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In all fairness this movie should be judged for what it is .... a 1950's B Monster movie flick. I give it high marks in this area. It may not have the shock and scare value as it predecessor "The Creature of the Black Lagoon" but I find it to be a good representative of it's genre. A lot of this film was shot at Marineland in Florida at a time before there ever was a Sea World. As a kid I was amazed at some of the scenes in the film such as "The Creature" over turning a car as he was escaping the Aqua Park, and jumping out of a huge aquatic tank to attack the audience. Recently I talked with Ricou Browning (who played "The Creature") and determined that Universal Studios used wires to turn over the car that was supposedly thrown by the Creature. Wires were once again used to pull the Creature out of the large tank at Marineland as the Creature attacked actor, John Bromfeld. Seconds later he was attacking the Marineland crowd. As a young theater goer I found this fascinating. This film has been taking a lot of heat from some of your web site critics. I think it is well worth watching to see how the old Hollywood crowd use to scare us at the Drive-In. If nothing else it serves as a pleasant stroll down "memory lane".
No doubt designed to make a fast buck in the 50s, you still get the Gill Man, one of the coolest of all monster designs ever, and a woman to throw cars for and swim thousands of miles for in beautiful Lori Nelson.
Even in a production without much life, the Gill Man still seems
powerful and mysterious, and his biological drive to mate with Ms. Nelson is interesting considering the long lineage of sympathetic monsters in love with knock-out blondes and brunettes. Sadly, the idea of the monster, the tragic beast longing for what is impossible to him (Wolf Man, King Kong, the Mummy) is a distant memory in filmdom. There was the recent DARK MAN, and Nicholson's WOLF, but these are obvious throw-backs to a time when monsters were more than scurrying guerrillas attacking from the shadows or machine-like mass murderers who cannot be killed. I won't count fluffy-haired vampires, whose allure as suave parasites is not "monstrous". A monster, in classic terms, in love with a beautiful woman, is denied her by the facts of their existence. Either because of grotesqueness or species-differences,
the monster endures pain, capture, and often death in his attempt to carry a Lori Nelson in his arms through a moonlit swamp.
In REVENGE the Gill Man is probed, prodded, and stared at by tourists, definitely the worst fate, though this allows the Creature to establish a magnetic attraction to Lori Nelson. You get a great escape, more Lori Nelson in bathing suits, a big bohunk who has an unhealthy fetish with wrestling the Gill Man hand-to-hand, and lots more Lori Nelson in a bathing suit. What you don't do is watch this movie for any reason but to see the Gill Man thrash in the water and smack
bohunks...and if you're a fan of the Creature and classic monsters, you'll understand the tragic consequences when you're a walking fish-man who's half-man enough to love a human woman, and whose tears probably would never show, in the depths of the deepest lagoons.
**SPOILERS** Fairly good sequel of "Creature From the Black Lagoon" has
the Rita II traveling back to the Amazon Basin to capture the Gill Man
who survived in the earlier film from his would-be-captors or
Getting the Gill Man trapped in the Black Lagoon the boat's crew headed by aquatic scientist Joe Hayes, John Bromfield, blast the Gill Man out of the water with high explosives.
Knocked out and helpless the Gill man is shipped back to the USA to Ocean Harbor Aquarium in Silver Springs Florida to be exhibited to the eager and curious public and examined by scores of scientists and ichthyologists. To see just what he's all about and if he's the missing link between man, before he evolved into a primate, and fish.
Put in this huge water tank and held down by a steel chain tied to his leg the Gill Man is a major curiosity piece for the thousands of tourists who visit the aquarium.
Much like in the first Gill Man film the underwater photography is breathtaking with the Gill Man trapped, swimming around in circles, and having nowhere to go. As well as when he's free in the open ocean and in the Amazon River swimming and diving like he were an Olympic Gold Medal winner.
Examined by Prof. Clete Ferguson, John Agar, and ichthyologist Helen Dobson, Lori Nelson,the Gill Man develops a crush on Helen and that drives him almost bonkers as he's just out of reach of grabbing Helen when she and Clete are studying him underwater. It doesn't take long for the Gill Man to break his chain and escape from the tank. After tearing up the aquarium, and killing a couple of people, he jumps into the Atlantic Ocean and swims away.
The Gill Man for some reason doesn't travel south to the Amazon River where he comes from but north to the St. Augustine/Jacksonville area in Florida to follow Helen who's there with Prof. Ferguson and her dog Chris.
Obviously madly in love with Helen but too shy to ask her out on a date the Gill Man spends the last half of the movie stalking her all the way up Florida's Atlantic Coast. He finally gets enough nerve to approach Helen and burst into the local Lobster House, during a Saturday night bandstand party, knocking the place, with it's tables chairs and people, over and putting a couple of drunk party goers into the hospital. Grabbing a terrified Helen the Gill Man disappeared with her into he night.
The ending was what you would have expected with the Gill Man stymied in his attempt to swim back home, to the Black Lagoon, with Helen and shot up by Prof. Furguson and an army of police and local townspeople but still making a successful getaway.
Even though the villain in the movie the Gill Man evoked far more sympathy in "The Revenge of the Creature" then he did in "the Creature from the Black Lagoon". Since he had more screen time and showed genuine sensitivity and feeling for Helen. He was also minding his own business in the safety of the Black Lagoon, when he was kid or creature-napped by a bunch of strangers, the crew of the Rita II. Who's only reasons for doing it was to glorify and enrich themselves at his, the Gill Mans, expense and freedom.
More like revenge of the director.
Maybe it's the smug aura of John 'what is it I don't know' Agar, but this one seemed less like a horror flick and more like an inaugural presentation for Sea World. Wouldn't that have been a a great match up: Gill Man vs Shamu! This orca ain't no alligator you can snap in half.
Helen Dobson is a nice distraction from the relenting slow pace quite apparent in the film. Her expertise in ichthyology is most impressive especially in that white swimwear. Can you really blame the Gill Man for trying? Give this movie credit for the creature's special effects. Keeping in mind this was made in 1955, the articulate detail for Gilly adds this other worldy effect and it's so bizarre seeing any scene where his gills flap in and out.
Poor GM, he was just misunderstood. How would you react to repeated cattle prodding?
MORD39 RATING: ** out of ****
This first sequel to CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON is pretty standard stuff, although I've always preferred the look of the monster in this film even over the original. He appears darker and somehow that strikes me as better.
Other than that, it's pretty much run-of-the-mill as the Creature is captured and then escapes from a Marineland attraction. I suppose that the idea of the Creature becoming a major attraction as a sideshow exhibit is interesting, but it becomes tedious at times as we watch John Agar and Lori Nelson try to train and feed him in his new environment. Lori Nelson has some pretty dumb dialogue at times, too.
This film is not beyond enjoyment, though. When you consider that JAWS 3D (also from Universal) copied the idea of this film with disastrous results, REVENGE OF THE CREATURE looks pretty decent indeed.
The Creature from the Black Lagoon is back! This time he's captured by
scientists and transported to an aquarium in south Florida...
Jack Arnold returns as director, and he has brought Ricou Browning back as the creature. 1950s science fiction lead John Agar is also here, making this a pretty solid sequel. (And who can be opposed to a film with Clint Eastwood in it?)
I guess a lot of people harp on this film. Mike Mayo calls it "insipid" and "a joke." Howard Maxford calls it "run-down". Well, I like it better than the original. I really, truly do. I feel more happens and the plot is more developed. I would have to watch both again to make a definitive statement, but I watched them both back to back and was bored by the first compared to the second.
There are many moments to savor in this thrilling, intriguing follow-up to "Creature From the Black Lagoon." The lovely heroine (Lori Nelson) stares at the captured creature through the glass of the aquarium, two strangers in a man's world. She talks about her career while her peers have already married and had children while also feeling sorry for the creature, a lonely alien in civilization. Taking a swim in the Florida Everglades, (echoing the famed Julie Adams-Creature pas de deux in the original), the now-escaped "gill-man" watches from below, but she is joined by her lover (John Agar), who kisses her mid-scene. Later, she takes a shower in a motel, with the creature outside, in a chilling pre-"Psycho" sequence. Some of the dialogue is dated and stilted, and the creature costume this time looks worse for the wear - apparently goggles were inserted into the mask to make it easier for Rico Browning's underwater swimming. But great, eerie night-time photography at the end and just plain thrilling scenes make this a winning sequel.
Okay, this sequel is miles away from having the taut tension, creepy atmosphere, wonderful character acting, and decent script the original The Creature From the Black Lagoon had. No argument here. But, this film does have its moments, and at the very least is an adequate sequel. It has little of the suspense of the first film, especially in the first 45 minutes where very little of note occurs. Two fellows and the wonderful Nestor Paivia are back on the Rita in search of the missing link creature. They capture him, and the creature is transported to a Sea World type of place for housing, experimentation, and to be gawked at. The creature shows the scientists there, the male lead is John Agar with his hokey yet enjoyable acting style and the female is Lori Nelson who can at the very least fill out a swimsuit very nicely, that he can think and is very closely related to man. Eventually he escapes and falls in love with the beautiful Nelson and abducts her and moves along the waterways....leaving her on the land while he gets back in the water. It's a romance that will bring tears to your eyes. The script is probably the weakest link in the film as we are asked to believe that the creature knows where and when Nelson will be when he crashes a party at a bar and steals her away...literally! The acting is pretty standard here. No one in particular stands out except good old Nestor. Clint Eastwood has a brief and silly cameo in the beginning of the film. What about the creature? He is impressive. The underwater shots are handled nicely by director Jack Arnold. The film also says something about man's nature to toy with nature for his own pleasure...whether that pleasure takes the form of clinical scientific research or in just spending a day at an aquarium staring at some kind of natural freak.
After the success of "Creature from the Black Lagoon", Universal Studios figured audiences would want to take another dip with the Gill Man and they were right. This time, marine biologist Bromfield hires the same boat captain that took the first set of scientists to the lagoon and sets out to capture the creature. After bombing the place (and killing all the fish....apparently ecology was but a thing of the future!), he captures the comatose creature and ships him to Florida to be an attraction and an experiment at an aqua park. He is joined by researcher Agar and student Nelson (looking and sounding far more mature than her 22 years!) who attempt to train the creature to respond to human commands. When the Gill Man has had enough of being chained to the floor of a huge aquarium and being prodded and tormented by his captors, he breaks loose, nabs Nelson and leads the police on a massive chase along the Florida coastline. This second entry (with one more sequel to come) doesn't have the same creepy atmosphere of the original, but it more than makes up for it in campy, unintentionally humorous ways. Agar gives a very routine performance, smiling idiotically at various points, then reverting to stoicism. Nelson runs hot and cold, too. In her first scene, when she witnesses a man being attacked by the creature, her expression is along the same lines as discovering that her soufflé fell while she was gabbing on the phone. She improves as it goes along, but is given some goofy things to say and do. She is hardly a match for the divine Julie Adams in the original, though her dress at the end is lovely and she gets to do what had to be a partial inspiration for Alfred Hitchcock's shower scene in "Psycho". Bromfield, not long after having frolicked with Esther Williams in "Easy to Love", has a more difficult swimming partner this time as he continuously wrangles the Gill Man. His tan, beefy looks fill out his teeny swim trunks beautifully, though his role eventually becomes a bit of a throwaway. (Fortunately, the baggy shorts the men wore in the first movie have been replaced by dinky, tight speedo-like ones here.) Future stars Eastwood and Halsey appear in bit parts. Eastwood has the most lamentable role as a sort of backward lab technician who can't keep track of the four mice he's been placed in charge of. Halsey has it better as a college student who has a run-in with the creature. The film is chock full of dry, now-hilarious moments of drama and bizarre plot details that make little or no sense. Nelson befriends a dog that roams into the aqua park and then has it living in her hotel room? The creature can track Nelson on land from the ocean? A police dispatcher feels it necessary to announce that she's a "pretty" student when detailing her kidnapping. When the monster goes on his rampage, a woman blithely lets go of her daughter who then falls at the feet of the creature. Miraculously, though he has mauled and killed men beforehand, he lets the mother kneel down and protect the child. In this film, more than in the original, audience sympathy leans towards the creature. After all, he was dragged form his home and then placed on display. The "training" sequences are remarkably cruel. Nelson places a box of food near him and as he reaches for it, Agar stabs him with a bull prod! Nice! Then she does the same thing with a ball. She entices him to play with it and then here comes the prod again! (Incidentally, the whole prod issue seems unlikely to work the way it is shown.) It does, however, turn a bit funny when the Gill Man retreats and sits on a rusty anchor. As in the original, there's an underwater swimming sequence, this time with Agar and Nelson canoodling while the creature lurks. Gill Man could have easily snatched her and gone off, but then there'd be no film. Even amongst all the goofiness, a modicum of suspense makes its way into the movie. Again, the monster gets some surprising mobility and speed underwater and is pretty threatening. This film draws from past classics ("King Kong"), yet inspired future movies as well ("Jaws 3-D", "Orca".) Far from a true classic, it entertains in spite of itself.
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
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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