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Ingmar Bergman watched this film every year on his birthday.
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Forrest J. Ackerman, a horror and science fiction writer for Famous Monsters of Filmland Magazine, bought the mask and claws of the Creature's costume from a young man who had once used them as a Halloween costume. The costume pieces were discarded by Universal after production had finished on the three films (Creature from the Black Lagoon and its two sequels) and were later recovered from the studio's dumpster by a janitor, who thought the ensemble would make a good Halloween costume for his son. Other costume pieces were recently sold at auction by Bud Westmore, who was an assistant to Milicent Patrick, the original designer of the costume.
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Ricou Browning, a professional diver and swimmer, was required to hold his breath for up to 4 minutes at a time for his underwater role as the "Gill-man". The director's logic was that the air would have to travel through the monster's gills and, thus, air bubbles from his mouth or nose must not be seen. Thus, the costume was designed without an air tank. In the subsequent films, this detail was ignored and air can be seen emanating from the top of the creature's head.
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Two different stuntmen were used to portray the creature, and therefore, two different suits were used in the movie. Ricou Browning played the creature when it was in the water and wore a lighter suit, Ben Chapman played the creature when it was out of the water with a darker suit.
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The Creature's appearance was based on old seventeenth-century woodcuts of two bizarre creatures called the Sea Monk and the Sea Bishop. The Creature's final head was based on that of the Sea Monk, but the original discarded head was based on that of the Sea Bishop.
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Julie Adams noted that making the film was an extremely pleasant process, and that the cast and crew got along quite well. She also explained that she felt sympathetic toward the monster. Adams said, "There always is that feeling of compassion for the monster. I think maybe it touches something in ourselves, maybe the darker parts of ourselves, that long to be loved and think they really can't ever be loved. It strikes a chord within us."
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Ricou Browning, the stuntman who provided the underwater shots of the creature, once had to make an emergency bathroom visit while he was filming a scene. Browning had been underwater for several minutes and breached the water, in full costume, next to an unsuspecting mother and her young daughter on the nearby shore. Browning said that they fled in terror once they saw him. He recalled, "they took off, and that's the last I saw of 'em!"
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Originally produced in 3-D.
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Milicent Patrick created the design of the Creature, although Bud Westmore, who was the head of Universal's makeup department at the time, would take credit publicly for the Creature's design.
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Julie Adams performed all of her own stunts for this film. Ginger Stanley performed the underwater scenes. She also was "Kay" when the Creature dove off the Rita with her.
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In this film, the eyes of the Creature were a fixed part of the rubber construction of the suit. The actors who played the part of the "Gill-man" could barely see, if at all. In the second film, the eyes have been, somewhat ludicrously, replaced with large, bulbous fish-eyes to assist in the actor's vision.
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Julie Adams has stated that she was not knocked out when she was being carried into the cave by the creature. Rather, Adams claims that she scraped her head against the plaster wall of the cave while the stuntman was carrying her. Neither Adams nor the stuntman had very good visibility while filming the scene. The scene called for Adams to pretend to be unconscious in the creature's arms, which meant that her eyes were closed, and the stuntman could barely see out of the creature's mask.
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The Creature, using the name "Uncle Gilbert", appeared in The Munsters: Love Comes to Mockingbird Heights (1965) of The Munsters (1964).
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Ricou Browning and Ben Chapman never met during the making of the film. Browning's underwater scenes were filmed in Florida, and Chapman's scenes were filmed in California. They didn't meet until they both attended a convention in Florida 20 years later.
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Jenny Clack (University of Cambridge) discovered a fossil amphibian, found in the remnants of what was once a fetid swamp, and named it Eucritta melanolimnetes - literally "the creature from the black lagoon".
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Viewers will note that when the two men put on their scuba tanks, David always wears two tanks on his back while Mark always wears one. This is a visual device used by the filmmakers to help the audience distinguish between the two characters when they are swimming under water.
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In an interview, Julie Adams recalled that swimming for long periods in frigid water was one of the most challenging parts of making the film. For most of production, the water tank used for most of Adams' swimming scenes was heated; however, the crew forgot to heat the tank prior to filming on a particularly chilly day.
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Director Jack Arnold claimed that his main goal in the making of this film was to create a sense of dread. Arnold said, "it plays upon a basic fear that people have about what might be lurking below the surface of any body of water. You know the feeling when you are swimming and something brushes your legs down there - it scares the hell out of you if you don't know what it is. It's the fear of the unknown. I decided to exploit this fear as much as possible."
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Julie Adams has lightheartedly complained that no matter how well she acted or what roles she had in other films, fans always remember her most often from this role.
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When William Alland was a member of Orson Welles' Mercury Theatre, he heard famed Mexican cinematographer Gabriel Figueroa tell of a legend about a humanoid creature that supposedly lived in South America. That legend became the origin of this film.
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In an interview, Ricou Browning stated that he came up with the idea of Kay (Julie Adams) throwing her cigarette in the water and the camera showing the Gill-man underneath, looking up at the cigarette. He also mentioned that Adams didn't smoke at the time, but was willing to for the scene.
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Producer William Alland was attending a 1941 dinner party during the filming of Citizen Kane (1941) (in which he played the reporter Thompson) when Mexican cinematographer Gabriel Figueroa told him about the myth of a race of half-fish, half-human creatures in the Amazon River. Alland wrote story notes titled "The Sea Monster" 10 years later. His inspiration was Beauty and the Beast (1946). In December 1952, Maurice Zimm expanded this into a treatment, which Harry Essex and Arthur A. Ross rewrote, the screenplay for this movie.
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This is the film advertised on the theatre marquee behind Marilyn Monroe in the iconic scene from Seven Year Itch in which Marilyn' stands on a subway grate in Times Square and her white dress billows up around her hips as s subway train passes below.
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In interviews, Ben Chapman would often thank the fans for keeping the movie's popularity alive. He believed that if not for loyal fans, this movie would have been just another long-forgotten monster film.
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A severe accident was narrowly avoided while filming the fight scene between the creature and Zee. Ben Chapman, the stuntman who acted as the creature on land, and Bernie Gozier, who played Zee, rehearsed the fight scene for several days. There was a particular need for the extended rehearsal since the creature costume allowed for very little mobility or visibility. The scene called for Zee to swing at the creature with a machete and for the creature to grab his hand before he could complete the motion. When the scene was filmed with the actors in costume, Chapman missed Gozier's hand when he swung the machete at him. The blade connected squarely with the creature's head. Luckily, the machete was not extraordinarily sharp and the thick rubber foam that formed the creature's head prevented Chapman from receiving any serious injury.
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There is a rumor that Ricou Browning's Gill-man suit was painted yellow, so that the camera would be able to see the suit better in the murky water. Browning denied the rumor, saying that his suit was also painted green and was made to look identical to Ben Chapman's suit.
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The famous Creature theme music was composed uncredited by Universal staff composer Herman Stein. When the score was recorded by the Radio Symphony Orchestra of Slovakia in 2000, the CD notes included both a photo of Stein and a blow-up of his original Creature manuscript. Stein, who also composed the music for Julie Adams swimming, contributed some 12 minutes of the score, whilst his Universal staff colleagues Henry Mancini and Hans J. Salter contributed 12 minutes and 16 minutes, respectively. A further 9 minutes were provided by the Universal stock music library.
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Jack Arnold directed most The Brady Bunch (1969) episodes. In one, centering on the boys raiding the girls' slumber party, Bobby Brady wears The Creature mask.
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Julie Adams (Kay) was one of the last surviving cast members, along with Ricou Browning. She passed away 2/3/2019 at the age of 92.
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When comparing the creature costume to later monster costumes and horror film makeup, stuntman Ricou Browning likened the design to the Model T. He claimed that there was very little he could do in order to make the creature appear menacing or lifelike. The costume had a squeeze bulb built into the arm that allowed for a slight movement of the gills and if Browning moved his chin up, he could partially open the creature's mouth. He noted, however, that there was no way to move the creature's eyes at all.
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Included among the American Film Institute's 2001 list of 400 movies nominated for the top 100 Most Heart-Pounding American Movies.
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The first design for the creature costume was modeled after the Oscar statuette given by The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The design was quickly scrapped, however, and the final foam rubber and latex creature costume bears little resemblance to the award.
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Passed by the British Board of Film Censors on 20 April 1954 with an "X" certificate. Premiered at the London Pavilion on Friday, 3 December 1954. In spite of the film's later status as cult legend, the original West End run was just three weeks.
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The first film that Stephen King can remember watching.
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The scene where Kay is treading water near the surface of the lagoon and unknowingly entices the creature is "echoed" in the scene from Jaws (1975) where "Chrissie" becomes the first victim of the shark. Both sequences feature multiple camera angles and edits that are strikingly similar.
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When viewed at its original 4:5 aspect ratio, a telephone pole is visible at the top of the frame. When the movie is presented in wide-screen "letterbox" format, the telephone pole is hidden behind the top black bar.
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Antonio Moreno, who plays Dr. Maia, had been in films since 1912.
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The scientific narration in the beginning combines both Creation and Evolution.
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The reason the two divers wait a few moments under water before boarding the boat is to give their bodies time to off-gas nitrogen. When breathing air underwater, nitrogen builds up in your body. Divers frequently take a 10 foot "safety stop" below the surface to allow our bodies to adjust. Dive boats often have bars that's hang down at this level for convenience. This is why at one point Kay scolds them for not stopping before climbing aboard. This risked the divers getting the bends.
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The boat captain talks and wrote a note for fishing. Rotenone kills fish by inhibiting cellular respiration and the ability to use dissolved oxygen. In effect, the fish suffocate. Fish exposed to lethal rotenone concentrations move to the surface and gasp for oxygen as if the water was oxygen-depleted. This allows them to be netted.
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In France the film was broadcast in Anaglyphe 3D on national TV (the 3rd channel) the 19th of October 1982 in a show called "The Last Showtime". The blue and red 3D glasses were sold with a famous TV magazine so that viewers could see the film in 3D. Many said that 3D with the Anaglyphe process did not provide very good results.
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Actor Richard Carlson often confused with Actor Hugh Marlowe
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The re-release in Spain was only in Madrid (Artistic Metropol). It was projected 3 days and only in a subtitled version.
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The name of the boat is the "Rita."
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Before the script was finished, plans already had been made to leave the Creature's fate uncertain at the end of the picture in order to leave an opening for a sequel.
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When the Creature attacks Zee, the script called for him to pick him up and throw him into the camera for the 3-D effect. Unfortunately, the wires used to lift Zee up to make it appear as though he was actually being picked up by the Creature kept breaking. After two tries, Jack Arnold decided to just have Zee get strangled.
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This film has the same body count for humans as the original JAWS.
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