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It Came From Beneath the Sea (Sous-titres français)
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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.
Two years after unleashing The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms upon New York City, master special-effects creator Ray Harryhausen turned loose a giant (albeit six-armed) octopus on San Francisco, and the result is another enjoyable atom-age adventure that should please fans of vintage science fiction. Kenneth Tobey, who battled The Thing (From Another World) in 1951, stars as a Navy captain who pursues a monstrous octopoid (sextapoid?) after it attacks his atomic sub. After it wreaks havoc with shipping lanes, he tracks the creature to San Francisco for a final showdown. Scripting by George Worthing Yates (Them!) and Hal Smith and direction by Robert Gordon are perfunctory at best, which gives the always-reliable Tobey and co-star Faith Domergue little to do, but this is Harryhausen's show, and his monster, though budgetarily restrained, is still impressive. Younger audiences weaned on digital FX may find this creaky, but nostalgic viewers will enjoy its simple thrills. --Paul GaitaSee all Product description
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Enter Our Hero ï¿½ Kenneth Tobey ï¿½ commander of a nuclear sub that has been molested by the monster. With the help of marine biologists Donald Curtis and Faith Domergue, he is able to identify the beast and go after it, leading to many scenes of Faith in a bathing suit that absolutely boggled my mind when I first saw this as a kid ï¿½ and still has that effect today. If I could have been assured that I would meet someone like her in the field, I would have devoted my life to marine biology.
Our intrepid team finally tracks the monster to San Francisco, where it tries to come ashore at Fishermanï¿½s Wharf. Driven back by flame throwers, it takes its anger out on the Golden Gate Bridge, a scene that must have thrilled the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce. (They later complained.) Finally, Tobey and Curtis dispatch the monster with the help of Tobeyï¿½s nuclear sub, as if we thought weï¿½d never see the sub again.
Sure, we know the octopus has only six arms ï¿½ this fact is solidly enmeshed in film lore. And, Who Cares? The movie moves along nicely and has several chilling moments. The acting is first-rate and Harryhausen makes the octopus so effective that we hardly notice its lack of the proper amount of arms. Sam Katzman was the producer, and Sam was notoriously cut-rate; the sort of producer a studio loves as he never goes over whatever miniscule budget he is given. In earlier years Sam produced the East Side Kids movies and the Lugosi horror series for Monogram. Just be pleasantly surprised that Kaufman had enough money in the budget to afford a Harryhausen. In his later movie, ï¿½The Giant Claw,ï¿½ he didnï¿½t have the funds and so had to go to Mexico for cheaper special effects. Anyone who saw that movie still has aching ribs from laughing at the title monster.
Another nice touch for viewers is that the transfer is clear and sharp. No tenth-rate print, as is so often the case with the horror-sci-fi genre. Great viewing at a great price. What more need be said, besides the fact Faith Domergue is in it?
"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.
And he did! Harryhausen's capabilities got better with each film, and in this 1950s rampaging radioactive monster flick, he managed some stunning effects sequences with his stop-motion octopus. Actually, the octopus only has six arms (a 'sextopus' I guess), a budget-saving move Harryhausen incorporated so there would be less action to animate. It's almost impossible to notice this slight-of-hand because the monster is usual half-submerged, and the constantly moving tentacles are partially hidden behind its body. It works fantastically; the tentacles seem independent creatures as they break through concrete, rip apart towers, and slither after and crush fleeing tourists on the Embarcadero. The shots of the semi-octopus towering over the wharf are still stunning even today; Harryhausen's optical work is fantastic. The attack on the Golden Gate Bridge is justly famous, and was done without the city fathers' permission! (The crew had to sneak shots out of truck driving back and forth over the bridge to get the required background plates for the special effects.) Harryhausen developed a special screw device that unfurled the tentacles and pushed them up through the simulated concrete on the model of the bridge. The final result still has magic.
But perhaps the best effects sequence in the film is the thrilling battle between the army soldiers armed with flame-throwers trying to push the octopus's flailing tentacles off the streets and back into the water. The reality of the scene is amazing: you really will suspend disbelief and enjoy watching the army battle street to street with the groping tentacles.
All this great effects work aside, "It Came from beneath the Sea" is a lesser film in the Harryhausen/Schneer body of work. Away from Harryhausen's magic, the film is remarkably flat, wooden, and shows too obviously its tight budget. The stars, Kenneth Tobey and Faith Domergue, are nearly stick-figures with little in the way of character or energy, and the romance between them is so boring you'll be praying for the octopus to show up and smash something. Director-for-hire Robert Gordon does little with the human scenes aside from letting them play out in front of a static camera, and most of the dialogue scenes are loaded with stodgy clichés no different than any other science fiction film of the period. The dull documentary narrator explaining the many shots of stock footage doesn't help much either. With their next two films, "Earth vs. the Flying Saucers" and "20 Million Miles to Earth," Harryhausen and Schneer would find more interesting actors and more creative directors to give the story some help.
"It Came from beneath the Sea" is a must-have for Harryhausen fans of course, and anyone with a love for the handmade visual effects of the good old days (before computers) will enjoy immensely the creative work that Harryhausen pulled off here. It might be a bit rough for non-Harryhausen veterans to make it through the human scenes, however. I would advise them to start with "The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms" or "20 Million Miles to Earth" before beholding the destruction of San Francisco by a six armed Octopus.
The DVD comes with the full documentary "The Harryhausen Chronicles," which can be found on most of Columbia's Ray Harryhausen collection discs. The DVD also preserves the film in its original widescreen format (most people probably had no idea it was show in widescreen!).
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The lower budget and B-Level acting are pretty evident through out this whole picture.Read more