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|Index||54 reviews in total|
A respectable drive-in flick deserving of its long shelf life.
Recommended only to fans of the B-movie genre, Phantom contains all the
cheesy elements that make these movies so much fun.
There are a couple of inaccuracies in the title -- 1) for a Phantom, the creature manages to get spotted by everybody who even goes out on the water (all in the same rowboat, by the way; there must have been a 'No motors' sign posted for this ocean), and 2) the only way to go 10,000 Leagues under the ocean is horizontally, not vertically. As it is, this creature was always close enough to the surface to spot that unlucky rowboat every blinkin' time. People always screamed bloody murder whenever that rowboat tipped over, too, as if they knew a monster was doing it. Usually, when I tip my canoe over, I just shout something unprintable here -- but from now on, I'll suspect the Phantom, and scream appropriately.
The sets in this movie show the sad lack of budget that AIP always handed their directors. Lots of ceiling to floor curtains in the background, even hiding the mad professor's Top, Top Secret Death Ray Project. The entire College of Oceanography set consisted of the outer secretary's office (where the professor always took off his suit coat to put on his lab coat), and the professor's locked inner lab (where he always promptly took off the lab coat he had just put on, and changed into his radiation suit, apparently to protect him from rads given off by the Top, Top Secret Death Ray behind the flimsy curtain. When leaving the lab, the professor dutifully put on the lab coat again to walk through the door to the outer office, where he once again changed to his suit coat. I'll bet that lab coat never had to be washed.)
The real bucks were spent on the set of the Professor's beach house, where three doors were required -- one to enter from the outside, one to the Professor's bedroom, and one to the bathroom for the obligatory hubba-hubba shower scene of the Professor's daughter, Lois.
Lois is a bright spot in this picture. Not only does she take showers, but she also falls in love with the dashing scientist-turned-federal investigator, Ted Stevens. Lois listens to a lot of Ted's investigator stuff, and a whole lot of her father's mad scientist deathless dialogue (boy, can that guy mangle metaphors!). But mostly, Lois lounges. She lounges in the cabana chairs in front of her home, and she manages to be the only lounger on a totally deserted beach, but still gets stepped on by Investigator Ted, who happens to be looking the other way, where he just saw the Phantom.
Lois must get pretty tired of listening to Dad, because she doesn't shed a whole lot of tears when Phantom and Daddy pieces come blasting out of the ocean at the climax. Probably, she's wondering how she can get Investigator Ted to go back down there with a tackle box of dynamite, too. Then it'll be no more listening to exposition, and back to the lounging for Lois. As long as she doesn't do it in that snakebit rowboat.
The Phantom from 10,000 Leagues gets a respectable B-Movie 4 out of 10.
While this Science fiction story lacks any real sense of credibility and our monster-The Phantom disappoints due to a lack of action and a rather plain appearance, there's enough inherent strangeness and weirdness going on here to make this an intriguing watch to fans of cult movies - the science fiction variety. Seeing Kent Taylor and Philip Pine is a treat here as always and they , along with Cathy Downs and Michael Whelan do give competent performances. Recommended mainly to those with a lot of patience and a love for Grade-Z movies.
The vote drop-down menu is not very useful in this case. Of course this movie is awful. What would you expect from a film with this title from the 1950's? But what is note-worthy about the film is really how awful it is. I suppose this grade-Z pic was trying to cash in on the success of The Creature from the Black Lagoon or that Kurk Douglas Disney League jaunt, but I'm sure very few parted ways with their 1950's scratch to see this one. I though have to claim (of few that would make such bold statements) that I purchased this one, and I loved it. On par with Plan 9 and Beast of Yucca Flats this is a gem. Utter half-wittedness, no-budget, bad sound, horrible editing, no continuity, guys shooting each other with harpoons, the gratuitous sexy (which is a stretch) half naked woman, the same one boat used in all the scenes that call for a boat, the same stretch of beach, dumb doctors spouting esoteric formulas while (constantly) running around in suits on the beach...most bad films are just boring, and usually help you fall asleep after the late show, but trust me stay awake for awhile with this one, maybe just long enough to catch the goofy monster.
There are some high-lights here that merit special mention...in no particular order. 1. The professor's hair-do 2. A shower scene of somewhat less than erotic 50's style 3. poison pills deposited in the diving equipment 4. foreign agent Wanda...who she works for we'll never know 5. row-boats that can remain in place on the open sea, with no anchor necessary. Even for 1956, this is an amazing effort. Maybe it was more of a home-movie than a real, studio job. In any case, the morals are presented very clearly and that's what makes it worth my 9 rating. So...beware of mad scientists, spies from un-named evil countries, and monsters in general. But, kids, it's okay to smoke!! P.S. This film seems to have been made before "special effects". There are effects...just not so special.
(Some Spoilers) The US Government is concerned about the goings on off
shore and on the beaches around the newly opened Collage of
Oceanography founded by the renowned expert of nuclear psychics
Prof.King, Michael Whalen.
With a number of boats sunk and five people killed, from radiation burns, the US Government sends two of it's operatives FBI agent Bill Grant, Rodney Bell, and famed oceanographer and author Dr. Ted Stevens, Kent Taylor, to find out just whats behind these deaths. Uknown to the US Government there's also a spy ring, from an unnamed country, also at work trying to get the information that Prof. King has come up with in his nuclear research that includes his assistant George Thomas,Philip Pine, and his sexy but not too bright, go-between Wanda, Helene Statnton.
Prof. King had discovered a uranium deposit under the sea just outside the collage and somehow activated it causing this radioactive sea monster to be created.Attacking people sailing off-shore it killed a number of them by capsizing their boats and then exposing them to it's deadly radioactive rays.
The Professor is trying to use his discovery to create a "Death Ray" that can be used by the US military but it seemed to have backfired and caused the deaths of a number of innocent people. Prof. King is also reluctant to destroy the underwater uranium deposit and his creation the creature.
Somewhat better then your average "Monster from the Deep" 1950's sci-fi movie with some good acting on the part of Kent Taylor Michael Whalen & Rodney Bell that lifts this bargain basement monster film up a few notches and makes it more then watchable.
Agent Grant gets Prof. Kings secretary Ethal Hall,Vivi Janiss, the keys to Prof. King's Lab. to find out if he had anything to do with the mysterious deaths off shore, one of which was Ethal's son. This leads to Ethal's murder by Prof. King's assistant and foreign espionage agent George Thomas. Later a freighter is sunk by the underwater uranium mine, when it sailed over it, killing all on deck.
The two spies George Thomas and Wanda are easily caught by the FBI in that their so unprofessional that you wondered who, or what country, would be crazy enough to use them in their espionage activities. Prof. King destroys his personal papers on his experiments so no one would be able to duplicate them and then sails out to sea to the underwater uranium deposit. It's there with a TNT loaded time-bomb Prof. King destroys the uranium mine the creature and himself in a huge underwater explosion.
Prof. King's daughter Lois, Kathy Downs, who at first refused to believe that her father could be responsible for these tragic deaths is shocked into reality with his own cataclysmic demise that prevented more lives from being lost due to his misplaced loyalty to science then to human life.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
8 truer words have never been said. Unfortunately I do not believe they
were meant for the watchers of this stinker. You know it is not going
to be good right away when they introduce the monster in the first 30
seconds defending his shiny spot. When you see the overgrown sea monkey
you know this is going to be a long movie. With technical gaps such as
the polyester curtain protecting the lab from radiation needing a lead
suit while the flashing light is on, to the professional divers exiting
their boats like drunk castaways, this movie has the elements to be the
cheap trash I love. But instead I was too busy yelling at the TV. OK it
is time for someone to talk. OK lets not throw out yet another red
herring you already told us whodunit. OK who hangs pictures up in their
And of course like all monster movies from this decade there is nothing a little TNT can't solve. So unless you want to sharpen your math skills to figure out just exactly how shallow 10,000 leagues actually is (you can still scuba dive!) miss this.
The Phantom from 10,000 Leagues is directed by Dan Milner and written
by Dorys Lukather and Lou Rusoff. It stars Kent Taylor, Cathy Downs and
Michael Whalen. Music is by Ronald Stein and photography by Brydon
Plot, for what it's worth, sees an amphibian like creature suddenly start killing any unfortunate human being that strays near its lair. And just what is that glowing thing down there? An absolute hack job attempting to cash in on the success of far better films of its ilk that were all the rage in the 1950s. It's the sort of Z grade film that gives the fans of creaky creature features and sci-fi schlockers a bad name. Right off the bat the makers commit a big error by introducing us to the man in the rubber suit straight away, a hopeless creation that's about as scary as the insipid dialogue that litters the production. Dialogue that's delivered by a cast of wooden actors who bring laughs on account of the fact they seem to be taking their roles seriously!
Milner's direction accounts to being a number of similar scenes strung together at different intervals, with the creature's appearances being as rare as any suspense is. While the 10,000 Leagues aspect is rendered a big joke since the creature is in water that's only about 5 fathoms deep! I wonder if the makers realised that just one league is 3 nautical miles?!
Is it in the "so bad it's good" category? Absolutely not! There's a modicum of science interest involving genetic tests and atomic energy dabblings, but this is lost amongst the laborious pacing as the characters do incredibly dumb things. While somewhat surprisingly Ronald Stein's foreboding music is decent and deserves a better movie. It also has a great title, with awesome poster art to match, but all told it's a major "league" clunker and only makes one cherish even more the likes of Creature from the Black Lagoon and The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms. 2/10
Most of the cast seems glad to be working if not half snockered in yet another tale of misguided radioactivity that didn't have much extra going for it other than a wide screen format. A world weary scientist finds a common fresh water turtle on the beach where with the use of his new fangled death ray mutates it into a large snapping turtle and then into a man in a hilarious rubber suit that has to be weighted down to keep the actor from floating belly up to the surface.It's a fast 78 minutes and with all of it's cheapness and faux pas it's hard not to like.It's not as good as Creature From The Black Lagoon but not nearly as bad as it's DVD co-feature The Beast With A Million Eyes.
This film was really cheesy. But hey, that's to be expected. I rented this on DVD because it had cool cover art (A monster attacking a bikini-clad girl, something most 1950's creature features used as a advertisement or theatricle posters), and I thought the creature might look cool. Well, it looked more like a rehashed muppet. Oh, well. It was still a fun movie. B-movie fans should enjoy it.
Phantom From 10,000 Leagues is a terribly wooden movie. The acting is wooden, the dialogue is more wooden, and the script is even more wooden. The story concerns the discovery of a radioactive deposit on the ocean floor, and the creature that is said to be guarding it. It looks as though Professor King might be the main man responsible for the devastation the radioactive deposit creates, and the creature that kills almost all who come near the deposit. Professor King has a slimy assistant who has a thing for spear guns, and an ultra-nosy secretary. A mystery man reveals he is Dr. Ted Stevens, and has been assigned to act as a sort of science detective to the findings of bodies with radiation burns. There is also a real detective around, and the two join forces. Dr. Ted Stevens finds romance with Professor King's daughter; while a blonde spy torments the slimy, spear gun-toting assistant. Phantom From 10,000 Leagues is a science fiction thriller without thrills, a horror movie with little horror, and a detective story that really offered nothing to draw me into the movie. There's dullness many times, and nothing that really provokes thought. A fisherman's body washes ashore near the beginning of the movie, and the two men who come across the radioactive burned body don't seem to be upset or excited at all. -- They go about their conversation concerning the corpse in a total deadpan manner. The mystery and crime aspects do not work. The horror aspects do not work. The creature is barely shown moving from it's spot, and is not well crafted. I will say the movie was not badly shot, but that is not enough to keep Phantom From 10,000 Leagues from sinking to the bottom.
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