Willis O' Brien who did King Kong and was Ray harryhausen's mentor. The animation itself looks very good as you might expect but the the monster up close looks a little cheap and cheesy. At any rate the best rampages through London, even destroying London Bridge. The movie was on a very low budget and it shows but it's more laughable rather than being a detriment to the film. The performances in the film are adequate, in fact better than you might expect for a movie with such a small budget, so kudos to the mostly British cast. Not as good as many other giant, radiation-created monsters of the 1950's but still worth a view."
Classic film, MISSING KEY SCENE THOUGH!
albert vitti | Stamford,CT. | 04/09/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"A Great film but shame on Warner Bros. for releasing an edited version! Film quality is good, but the FERRY SCENE where the creature attacks and sinks the ferry is MISSING! Great sequence involving people boarding a ferry for an afternoon ride, when suddenly the creature attacks. Old woman eating, little girl with doll, full ship of people become victims of the beast. Memorable last scene in this sequence showing bodies floating, burned from the creatures radioactive rays, gruesome, yet an important part of the movie, What Happened To This Scene? Too long to blame it on broken film, obviously they used an Edited print! Too bad, hopefully the eventual DVD release will be INTACT! And COMPLETE!"
A pretty decent dinosaur flick for the end of 50's sci fi
Michael Scott | San Antonio, Tx United States | 08/03/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Okay, a lot of criticism has been said about this movie,and I'd like to also add my two cents worth. First, like most science fiction movies in the 50's, this wasn't meant to be a major production, unlike most of the movies like this at that time, the makers wanted to have a monster that wasn't a man in suit or other and opted to have what was known at that time as the best special effect for these types of film known as stop-motion animation, only two people did stop-motion at that time that was really good, Ray Harryhausen, who did all the animation himself, and gotten really exspensive, and the team with Willis O'Brien, which was usually Pete Peterson doing most or all of the animation. Yes, this is the English version sort to speak of "Beast From 20,000 Fathoms",but for all its shortcomings still is a decent monster flick. Aside from the same car being stepped on 3 times in different ranges of the same shot, I find the animation of the Behemoth as pretty good, especially when it comes up on the dock, walks down the pier, and attacks a crane all in the same shot, also the same when it attacks power lines later on in the film. Also the skin detail has to be one of the most realistic I've ever seen on an animated model, actually looking like real reptile skin. Performances by the actors are all good, never could figure why they got Gene Evens though, who usually played in westerns or as tough guy sergents, although he is good and beleivable in this film. Another thing about this film is has to be the most butchered film I've ever seen. The video release from Warners Bros video has the ferry scene and several others gone from it as well as what follows after that scene, making it 9 minutes shorter than it really is. I bought this video twice with that problem. After that I tried to record it off the SCI-FI Channel and it was really cut, all the way down to 67 minutes. I finally thought I'd buy it again and this time it has all the scenes in making it the 80 minute film it was origially timed at. I guess what really intrigues about this film is how it starts off as a mysterious death type play and finally comes down to a huge prehistoric beast attacking London. One thing to take in consideration about movies like this, movies like these are for us people who grew up with these films and know what they had to offer, unlike the CGI films that promise alot and then (fizz)out."
The music, the lighting, the sound! whoa
Kevin Huart | 12/17/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"to say this movie is underrated is well an understatement. I'm amazed that all the astute fan reviews have not noted the magnificent spine tingling music score the dramatic lighting in many scenes and the juicy sound effects not to mention the distinctive memorable roar of the monster. There was only one perfect giant monster picture and that was the Beast from 20,000 Fathoms but while the Beast is equivalent to the technical polish of say TVs Twilight Zone the Giant Behemoth is like TV's the Outer Limits, rich with atmosphere and it scares the hell out of you. Those hair raising closeups of the monster with those piercing, hypnotic Plutonian eyes. The superbly played out Sherlock Holmes style hunt for the creature in sharp B&W photography filmed mostly on location. Finally the grippingly presented theme of radioactive fallout was never portrayed to such dramatic effect not even in Godzilla 54'. The ferry scene is chilling because it plays like a commercial almost, seemingly out of place int he movie with a tame documentary style routine and then a female passenger sees somthing big and funny looking in the water and starts to point at it with mild amusement until we hear a woman's scream and the rest is horror movie history. This scene although flawed has taken a famed life of it's own by the infamous deletions it faced in many releases. Like it was banned for being too grim perhaps which is likely because the movie was given an x certificate in it's first uk release which in a way makes sense because the film does scare children for real. but from the opening heaving shots of the deep atlantic to the,eyepopping shots of the monster chewing dock cranes ,industrial power lines and incinerating farm boys on piles of hay to the daring underwater climax the Giant Behemoth will make you say WHOA! one way or another before it is over. It's a true classic."