Review: ‘The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms’

Producers have created a prehistoric monster that makes Kong seem like a chimpanzee. It's a gigantic amphibious beast that towers above some of New York's highest buildings. The sight of the beast stalking through Gotham's downtown streets is awesome. Special credit should go to Ray Harryhausen for the socko technical effects.

Producers have created a prehistoric monster that makes Kong seem like a chimpanzee. It’s a gigantic amphibious beast that towers above some of New York’s highest buildings. The sight of the beast stalking through Gotham’s downtown streets is awesome. Special credit should go to Ray Harryhausen for the socko technical effects.

An experimental atomic blast in the Arctic region results in the ‘unfreezing’ of the strange prehistoric reptile of the dinosaur family. Scientist Tom Nesbitt’s (Paul Christian) report of the beast is attributed to hallucination resulting from Arctic exposure.

After several unsuccessful atttempts, Nesbitt enlists the aid of Prof Thurgood Elson (Cecil Kellaway) and his pretty assistant Lee Hunter (Paula Raymond). Elson is killed by the monster while exploring an undersea canyon in a diving bell 150 miles from New York. The beast finally turns up in Manhattan.

Christian is firstrate as the determined scientist and Kellaway scores as the doubting professor. Raymond appears too stiff and unconvincing as the professor’s assistant and Christian’s romantic vis-a-vis. Screenplay [suggested by the Saturday Evening Post story The Fog Horn by Ray Bradbury] has a documentary flavor, which Jack Russell’s camera captures expertly.

The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms

Production

Warner. Director Eugene Lourie; Producer Hal Chester, Jack Dietz; Screenplay Lou Morheim, Fred Freiberger; Camera Jack Russell; Editor Bernard W. Burton; Music David Buttolph; Art Director [uncredited]

Crew

(B&W) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1953. Running time: 80 MIN.

With

Paul Christian Paula Raymond Cecil Kellaway Kenneth Tobey Donald Woods Lee Van Cleef
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