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Reginald Le Borg
Lon Chaney Jr.,
The Creature from the Black Lagoon is back! This time he's captured by scientists and transported to an aquarium in south Florida. Naturally, he's attracted to the lovely female scientist and manages to escape and kidnap her, heading to Jacksonville, presumably to catch a Jaguars game. Written by
Jonah Falcon <email@example.com>
Actor/Stuntman Tom Hennesy almost drowned during filming. Playing The Creature, he grabs Helen Dobson (actually stuntwoman Ginger Stanley) on a pier and jumps with her into the water. The scene was shot at night, and when Hennesy and Stanley hit the water, they discovered it was full of jellyfish; in addition, a freak current started to pull them both down. Hennesy let go of Stanley, who swam to the surface, but Hennesy's inflexible Gill-Man costume had become waterlogged and too heavy to fight the current. He was rescued by two local boys who happened to be watching the filming from a nearby boat, and quickly raced over and pulled him in. See more »
Each time the Creature swims up to the window in the tank to see Helen, you can clearly see air leaking out of the top of the Creature's head, not from his gills or mouth. See more »
Director Jack Arnold and company took great care in this one to make the 3-D effects look more natural. While there are no chairs or spears thrown at the camera, there are still plenty of thrilling moments when the creature advances into view and even a couple of false frights, as when a threatening shadow turns out to be no more dangerous than Lori Nelson's hand.
Admittedly the screenplay has its weak links. Depending largely on unlikely co-incidences, the storyline pays scant regard to consistency or logic, while the dialogue is not only trite and banal but seems to go out of its way to provide a persistent assault on the viewer's intelligence by explaining what we can actually see for ourselves. No-one can walk to the bathroom in this film without someone providing a running commentary. Worse, the characters prove little more than pasteboard figures which indifferent actors like Agar and Nelson struggle to bring to life. Miss Nelson is further handicapped by the large amount of make-up she was forced to wear for the 3-D cameras. True, the effect seemed not only attractive but perfectly natural when the original film was projected through a 3-D filter and then viewed through polaroid glasses. She still looks great when framed through a Marineland window, but in bright sunlight the effect now looks ridiculous.
Of course, the Creature himself seems far less menacing (and far more obviously a stuntman in an ill-fitting rubber suit) when exposed to the glare of flat, over-bright 2-D scrutiny.
Nonetheless, the skill of Jack Arnold's direction, particularly in his efforts to disguise obvious 3-D tricks and use depth to produce shock in a seemingly more realistic way, gives the movie sufficient interest and vigor to overcome all script and histrionic short-comings.
Production values benefit from location filming and it's good to see Scotty Welbourne handling all the photographic chores on this one, both underwater and main unit. Of course, in 2-D the picture looks over-lit as it was lensed with 3-D's 20% light reduction firmly in mind.
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