It Came From Beneath the Sea (1955)

Actors: Kenneth Tobey, Faith Domergue, Donald Curtis, Ian Keith, Dean Maddox Jr.
Robert Gordon
Format: AC-3, Black & White, Closed-captioned, Dolby, Dubbed, DVD-Video, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
Language: English
Subtitles: English, French, Portuguese, Spanish
Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Number of discs: 2
Sony Pictures
DVD Release Date: January 15, 2008
Run Time: 79 minutes



Description: It Came From Beneath the Sea was the first collaboration between special effects wizard Ray Harryhausen and producer Charles H. Schneer. Directed by Robert Gordon (Tarzan and The Jungle Boy), the newly colorized film, depicting a giant octopus attacking San Francisco, stars Kenneth Tobey (The Thing From Another World), Faith Domergue (This Island Earth), Donald Curtis (Earth vs. The Flying Saucers) and Ian Keith (The Ten Commandments).  -

Although it is ostensibly about a giant stop-motion octopus attacking San Francisco bridge, most of It Came From Beneath the Sea's running time is concerned with an oily submarine captain (played by The Thing from Another World's Kenneth Tobey) hitting on an attractive female co-worker. Their "romance" plays out more like a sexual harassment case than anything else. Then again, this is the navy (can you say Tailhook '91?) and this is the 1950's, so this sort of thing was probably expected - nay demanded - of anyone wearing a naval uniform at the time.

Seriously though, the "love triangle" at the heart of It Came From Beneath the Sea not only comes across as icky to modern sensibilities, but is plain dull. It drags the movie down much like the giant octopus at point drags a giant ship down to the bottom of the sea. The film is incidentally the first collaboration between stop-motion sfx legend Ray Harryhausen and his regular producer from there on, Charles H. Schneer.

Harryhausen's effects are okay for the era, but obviously badly dated now. The octopus monster also lacks spark, something which is strange for a Harryhausen character. The only interesting thing about it is the fact that it only has six tentacles and not eight. In one of the featurettes Harryhausen admits that animating eight tentacles would have been too difficult. To be honest, one doesn't notice it whilst watching the film.

The colorization here is probably the best of all the recent Harryhausen flicks to be colorized by Sony for their new re-releases. (The other two titles are Earth vs. the Flying Saucers and 20 Million Miles to Earth.)

THE DISCS: Some of the special features found on this disc can also be found on the other two recent Harryhausen re-releases mentioned above. Thankfully they are kept to a minimum so you won't feel that cheated if you have purchased the other two. Interesting here is a talk by David Schecter on the music used in the film. Cheap B-movies such as this didn't warrant their own orchestral scores being composed, so they just reused bits and pieces from various other films ? stock music in effect. In fact musical supervisor Mischa Bakaleinikoff was so enamored of a four-note piece he wrote that he re-used it over and over again in several flicks including this one and Earth vs. the Flying Saucers and 20 Million Miles to Earth.

WORTH IT? Harryhausen fans would want to check this one out. The colorization is really nice and the special features quite decent. Pity about the movie itself which is a plodding bore.



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