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Author Topic: It Came from Beneath the Sea (1955)  (Read 2264 times)
Stabby Joe
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« on: February 13, 2008, 02:31:32 PM »

Heres a whack at it, and being a whack I doubt you'll think its any good, first off I could go for some more quotes. Now this state of mdesty has prepared me for citisism!

It came from Beneath the Sea
Rated: PG
4 slimes
Copyright: Columbia Pictures 1955
Submitted by Stabby Joe


THE CHARACTERS

Cmdr. Pete Mathews - Our leading hero with blonde hair and military experience who's keen on getting laid, pretty much like in every other monster movie of its kind.
Prof. Lesley Joyce - A young women scientist with a temper but easily swayed by sexist pigs.
Prof. John Carter - The generic scientist who spends his time torturing marine life and developing weapons of mass destruction.
Admiral Burns - FIRE! That’s pretty much sums him up...
Lt. Griff - Mathews' right hand man, at the start and end at least.
The Narrator – You’ve heard him before every time you’ve watched old fashion movie tailors.
Giant Octopus - The star you really came to see, this 8 minus 2-armed menace was blown out of the water and now has issues with polluting and whaling ships... and doesn't like the new Bridge in San Francisco.

THE PLOT

Whether this was a message on the horrors of nuclear warfare ala Godzilla or more likely an excuse for good old Ray to show off his suburb skills, the basis of large sea monsters are always popular but this... hehe... this is larger than life large sea monster. As far as monster movies go, this film is a classic example and embobies plenty of the conventions and cliches.

Attention is quickly put on a large US submarine, supposedly the best there is from being powered by atoms, like the Nautilus and so is imaginatively named the Atom Powered Submarine. In charge of the “greatest weapon of the seas” is a tiny crew made up of gamblers, minority workers and men asleep at their station. The main man of the film Commander Pete Mathews wakes up Lt. Griff at a periscope and takes over, only to slouch in turn. After a long discussion about a man and his love for a long metal tube and being satisfied with the men on board, as you do in the Navy, the hot “salty” jazz is interrupted via sonar readings.

All that is picked up on screen is a smudge, the closer it gets the bigger the smudge and all that cost was $55 million. After some evasiveness the smudge gets right up and close, at that point the sonar is checked for wiring because faulty wires can make large objects come at you! It collides with the sub causing each room of men to fall in turn. After realising they’re held in place with strong radiation outside by the smudge they break free through the effort of 2 men at the helm. When surfaced, Mathews sends unprotected divers to see what the radioactive blockage was in the engine. By this point all we get is that it was "rubber", most likely a fish and shapen like a barrel, so a "barrel fish of rubber". All Mathews can hope is that it was the end of it, quickly followed by our beloved narrator trumping him with “but it was only the beginning”!

Our narrator goes on to by asking the viewers questions like what was the substance, despite first time watchers knowing as much as he supposedly does.

In a lead tank, being looked upon by Mathews and the suddenly introduced leading lady Professor Lesley Joyce and scientist John Carter in thick radiation suits, we’re still not allowed to see the barrel fish but is clearly shown to be radioactive. After a heated debate over where tissue comes from, we’re still not told what “It” is (emphasis theirs). Despite Mathews’ cliché sexist disarray over having to work with Joyce, upon removing their suits, keep in mind only yards away from the radioactive substance Mathews is quick to flirt with Joyce and despite narrow minded remarks and grabbing her by the arm (technically assault) she appears to be smitten. This leads into their testing labs where Mathews heavily smokes and both continue a sugary exchange, to the point it looks like they nearly have sex on the testing station… and these people have known each other how long? 10 minutes? Right there is the start of the romantic subplot, and it doesn’t get any less cheesy.

Casually 13 days later, Admiral Burns and the Navy Secretary are called in from their important busy positions to be shown an octopus, what the barrel fish tissue is from. Yep, the Admiral and Secretary Navy require assisted octopus identification, its just that hard to describe an octopus. It is also noted that Hydrogen Bombs have been detonated in the ocean and whats convenient is the Secretary points out that nuclear explosives are blamed for almost every freak accident (like The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms? Godzilla?). An experimental Octopus was fed radioactive substances, which apparently make it incapable of catching its normal diet of small yet fast fish, meaning it would change it’s feeding patterns. So to put it bluntly we’ve got an overgrown nuclear retarded octopus too lazy to catch fish, requiring a change of diet IE humans, which even more conveniently started with disappearances of Japanese fishing boats, but it wasn't Greenpeace! But of course the big heads dismiss it and so Mathews lights up another cig.

Half an hour into the film we get ourselves a stop motion tentacle, hooray! Our beast swiftly grabs hold of a large ship and drags it under while the crew run around, bumping into each other and jumping over the side in a disorganised evacuation fashion, to be fair even before its apparent the monster is going to grab hold. Must be nothing in the safety manual about monster attacks.

Despite such destruction and loss of life, Mathews and Joyce get to indulge in another romantic moment at a Hawaiian beach party dinner. I don’t care about what happens between those two and I neither will you, we just saw a giant octopus for crying out loud! News of the boat's demise reaches them both and the retrieval of a few survivors. They are interrogated, rather than questioned and shrugged off as mental due to the unhelpful report of one survivor comparing what he saw (the tentacles) with the doctor’s stethoscope. Joyce on the other hand, with provocative wear, sexual tone of vocie and MORE cigarettes, gets the words “giant octopus” out of him… now was that really so hard?

As a result, a massive bombing campaign of the North Pacific Ocean begins, with no results of course, except most likely alot of dead "innocent" marine life. Mathews and Joyce look into a report of a car crash on a beach covered in sucker marks. Carter is rushed in while the two go on a romantic walk on the beach and yes, even kiss in the waves with predictable soppy music on top, and this is where a giant octopus killed people? And it didn’t go far either, raising its large tentacles vertically out of just a few feet of coastal water, crushing an ignorant cowboy stereotype while the rest drive off, commencing yet another ocean bombing campaign to protect San Francisco. Carter theorises it has a weak spot; its brain and so taking advantage of this using a jet propelled torpedo with an electric shocker, which is a nice change to the previous conventional explosives, which so far has made the Japanese alot happier.

The narrator describing the act of waiting for the monster builds further tension... apparently.

When it finally does arrive, it starts off by tearing down the Golden Gate Bridge, by this point the audience realises that it only has six arms, thus it technically being a “Sextapus”, due to the budget of the film. Does 2 arms really cost so much? Later news reports warn the people of San Francisco that the monster is radioactive and should be avoided, as if its violent destructive nature and power wasn’t enough to convince them. It returns to the docks and appears in its most angry state; crushing cargo, swatting helicopters, flattening those on land and pulling down a clock tower. Pay back for all those bombing campaigns I bet! Mathews takes the fabled Atom sub and dives under while the army push back the tentacles with flamethrowers.

The electro torpedo is fired but can’t be detonated because the monster grabs hold of the submarine. Mathews strips down in front of Carter before going out to untangle the sub but ends up getting knocked out from the his own blast, which was unnecessary considering it didn’t make the monster let go. Carter strips in front of Griff and swims out to save Mathews while blasting the monster in its eye thus freeing the sub. Now they are at a safe distance, the torpedo is detonated and so ends the life on yet another movie monster.

The lead three drink to their un-honoured victory, with Mathew getting kissed by Joyce despite Carter actually being the hero. Such is life and predictable romantic subplots.

I could of done without the romance seeing as it really filtered out lot of the screen time that could have been used for monster play, but at least what we get in terms of Ray Harryhausen’s great animating skills is enough to warrant a viewing by those who love good old 50s monster movies. After seeing this when I was young, every film I saw after that had an ocean view, I wanted something to rise out of it! Classic old school. And now I want a cigarette…

LESSONS LEARNED

Smoking is cool and perfect for every situation.
If its grey and smudge like, it must be a monster!
Each Octopus tentacle seeks out prey like seperate snakes.
If it’s on the underwater sonar, it’s not underwater.
Fire makes an Octopus roar.
Electric means explosive.
H-Bombs can only blow out one monster at a time.
Fishing can be a euphemism for both sex and monster hunting.

STUFF TO WATCH FOR
13 mins – Wait! Body tissue comes from creatures?
16 mins – “Ah, that smooth taste of a cigarette, perfect when in the lab!”
26 mins – A ship based riot always can help!
33 mins – “I was attacked by a giant stethoscope!”
35 mins – “Calm down! Have cigarette.”
45 mins – Soft-core pornography
55 mins – “The monster is coming, I need another cigarette!”
59 mins – RANDOM ACT OF VIOLENCE AGAINST A BRIDGE!
75 mins – “Ah… smooooooth!”

NOTABLE QUOTES

Narrator: “And for the first time in their lives, 3 people met.”

Mathews: “Doctor, what kind of sea beast would be that large? What do you call it so I can stop calling it “it”?
Carter: [PAUSE] “I have no idea”
Joyce: [PAUSE] “Nor have I.”

Joyce: “I feel like I’m being drafted”
Mathews: “You are.”

Carter: “I’ve been a sober professor for many years.”

Driver: “Say, you mean to tell me that they sent you down here in one of those jets so you can go fishing?”
Carter: “That’s about it.”
« Last Edit: February 18, 2008, 10:01:42 AM by Stabby Joe » Logged

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tracy
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« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2012, 12:36:02 PM »

I was watching this one this morning and it was fairly good. The special effects weren't too bad and the acting so-so. I'd give it 3 outta 5. ,if only for being a neat old 50s film.
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JaseSF
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« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2014, 09:37:07 PM »

I consider this one to be a fun little B-movie classic too. I've reviewed it elsewhere in the past (sadly my review is no longer available online but I do have it saved on my computer. Someday I hope to repost my old Scifilm reviews somewhere even if some of them were awful). In some ways, I'd argue it was actually ahead of the curve by having Domergue's character be so expressive, outspoken, and not just a woman to stand there and scream even if she does do that well at times too. Kenneth Tobey was the perennial square-jawed soldier hero of the 1950s - he kind of reminds me of Steve Trevor (aka: Captain America) in some ways...
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