As a result of an arctic nuclear test, a carnivorous dinosaur thaws out and starts making its way down the east coast of North America. Professor Tom Nesbitt, only witness to the beast's existence, is not believed, even when he identifies it as a "rhedosaurus" to paleontologist Thurgood Elson. All doubts disappear, however, when Elson is swallowed whole during an oceanic bathysphere excursion to search for the creature. Soon thereafter the rhedosaurus emerges from the sea and lays waste to Manhattan Island until Nesbitt comes up with a plan to try to stop the seemingly indestructible beast. Written by
Doug Sederberg <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This film (which was inspired by the successful 1952 re-release of King Kong (1933)) was the first film to feature a giant creature awakened or mutated by a Nuclear Bomb. See more »
(at around 15 mins) In the scene in which the scared pedestrians are fleeing down the subway steps with the Beast close behind them, one man, in a dark overcoat and lighter hat with dark band, telegraphs the collapse of the subway wall and raining debris by raising his arm head high to protect himself *before* the wall collapses. See more »
This is Operation Experiment, a secret base far north of the Arctic Circle. Experiment was the codename for a top priority scientific expedition. These men arrived here on X-day minus 60. It has taken them the full two months to get ready. Today is X-day.
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"The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms" is one of many "nuclear explosion thaws out the pre-historic monster" movies popular in the 1950's. What sets this film apart from other similarly themed films, are the superior special effects created by the legendary Ray Harryhausen.
His dinosaur is as good as you will see in any sci-fi movie. It moves without that jerky motion common in so many stop-motion monsters (i.e. King Kong). The "monster destroys the city" sequence is outstanding. There is also an excellent fight between an octopus and a shark that is very exciting. The best sequence takes place at the end of the film when the monster is cornered in an amusement park.
As in all such movies, the human actors are incidental to the plot. The German/Swiss actor Paul Christian (aka Hubschmid) plays the requisite scientist, Paula Raymond and Cecil Kellaway are the "dinosaur experts" and Kenneth Tobey and Donald Woods play the sceptical military types. There are also a number of recognizable "B" movie faces from the period such as Lee Van Cleef, Steve Brodie, Jack Pennick and James Best.
One of the best atomic monster movies from the 50s.
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