A scientific expedition searching for fossils along the Amazon River discovers a prehistoric Gill-Man in the legendary Black Lagoon. The explorers capture the mysterious creature, but it breaks free. The Gill-Man returns to kidnap the lovely Kay, fiancée of one in the expedition, with whom it has fallen in love. Written by
Marty McKee <firstname.lastname@example.org>
When Mark Williams shoots the Gill-Man in the water with the harpoon, the creature is clearly facing Mark when shot, and the spear is lodged between the creature's ribcage and the abdomen. The Gill-Man is holding the spear in place in the establishing shot. In the next shot, as the Gill-Man swims away, the spear and the wound have moved to the creature's back, as if Mark had shot him from behind. From that angle, the Gill-Man can't hold the spear in the same manner. See more »
Unlike other sci-fi flicks from the 1950s, "Creature From The Black Lagoon" is not a film to laugh at. It's better made. Just by the title we know there's a monster lurking about. Yet, for the film's first 24 minutes we don't actually see it, only one of its claws. And that holding back of the monster's appearance fosters suspense and mystery. In addition, the film's B&W cinematography is good, for its time, with lots of credible underwater shots. And while the dialogue does contain lots of exposition, the film at least tries to educate viewers.
There's nothing complex about the story. A scientific crew heads for the Amazon to do an archaeological dig, after a large fossil is found. The crew ends up at the Black Lagoon, a place of serenity, with its still waters, surrounded by palm trees and the sounds of monkeys and exotic birds. Through much of the film the peaceful setting together with soothing background music actually makes for a rather relaxing movie. Even when we see the monster, it seems lonely and hardly threatening as it glides gracefully through its watery home.
I suspect that the film's popularity when it was first released relates to the creature's distinctive appearance, with those moving gills and those bulging dark eyes. And of course, back in those days, the film was made for 3-D viewing, a novelty then that made the monster seem more real. Today, the film has an ever-so-slight environmental theme, given that at least one of the scientists prefers that the monster not be harmed, and given that humans obviously are encroaching into its habitat.
Because so much of the plot takes place underwater and therefore lacks dialogue, and given a runtime of only about 78 minutes, there really isn't that much to this movie. But what there is of it is interesting for its historical significance as a precursor to later sci-fi films, and for a monster that's not only photogenic but also alone and arguably lonely in a world that has passed it by, after eons of time.
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