Creature From The Black Lagoon (1954)

In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth and the earth was without void…. Yes, that is how this movie started. The miracle of life begins…. And then 15 Million years later we are in the Amazon with archaeologists… They dig up the arm…paw…leg of a creature but OH NO we see a similar (non preserved) arm…paw…leg… in the water!

iMDB Synopsis: A strange prehistoric beast lurks in the depths of the Amazonian jungle. A group of scientists try to capture the animal and bring it back to civilization for study.

For the first of the movie, all we see is the extended arm of the Gill Man (as the credits call him).

For a black and white movie, the film is pretty crisp and clear.

Is there always a romance in the old creature features?

They are on a vessel named “Rita”.

I’m glad they did the underwater scenes actually underwater instead of pretending to swim in a studio – otherwise it would have been a lesser movie. The scene with the woman swimming and the creature is right below her… that was pretty great. The Gill Man swims inverted below her. Might be my favorite scene of the movie. Like with Kong, the monster is fascinated with the woman…

I tell you what, these actors of yesteryear in their hoochie shorts are rocking it…

Oh shit they shot it! I thought it was in the butt, looks to be the kidney area though. They call it a merman! And he is ON THA BOAT!

Wait… is that cocaine they’re putting in the water to stun the Gill Man…? Whatever it is, Gill Man was too smart for it or resistant to the effects….

He tried to snag the girl and then he got snagged himself. Women….sheesh.

So they have him trapped, wrapped up and they decide to go collect data?? Leaving the littlest guy and the lady behind to watch him? Fellas! And…. he got away.

I am going to take this moment to say, they had him trapped and they could have taken photos of him for the evidence they needed.

Gill Man sets a trap and dams them in the lagoon! There were some entanglements while they tried to clear the debris.

After shooting the creature a number of times, they let it go back out into the water and the last scene is the creature floating dead…. aw. I was rooting for Gill Man.

I enjoyed the movie. The picture was crisp. The actors were solid. The story was cheesy but the Gill Man made up for rit. Coming in at an hour and nineteen minutes, it is worth the watch!

Now some trivia and casting details…

Richard Carlson: Dr. David Reed
Julie Adams: Kay Lawrence (as Julia Adams)
Richard Denning: Dr. Mark Williams
Antonio Moreno: Dr. Carl Maia
Nestor Paiva: Captain Lucas
Whit Bissell: Dr. Edwin Thompson
Bernie Gozier: Zee
Henry A. Escalante: Chico (as Henry Escalante)
Ricou Browning: The Gill Man (In Water) (uncredited)
Ben Chapman: The Gill Man (On Land) (uncredited)
Art Gilmore : Narrator (uncredited) (voice)
Perry Lopez: Tomas (uncredited)
Sydney Mason: Dr. Matos (uncredited)
Rodd Redwing: Luis (uncredited)

Ricou Browning, a professional diver and swimmer, was required to hold his breath for up to 4 minutes at a time for his underwater role as the “Gill-man”. The director’s logic was that the air would have to travel through the monster’s gills and, thus, air bubbles from his mouth or nose must not be seen. Thus, the costume was designed without an air tank. In the subsequent films, this detail was ignored and air can be seen emanating from the top of the creature’s head.

The Creature’s appearance was based on old seventeenth-century woodcuts of two bizarre creatures called the Sea Monk and the Sea Bishop. The Creature’s final head was based on that of the Sea Monk, but the original discarded head was based on that of the Sea Bishop.

Julie Adams noted that making the film was an extremely pleasant process, and that the cast and crew got along quite well. She also explained that she felt sympathetic toward the monster. Adams said, “There always is that feeling of compassion for the monster. I think maybe it touches something in ourselves, maybe the darker parts of ourselves, that long to be loved and think they really can’t ever be loved. It strikes a chord within us.”

Ricou Browning and Ben Chapman never met during the making of the film. Browning’s underwater scenes were filmed in Florida, and Chapman’s scenes were filmed in California. They didn’t meet until they both attended a convention in Florida 20 years later.

Viewers will note that when the two men put on their scuba tanks, David always wears two tanks on his back while Mark always wears one. This is a visual device used by the filmmakers to help the audience distinguish between the two characters when they are swimming underwater.

The first film that Stephen King can remember watching.

The scene where Kay is treading water near the surface of the lagoon and unknowingly entices the creature is “echoed” in the scene from Jaws (1975) where “Chrissie” becomes the first victim of the shark. Both sequences feature multiple camera angles and edits that are strikingly similar.

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