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It Came from Beneath the Sea (1955)

Approved | | Horror, Sci-Fi | July 1955 (USA)
A giant, radioactive octopus rises from the Philippine Trench to terrorize the North American Pacific Coast.

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(screenplay), (screenplay) (as Hal Smith) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Prof. Lesley Joyce
...
Dr. John Carter
...
Dean Maddox Jr. ...
Chuck Griffiths ...
...
Deputy Bill Nash
Richard W. Peterson ...
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Storyline

After an encounter at sea with an unknown underwater creature, a naval commander works with two scientists to identify it. The creature they are dealing with is a giant, radioactive octopus that has left its normal feeding grounds in search of new sources of replenishment. As the creature attacks San Francisco, the Navy tries to trap it at the Golden Gate Bridge but it manages to enter the Bay area leading to a final confrontation with a submarine. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Out of primordial depths to destroy the world! See more »

Genres:

Horror | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

July 1955 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Monster from Beneath the Sea  »

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

(archive footage)|

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Donald Curtis cited this film as his personal favorite among the films he starred in. See more »

Goofs

When the authorities are detonating undersea mines to discourage the giant octopus, explosions are shown in S.F. Bay. Those explosions are actually taking place on the surface of the water, since the surface shock-wave is clearly visible and no water spout is created. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Narrator: From her beginnings on a Navy drawing board, through the months of secret field experiments out on the Western desert, then through the desperate search for new metals with the properties she needed, she was designed to be the nation's greatest weapon of the seas - the atom-powered submarine. Her engines were to be a miracle of speed and power, her sides strong enough to withstand any blow, her armament and fire power of greater force than the worst enemy she might encounter. The ...
[...]
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Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: For centuries the mind of man has learned comparatively little of the mysteries in the heavens above - - or in the seas below. Since the coming of the atomic age, man's knowledge has so increased that any upheaval of nature would not be beyond his belief. See more »

Connections

Featured in Svengoolie: It Came from Beneath the Sea (2010) See more »

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User Reviews

A decent, but slooow giant monster flick.
11 June 2003 | by (Champaign, Illinois) – See all my reviews

I've been a fan of Ray Harryhausen since I was old enough to appreciate movies, so I bought the DVD of "It Came From Beneath the Sea" even though I hadn't seen the film in many years. Having rewatched it, I have to admit that it's perhaps the least of his film accomplishments.

Once again, the atomic bomb provides the justification for another giant monster, though, despite what has been inaccurately reported elsewhere, the octopus in the film has not been mutated by radiation. It's simply a very large example of its kind that was living at the bottom of a deep ocean trench. When atomic testing made it radioactive, it couldn't effectively hunt because other sea creatures could somehow sense its presence. Therefore, it came to the surface in search of food.

One of the major problems with this film is that while an octopus makes a decent giant monster, it completely lacks the personality of some of Harryhausen's other creatures. Furthermore, it is confined to the sea--and, by extension, the shoreline--limiting its ability to go on a proper rampage.

Even at 79 minutes, the film moves very slowly until the climax. The opening sequence, in which the beast attacks a submarine captained by Kenneth Tobey's character, goes on for several very long minutes of inconsequential naval dialogue.

The lethargic pacing extends to the plot as well. The team of scientists assigned to determine what attacked the sub take a full two weeks to identify it as an octopus.

An odd love triangle of sorts pads the running time. Faith Domergue--who is presented as a modern feminist despite her tendency to scream on cue--seems just as interested in Tobey's navy man as she does in her fellow scientist. The two men acknowledge the triangle, but neither seems at all competitive about it.

Domergue is one of the best things about the film. She's credible as both scientist and sweater gal, and is a good example of the increasing role of female characters in science-fiction films of the period.

Once the octopus attacks in earnest, things pick up quite a bit, and Harryhausen's effects--including stop-motion-animated building demolition--are quite effective. While this is definitely a lesser effort for him, he still shows what he can do with a small budget and a relatively uninteresting monster.


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