Newest Reviews
Fish That Saved Pittsburgh, The
Capote Tapes, The
Night, The
Show Goes On, The
Furnace, The
Blue Sky
Tokyo Dragon Chef
12 Hour Shift
Intergalactic Adventures of Max Cloud, The
Spoilers, The
Killer Therapy
Man Upstairs, The
Bloodhound, The
New Mutants, The
Flame of New Orleans, The
Ham on Rye
Imperial Blue
August 32nd on Earth
Don is Dead, The
Seven Sinners
Body of Water
About Endlessness
Let It Snow
Deliver Us from Evil
Shark Attack 3: Megalodon
Midnight Sky, The
Lego Star Wars Holiday Special, The
Mon Oncle Antoine
Blast of Silence
Blackout, The
Newest Articles
Absolutely Bananas: Link on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Hawk the Slayer and The Medusa Touch
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
Nature Girl: The New World on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Perfect Friday and Robbery
Network Double Bills: The House in Nightmare Park and The Man Who Haunted Himself
Newley Minted: The Strange World of Gurney Slade on Blu-ray
Bad Love: The Night Porter on Blu-ray
Brevity is the Soul of Weird: Short Sharp Shocks on Blu-ray
Get Your Ass to Mars: Total Recall on Blu-ray
Call the Professionals: Le Cercle Rouge on Blu-ray
When There's No More Room in Hell: Dawn of the Dead on Blu-ray
The Butterfly Effect: Mothra on Blu-ray
Living Room Theatre: Play for Today Volume 1 on Blu-ray
Didn't He Do Well: The Bruce Forsyth Show on DVD
Blood Wedding: The Bride with White Hair on Blu-ray
The Inhuman Element: The Ladykillers on 4K UHD
As You Like It, Baby: Breathless on Blu-ray
Stargazing: Light Entertainment Rarities on DVD
Down to the Welles: Orson Welles Great Mysteries Volume 2 on DVD
Herding Cats: Sleepwalkers on Blu-ray
  Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, The Nuclear Nuisance
Year: 1953
Director: Eugene Lourié
Stars: Paul Hubschmid, Paula Raymond, Cecil Kellaway, Kenneth Tobey, Donald Woods, Lee Van Cleef, Steve Brodie, Ross Elliott, Jack Pennick, Ray Hyke, Paula Hill, Michael Fox, Alvin Greenman, Frank Ferguson, King Donovan, James Best
Genre: Science FictionBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 3 votes)
Review: There is a highly sensitive operation being conducted by the American military in the Arctic, and every part of it must be timed to the second as atomic bombs are not something to be treated lightly. However, once the device is detonated while it all seems to go as planned, the radar operators monitoring the site notice a mysterious blip on their equipment and call their colonel (Kenneth Tobey) over to have a look. Yet once he gets there, the blip has disappeared, so what could it have been? Was there anything there at all?

You could say that, as this was the movie which started off the giant monster cycle of the nineteen-fifties, so influential that it stretched from the Japanese Godzilla to the next century's Cloverfield, having set out the template so vividly that its imitators were reluctant to mess with a winning formula. Of course the Beast of the title owed something to King Kong, but where that was a romantic take on the style, here was a more businesslike, scientific approach which meant strictly no-nonsense, so there was no chance of the reawakened dinosaur falling for female lead and requisite beautiful lady scientist Paula Raymond.

As for our male lead, well the star was obviously the Rhedosaurus, but Swiss actor Paul Hubschmid, here under the name Paul Christian, was capable as Thomas Nesbitt, the man who the authorities won't believe when he tells them his colleague at the bomb site was crushed by falling ice caused by a massive creature. The reluctance of science to accept anything outside their sphere of knowledge, including their responsibility, is a major theme, as it takes quite a while for anyone to take seriously the witnesses' claims, although the deck is somewhat stacked against the boffins when they're stuck in a film with special effects being the main draw.

Nevertheless, there's no excuse for the psychiatrist who tries to reassure Tom that the Rhedosaurus doesn't exist because there's no proof of the Loch Lomond Monster, an invention which exists only in the film, unless they were getting mixed up with the more likely candidate of the Loch Ness Monster. Nevertheless, Cecil Kellaway shows up as the friendly face of the establishment to initially pooh-pooh Tom's claims, then of course come around to his way of thinking when he does a spot of investigation in a diving bell, although he would have probably preferred the ensuing evidence was not quite so convincing.

But that star was not anyone human, it was Ray Harryhausen's stop motion animation, and it's true you can grow restless when the monster is not on the screen. Such is the archetypal nature of the scenes where it sinks ships, demolishes a lighthouse, and runs rampage through the streets of New York City, that if you were arriving here having never seen The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms before you might feel it was overfamiliar in spite of that, but Harryhausen's work here, as always, was a joy, and made the movie what it is. With a plot based loosely on his old friend Ray Bradbury's short story, this was the effort which made his career: he never looked back after this, regularly producing much-appreciated effects from here to his retirement. The cast are solid enough, but understandably disappear in the memory when the Beast is such a culturally overwhelming image - although trust Lee Van Cleef to be the sharpshooter here, making his mark as an expert gunman pretty early. Atomic age anxiety was rarely so potent: the creature even spread radiation sickness. Music by David Buttolph.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


This review has been viewed 3910 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (1)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Stately Wayne Manor
Enoch Sneed
  Geraint Morgan
Paul Smith
  Lee Fiveash


Last Updated: