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It Came from Beneath the Sea

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

It Came from Beneath the Sea
It Came From Beneath The Sea poster.jpg
Directed byRobert Gordon
Written byHal Smith
George Worthing Yates
Produced byCharles H. Schneer
StarringKenneth Tobey
Faith Domergue
Donald Curtis
Narrated byWilliam Woodson
CinematographyHenry Freulich
Edited byJerome Thoms
Color processBlack and white
Production
company
Clover Productions
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release date
July 1955 (U.S. release)
Running time
79 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$150,000[1]
Box office$1.7 million (US)[2]

It Came from Beneath the Sea is a 1955 American science fiction monster film from Columbia Pictures, produced by Sam Katzman and Charles Schneer, directed by Robert Gordon, that stars Kenneth Tobey, Faith Domergue, and Donald Curtis.

The script by George Worthing Yates was designed to showcase the stop motion animation special effects of Ray Harryhausen. In the film, a monstrous giant octopus rampages in the North American Pacific Coast when it is awakened by nuclear testing.

It Came from Beneath the Sea was released as the top half of a double feature with Creature with the Atom Brain.[3]

Plot

A nuclear submarine on maneuvers in the Pacific Ocean, captained by Commander Pete Mathews (Kenneth Tobey), comes into contact with a massive sonar return. The commander attempts to outrun and outmaneuver the sonar object, but cannot. The boat is disabled but manages to free itself and return to Pearl Harbor. Tissue from a huge sea creature is discovered jammed in the submarine's dive planes.

The cephalopod attacking the Golden Gate Bridge
The cephalopod attacking the Golden Gate Bridge

A team of marine biologists, Professor Lesley Joyce (Faith Domergue) and John Carter (Donald Curtis) of Harvard University, is called in; they identify the tissue as being a small part of a gigantic octopus. The military authorities scoff, but are finally persuaded after receiving reports of missing swimmers and ships at sea being pulled under by a large sea creature. Both scientists conclude that the animal is from the Mindanao Deep, having been forced from its natural habitat by hydrogen bomb testing in the area, which has made the giant octopus radioactive, driving off its natural food supply.[4]

The scientists suggest the disappearances of a Japanese fishing fleet and a Siberian seal boat may be the work of the foraging giant. Both Mathews and the Navy representatives express doubt and demand further proof. Later, as Mathews assists Joyce and Carter, a report comes in of an attack on a Canadian freighter; several men escaped in a raft. The survivors are questioned by psychiatrists, and when the first sailor's description of a creature with giant tentacles is met with skepticism, the other sailors refuse to testify. Joyce is able to convince the first sailor to repeat his story for government officials, who then have the evidence they need. The U.S. government halts all sea traffic in the North Pacific without revealing the reason. Carter flies out to sea to trace a missing ship, while Mathews and Joyce follow up on a report of five missing people off the coast of Oregon.

The local sheriff, Bill Nash (Harry Lauter), takes Mathews and Joyce to the site of the attack, where they find a giant suction cup imprint in the beach sand. (At this point, the two have become physically intimate.) They then request that Carter join them. Nash is later attacked along the beach by the giant octopus, right in front of the two scientists. They escape, and together they hastily arrange for all Pacific coast waters to be mined before departing for San Francisco and the Navy's headquarters.

An electrified safety net is strung underwater across the entrance to San Francisco Bay to protect the Golden Gate Bridge, which has also been electrified. Carter takes a helicopter along the shoreline and baits the sea with dead sharks in an effort to lure the creature inland. Joyce demonstrates to reporters a special jet-propelled atomic torpedo, which they hope to fire at the giant octopus, while driving it back to the open sea before detonating the weapon. Later that day, the creature demolishes the underwater net, irritated by the electrical voltage, and heads toward San Francisco.

The navy orders the Golden Gate Bridge abandoned, but when Carter learns that the electric circuit there has been left on, he races to the bridge to shut it off. The giant creature, however, catches sight of the bridge and attacks it, the electrical voltage irritating it even more. Mathews is able to rescue Carter just before a bridge section is brought down by a giant tentacle.

The residents of San Francisco panic and begin a mass exodus down the peninsula. The navy struggles to evacuate the Embarcadero and the Ferry Building, which is battered by the creature's giant tentacles. When more people are attacked and killed, the Defense Department authorizes Mathews to take out the submarine and fire the torpedo; Carter joins Mathews while Joyce remains at the base.

Flamethrowers push the giant tentacles back into the sea, but when Mathews fires the jet torpedo into the giant creature, it grabs the submarine. Using an aqualung, Mathews swims up to the massive body and places explosive charges before being knocked out by the shockwaves from the premature explosion. Carter then swims out and shoots at one of its eyes, forcing the giant octopus to release the submarine; he then pulls Mathews to safety. Back at the base, as the creature turns toward the open sea, the torpedo is detonated, completely destroying the giant cephalopod. The trio later celebrate the victory at a restaurant, where Mathews makes an impromptu proposal, and Joyce accepts.[5]

Cast

Production

Development

The film was made by producer Charles Schneer under the supervision of Sam Katzman who had a B picture unit at Columbia. Schneer said the idea for the film was inspired by the first explosion of the hydrogen bomb in the Marshall Islands, saying he felt if some creature came out of the deep "and then destroyed the Golden Gate Bridge, that would be a hell of a film."[6]

The title was inspired by Universal's science fiction hit It Came from Outer Space. Schneer had been impressed by the effects for The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms and hired Ray Harryhausen. "I don't think I would have made that type of picture if I hadn't been able to get Ray to do the FX," Schneer said later.[7]

Shooting

Much of the filming was done at the San Francisco Naval Shipyard, including scenes aboard a submarine, and several naval personnel were given supporting roles.[8]

To keep shooting costs low, director Robert Gordon shot inside an actual submarine, both above and under water, using handheld cameras. For a scene that takes place on a stretch of Pacific coastline, Gordon and his crew dumped several truckloads of sand onto a sound stage at Columbia, which they backed with a rear projection screen. During their scene together, Kenneth Tobey found himself sinking through the sand to the point of appearing shorter than Faith Domergue on camera, forcing him to dig himself out of the hole between every take. A more extensive love scene had been written for the characters but was literally torn out of the shooting script by Sam Katzman, to keep principal photography from going over schedule.[8]

The octopus stop-motion effects were designed and animated by Ray Harryhausen. The effects budget, however, was getting slightly out of hand, and for this reason, Sam Katzman allowed Harryhausen only enough money for animating six of the octopus' eight tentacles; two were eliminated on the final shooting miniature. Harryhausen jokingly named his giant octopus "the sixtopus" (this behind-the-scenes detail was revealed years later in a science fiction magazine). For the scenes where a single tentacle is seen moving up and around the bridge superstructure, Harryhausen used a single large model tentacle instead of employing the complete animation model. Some of the bridge scenes employ a shooting miniature of a bridge support, which was then composited in post-production over live footage of the real support; this is the bridge section that the "sixtopus" is seen clinging to in the final scene.[9]

Schneer was refused permission to shoot on the actual Golden Gate Bridge, so he put the camera on the back of a bakery truck and drove it back and forth over the bridge several times to get footage.[10]

Reception

It Came from Beneath the Sea was teamed on a theatrical release double bill with Columbia's Creature with the Atom Brain.[3]

Its success led to Harryhausen-Schneer collaborating again for Earth vs. the Flying Saucers the following year.[11][12]

Critical

Time Out called it a "minor entry in the '50s cycle of radiation-paranoia sci-fi pics";[13] and Moria noted, "Most of the film is told in a stolid, flat style that seems more like an Army training documentary than a dramatic film. The problem is that one has to plod through three-quarters of the film to get to the monster sequences...Certainly, when the climactic scenes of wholesale destruction do arrive they are great";[14] whereas Allmovie wrote that the film "utilized elements of the documentary, with a narration that makes the first half of the movie seem almost like a newsreel, which gives the action a greater immediacy. And...This is all presented in a cool, clipped realistic manner, with a strong but convincingly stated macho tone...It all served to make the first quarter hour of the film almost irresistibly suspenseful, and gave Harryhausen one of the best lead-ins that one could ask for, for his effects";[15] Leonard Maltin also praised the film's "Breathtaking special effects";[16] and the Radio Times, whilst acknowledging it as a "classic monster flick", also called the film "Predictable tosh, but good 1950s fun".[17]

Legacy

The four-issue comic book mini-series It Came from Beneath the Sea... Again (2007), released by TidalWave Productions as part of their Ray Harryhausen Signature Series, continued the story. A preview of the first issue was included on the 50th Anniversary DVD release of the film.[18]

A clip from the film was used in the second episode of the TV series Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, which also features a giant man-eating octopus.[citation needed]

The animated series TaleSpin has an episode that parodies both the name and plot of the film.[citation needed]

In The Mitchells vs. the Machines (2021), a poster for It Came from Beneath the Sea can be seen in Katie Mitchell's bedroom.[19]

See also

References

  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on May 22, 2009. Retrieved April 18, 2009.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ 'The Top Box-Office Hits of 1955', Variety Weekly, January 25, 1956
  3. ^ a b "The Top 21 Most Kick-Ass Giant Monsters in Movie History!". bloody-disgusting.com.
  4. ^ Hal Erickson (2009). "It-Came-From-Beneath-the-Sea - Trailer - Cast - Showtimes - NYTimes.com". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times. Baseline & All Movie Guide. Archived from the original on March 19, 2009. Retrieved May 10, 2013.
  5. ^ "It Came from Beneath the Sea (1955) - Overview". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved May 10, 2013.
  6. ^ Swires p 59
  7. ^ Swires p 59
  8. ^ a b Warren, Bill. Keep Watching the Skies Vol. I: 1950–1957, McFarland, 1982. ISBN 0-89950-032-3.
  9. ^ Dalton, Tony. Ray Harryhausen: An Animated Life. London: Aurum, 2003, p. 73.
  10. ^ Swires p 60
  11. ^ "It Came from Beneath the Sea (1955) - Articles - TCM.com". Turner Classic Movies.
  12. ^ Swires p 60
  13. ^ "It Came from Beneath the Sea".
  14. ^ "It Came from Beneath the Sea (1955). Giant Atomic Octopus/Ray Harryhausen Film. Stars: Kenneth Tobey, Faith Domergue. Director - Robert Gordon. Moria - The Science-Fiction, Horror and Fantasy Film Review". moria.co.nz.
  15. ^ "It Came from Beneath the Sea (1955) - Robert Gordon - Review - AllMovie". AllMovie.
  16. ^ "It Came from Beneath the Sea (1955) - Overview - TCM.com". Turner Classic Movies.
  17. ^ "It Came from beneath the Sea – review - cast and crew, movie star rating and where to watch film on TV and online". Radio Times.
  18. ^ "Ray Harryhausen's Collection". IGN. September 24, 2007. Retrieved September 24, 2017.
  19. ^ Grebey, James (May 4, 2021). "Every Pop-Culture Easter Egg in The Mitchells vs. the Machines". Vulture. Vox Media. Retrieved August 8, 2021.

Bibliography

External links

This page was last edited on 5 December 2021, at 20:35
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