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It Came From Beneath the Sea [Import USA Zone 1]
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The action is wet and wild in this sci-fi thriller that pits man - and woman - against a giant octopus. Submarine commander Pete Mathews (Kenneth Tobey) and scientists Lesley Joyce (Faith Domergue) and John Carter (Donald Curtis) battle an angry sea monster driven from the depths of the ocean by anH-bomb explosion. In search of non-contaminated food, this tentacled tyrant counts among its victims a fishing trawler and its passengers, a family sunning at the beach, several San Francisco skyscrapers and even the Golden Gate Bridge! A daring attempt by the scientists to destroy the monster while saving themselves is a gripping finale to this aquatic adventure. The riveting special effects were created by Ray Harryhausen. --Ce texte fait référence à l'édition DVD.
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"Since the coming of the atomic age, man's knowledge has so increased that an upheaval of nature would not be beyond his belief."
It is 1955 and the atom sub looks just like a ww2 diesel (at least it does not look like a cardboard mockup.) The latest sub is being chased by thing or things unknown; let's just say that "It Came from Beneath the Sea".
Standard sci-fi for the time we have the obligatory romance between the captain, Cmdr. Pete Mathews (Kenneth Tobey) from "The Thing From Another World" (1951), and Prof. Lesleyl Joyce (Faith Domergue) from "This Island Earth" (1955). What a ménage à trios and Prof. John Carter (Donald Curtis) from several "Science Fiction Theater" (1955-1957) TV episodes.
I just love sci-fi from this time because they inevitably depend of flame throwers to do the trick as in "The deadly Mantis" and "Them!"
Naturally no one believes them until they get eaten. Others think they have the situation in hand. Will we be able to handle "IT"? And will there be a next time?
Six tentacle monster by Ray Harryhausen; "Clash of the Titans" (1981).
Screen play by Hal Smith, and George Worthing Yates.
Faith Domergue, by God.
It Came From Outer Space
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Dad was presented with an electric dishwasher as a gift for his part in the film since the Navy would not let him accept money and my mother felt we really needed a dishwasher. My brother and I were in elementary school when the movie finally made it to the local theater in Kailua, Oahu two years later and we got to see out dad's name up on the big screen. None of the other children sitting in the audience for that Saturday matinee believed us. The movie is still a hit at Griffiths family reunions. Dad is now 82, and retired from the Navy with the rank of Vice Admiral.
The action starts ona seemingly routine submarine mission headed by Commander Pete Mathews (Kenneth Tobey), in the Pacific which encounters a strange blip on the sonar which ends up colliding with the submarine. Unsure of what it was the mission heads home for repairs and then a strange rubbery substance is found attached to the submarine's rudder. Taking the mysterious substance to the Naval Research lab Pete encounters marine biologists Lesley Joyce (Faith Domergue) and Prof. John Carter (Donald Curtis), who after exhaustive research discover that the material is part of a potentially huge Octopus. Prof Joyce works out a theory that this beast is an inhabitant of the deepest parts of the Pacific Ocean where Octopus and other sea creatures can grow to fantastic size, and that it has become radioactive from the H-bomb testing in the area. Rising to the surface in search of non contaminated food the warning signs are there that trouble along the coastal areas could be only a short time away. Meanwhile reports begin to come in of coastal damage and missing persons and when a cargo vessel is destroyed at sea with only a handful of crew rescued the alarm goes out. Interviewed by both Pete and Lesley the men tell of a terrifying creature with huge tentacled arms which came out of the ocean to attack their ship. Confirming that the creature does exist a coastal alert is put into place and the San Francisco Bay area appears to be the next point of contact with the creature as it searches for food. The navy create a warhead that can be fired from a submarine that will puncture the huge creature and explode inwardly and Pete prepares his crew for action. Despite the best efforts of the military the octopus manages to infiltrate San Francisco harbour and begins to climb the Golden Gate Bridge causing a great deal of damage to the structure. Prof. Carter manages a narrow escape on the bridge thanks to Pete's intervention and when all the power on the Bridge is turned off the giant octopus submerges itself in the bay and later surfaces at the dock region. Causing mass panic and destruction the military, with the use of flame throwers, eventually drive the creature out into the bay. Pete's men then prepare to fire the missile into the creature which requires some tricky aqua diving and its only after Pete is badly injured and John goes out to finish the job that the explosion manages to kill the creature. Believing that both Pete and John are lost after the blast there is a general relief when both men safely surface out in the bay.
Classic 1950's science fiction is how I would describe "It Came From Beneath the Sea". We certainly do see too little of the creature of the title and indeed the giant octopus does lack a bit of the character of some of Harryhausen's other creations however the action scenes here are top rate, in particular the creatures assault on San Francisco. Kenneth Tobey playing Commander Pete Mathews has the sort of masculine, square jawed presense that is ideally suited to this type of action story and he had already well handled the suspense in another earlier science fiction classic in the unforgettable "The Thing From Another World",in 1951. Faith Domergue plays an interesting character here as the educated professor who develops the theory of where the creature has come from. Part independant woman and part scream queen of the fifties her character does come across for the most part as a refreshing change from many of the typical sci fi roles handed to women in this decade. Particulary memorable is her scene where she extracts information from the rescued sailor by removing her wrap and asking him for a cigarette while leaving the intercom open for the navy brass to listen in. It never fails to make me laugh and is an interesting snap shot of "another time", so foreign to how it would be played nowadays. First and foremost however the chief attraction in this movie is of course the often superb stop motion effects of Ray Harryhausen. "It Came From Beneath the Sea", marked the first of his legendary collaborations with producer Charles H. Schneer that took the pair through many films together right up to the impressive "Clash of the Titians" in 1981. The sight of the creature demolishing a section of the Golden Gate Bridge or attacking a cargo ship at sea are still breathtaking in their visual impact and the vivid sound effects employed in particular when the creature is being driven back through the streets of San Francisco by flame throwers is outstanding. Typically for this type of film there is the standard romance between the characters played by Kenneth Tobey and Faith Domergue however luckily here it really doesn't get in the way of the action. The slowness in parts of "It Came From Beneath the Sea", is due more in fact to director Robert Gordon's frequent dallying with naval and submarine activities than with anything else but even then is not too distracting.
Solid "Saturday Afternoon Matinee" material is how many see this creature feature and while certainly it has that nostalgic appeal I really appreciate it for the at times superb stop motion special effects created on a limited budget by Ray Harryhausen. A similiar effort to this filmed nowadays would cost countless millions but here we have the real genius of our film pioneers in special effects on display. "It Came From Beneath the Sea", has it all for sci fi lovers like myself, namely an angry creature disturbed from its habitat that goes on a rampage which always makes for a good story. Certainly there have been better "monster on the loose", efforts from the 1950's but this film is well worth the time in particular for a journey back to a simpler time in filmmaking without the huge budgets one expects nowadays. Enjoy!
The first to encounter the creature is a U.S. Navy nuclear sub, commanded by Pete Matthews (Tobey). The sub doesn't know exactly what they've encountered but a piece of the creature was caught in the Sub's propellers. The hunk of octopus is taken to be analyzed by two marine biologists, Prof. Lesley Joyce (Domergue) and Prof. John Carter (Curtis). They determine that the piece belongs to an octopus but one that has grown to enormous proportions.
The creature soon makes attacks on other vessels, sinking an entire merchant ship, and leaving only a handful of shocked survivors. While the Navy at first dismisses the professor's findings, they soon cannot deny the truth and decide to take action. The film's climax comes with the memorable octopus attack destroying the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.
Like all of these films, it's the masterful stop-motion effects that are the real star. While the film itself took only a few weeks to shoot, Harryhausen worked on the effects for months afterwards, painstakingly filming the creature's movement's one frame at a time. Yes, perhaps it looks dated next to today's slick CGI effects but there's a certain admiration you have to have for Harryhausen's work. He knew these were low-budget B features but that never stopped him from delivering 100% effort.
It Came from Beneath the Sea is slower than the other films I mentioned. It takes a good 25 minutes or so before we even get a good look at the creature for the first time and the film only runs about 79 minutes. There is a melodramatic love triangle going on between the three leads. Matthews is the tough captain while Carter is the somewhat sheepish scientist. When Professor Joyce tells carter that Matthews kissed her, all he can manage is, "Did you enjoy it?"
That said, I enjoyed the cast. Tobey was a great character actor who made over 300 film and TV appearances in his fifty year career. He was a regular in the 1950's TV show "Whirlybirds" and also appeared in such shows as I Spy, Lassie, Bonanza, Gunsmoke, Ironside, and Emergency, usually playing some sort of authority figure. His final role was in an episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine in 1994. He was a strong, macho leading man. Domergue's Prof. Joyce was every bit as tough as Matthews. Domergue was no stranger to Sci-Fi roles, seemingly always playing the role of a scientist. She also starred in This Island Earth and Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet.
Extras: The film comes in either the original black & white or new colorized format. This new Chroma-Color process is vastly improved over the old colorizing process of 10 or 20 years ago and while purists might object, Harryhausen himself approves of the look.
The film comes with Audio Commentary with Ray Harryhausen, Arnold Kunert, Randy Cook and John Bruno
Remembering It Came From Beneath the Sea, is Harryhausen's own recollections about making the film and runs 22:00
A Present Day Look at Stop-Motion takes a look at film students learning the art of stop motion. 11:36
Tim Burton Sits Down with Ray Harryhausen. Director Tim Burton interviews Harryhausen as ray discusses how the saucers were made and other interesting tidbits about the film. Great segment but it's almost ruined by Burton who babbles almost incoherently and uses the words "you know" and "amazing" about a hundred times during the 27:09 minute interview.
Original Ad Artwork Producer Arnold Kunert looks at the film's ad materials including rare posters and lobby cards from Earth Vs. the Flying Saucers and other films. 17:30
David Schecter on Film Music's Unsung Hero Is a retrospective on the career of composer Misha Bakaleinikoff 22:32
Sneak Peek of Digital Comic Book Flying Saucers vs. the Earth
Video Photo Galleries.