It Came from Beneath the Sea
It Came from Beneath the Sea is a 1955 American black-and-white science fiction giant monster film from Columbia Pictures, produced by Sam Katzman and Charles Schneer, directed by Robert Gordon, that stars Kenneth Tobey, Faith Domergue, and Donald Curtis.
|It Came from Beneath the Sea|
Theatrical release half-sheet display poster
|Directed by||Robert Gordon|
|Produced by||Charles H. Schneer|
|Written by||Hal Smith|
George Worthing Yates
|Narrated by||William Woodson|
|Music by||Mischa Bakaleinikoff|
|Edited by||Jerome Thoms|
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
|July 1955 (U.S. release)|
|Box office||$1.7 million (US)|
A nuclear submarine on maneuvers in the Pacific Ocean, captained by Commander Pete Mathews (Kenneth Tobey), comes into contact with a massive sonar return. The commander attempts to outrun and outmaneuver the sonar object, but cannot. The boat is disabled but manages to free itself and return to Pearl Harbor. Tissue from a huge sea creature is discovered jammed in the submarine's dive planes.
A co-ed team of marine biologists, Professor Lesley Joyce (Faith Domergue) and John Carter of Harvard University (Donald Curtis), is called in; they identify the tissue as being a small part of a gigantic octopus. The military authorities scoff, but are finally persuaded after receiving reports of missing swimmers and ships at sea being pulled under by a large animal. Both scientists conclude that the creature is from the Mindanao Deep, having been forced from its natural habitat by hydrogen bomb testing in the area, which has made the giant octopus radioactive, driving off its natural food supply.
The scientists suggest the disappearances of a Japanese fishing fleet and a Siberian seal boat may be the work of the foraging giant. Both Pete and the Navy representatives express doubt and demand further proof. Later, as Pete assists John and Lesley, a report comes in of an attack on a French shipping boat; several men escaped in a raft. The French survivors are questioned by psychiatrists, and when the first sailor's description of a creature with giant tentacles is met with skepticism, the other sailors refuse to testify. Lesley is able to convince the first sailor to repeat his story for government officials, who then have the evidence they need. The U.S. government halts all sea traffic in the North Pacific without revealing the reason. John flies out to sea to trace a missing ship, while Pete and Lesley follow up on a report of three missing people off the coast of Oregon.
The local sheriff, Bill Nash (Harry Lauter), takes Pete and Lesley to the site of the attack, where they find a giant suction cup imprint in the beach sand; they then request that John join them. Bill is later attacked along the beach by the giant octopus, right in front of the two scientists. He escapes, and together they hastily arrange for all Pacific coast waters to be mined before departing for San Francisco and the Navy's headquarters.
An electrified safety net is strung underwater across the entrance to San Francisco Bay to protect the Golden Gate Bridge, which has also been electrified. John takes a helicopter along the shoreline and baits the sea with dead sharks in an effort to lure the creature inland. Lesley demonstrates to reporters a special jet-propelled atomic torpedo, which they hope to fire at the giant octopus, while driving it back to the open sea before detonating the weapon. Later that day, the creature demolishes the underwater net, irritated by the electrical voltage, and heads toward San Francisco.
The navy orders the Golden Gate Bridge abandoned, but when John learns that the electric circuit there has been left on, he races to the bridge to shut it off. The creature, however, catches sight of the bridge and attacks it, the electrical voltage irritating it even more. Pete is able to rescue John just before a bridge section is brought down by a giant tentacle.
The residents of San Francisco panic and begin a mass exodus down the peninsula. The navy struggles to evacuate the Embarcadero and the Ferry Building, which is battered by the creature's giant tentacles. When more people are attacked and killed, the Defense Department authorizes Pete to take out the submarine and fire the torpedo; John joins Pete while Lesley remains at the base.
Flamethrowers push the giant tentacles back into the sea, but when Pete fires the jet torpedo into the creature, it grabs the submarine. Using an aqualung, Pete swims up to the massive body and places explosive charges before being knocked out by the creature's flailing tentacles. John then swims out and shoots at one of its eyes, forcing the giant octopus to release the submarine; he then pulls Pete to safety. Back at the base, as the creature turns toward the open sea, the torpedo is detonated, completely destroying the giant cephalopod.
To keep shooting costs low, director Robert Gordon shot inside an actual submarine, both above and under water, using handheld cameras. For a scene that takes place on a stretch of Pacific coastline, Gordon and his crew dumped several truckloads of sand onto a sound stage at Columbia, which they backed with a rear projection screen. During their scene together, Kenneth Tobey found himself sinking through the sand to the point of appearing shorter than Faith Domergue on camera, forcing him to dig himself out of the hole between every take. A more extensive love scene had been written for the characters but was literally torn out of the shooting script by Sam Katzman, to keep principal photography from going over schedule.
The octopus stop-motion effects were designed and animated by Ray Harryhausen. The effects budget, however, was getting slightly out of hand, and for this reason, Sam Katzman allowed Harryhausen only enough money for animating six of the octopus' eight tentacles; two were eliminated on the final shooting miniature. Harryhausen jokingly named his giant octopus "the sixtopus" (this behind-the-scenes detail was revealed years later in a science fiction magazine). For the scenes where a single tentacle is seen moving up and around the bridge superstructure, Harryhausen used a single large model tentacle instead of employing the complete animation model. Some of the bridge scenes employ a shooting miniature of a bridge support, which was then composited in post-production over live footage of the real support; this is the bridge section that the "sixtopus" is seen clinging to in the final scene.
Time Out called it a "minor entry in the '50s cycle of radiation-paranoia sci-fi pics"; and Moria noted, "Most of the film is told in a stolid, flat style that seems more like an Army training documentary than a dramatic film. The problem is that one has to plod through three-quarters of the film to get to the monster sequences...Certainly, when the climactic scenes of wholesale destruction do arrive they are great"; whereas Allmovie wrote that the film "utilized elements of the documentary, with a narration that makes the first half of the movie seem almost like a newsreel, which gives the action a greater immediacy. And...This is all presented in a cool, clipped realistic manner, with a strong but convincingly stated macho tone...It all served to make the first quarter hour of the film almost irresistibly suspenseful, and gave Harryhausen one of the best lead-ins that one could ask for, for his effects"; Leonard Maltin also praised the film's "Breathtaking special effects"; and the Radio Times, whilst acknowledging it as a "classic monster flick", also called the film "Predictable tosh, but good 1950s fun".
The four-issue comic book mini-series It Came from Beneath the Sea... Again (2007), released by TidalWave Productions as part of their Ray Harryhausen Signature Series, continued the story. A preview of the first issue was included on the 50th Anniversary DVD release of the film.
- [dead link]
- 'The Top Box-Office Hits of 1955', Variety Weekly, January 25, 1956
- "The Top 21 Most Kick-Ass Giant Monsters in Movie History!". bloody-disgusting.com.
- "It-Came-From-Beneath-the-Sea - Trailer - Cast - Showtimes - NYTimes.com". Movies.nytimes.com. April 23, 2013. Retrieved May 10, 2013.
- "It Came from Beneath the Sea (1955) - Overview". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved May 10, 2013.
- Warren, Bill. Keep Watching the Skies Vol. I: 1950–1957, McFarland, 1982. ISBN 0-89950-032-3.
- Dalton, Tony. Ray Harryhausen: An Animated Life. London: Aurum, 2003, p. 73.
- "It Came from Beneath the Sea (1955) - Articles - TCM.com". Turner Classic Movies.
- "It Came from Beneath the Sea".
- "It Came from Beneath the Sea (1955). Giant Atomic Octopus/Ray Harryhausen Film. Stars: Kenneth Tobey, Faith Domergue. Director - Robert Gordon. Moria - The Science-Fiction, Horror and Fantasy Film Review". moria.co.nz.
- "It Came from Beneath the Sea (1955) - Robert Gordon - Review - AllMovie". AllMovie.
- "It Came from Beneath the Sea (1955) - Overview - TCM.com". Turner Classic Movies.
- "It Came from beneath the Sea – review - cast and crew, movie star rating and where to watch film on TV and online". Radio Times.
- "Ray Harryhausen's Collection". IGN. September 24, 2007. Retrieved September 24, 2017.
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: It Came from Beneath the Sea|
- It Came from Beneath the Sea on IMDb
- It Came from Beneath the Sea at AllMovie
- It Came from Beneath the Sea at the TCM Movie Database
- It Came from Beneath the Sea at the American Film Institute Catalog
- It Came From Beneath the Sea Sourcebook, at The Thunder Child
- Film score suite re-recorded on "Monstrous Movie Music" label (sound samples available)
- Comic sequel (2008) "It Came From Beneath The Sea... Again!" to the movie
- Chris Noeth Website of the artist to the comic sequel "It Came From Beneath The Sea... Again!" (2008)