Allied Artists wanted a real monster instead of the planned blob
of energy which would have been invisible essentially. Willis
O'Brien and assistant Pete Peterson made a kind of bronto-plesiosaurus,
called here a "paleosaurus"; Harryhausen was involved
too. The British title for this film is somewhat less redundant:
Behemoth, The Sea Monster.
Artists. 79 minutes.
Producer: David Diamond
Steven Karnes: Gene Evans
Professor James Bickford: Andre Morell
Ian Duncan: John Turner
Jean MacDougall: Leigh Madison
Dr. Sampson: Jack MacGowran
Sub Commander: Maurice Kaufmann
Thomas MacDougall: Henry Vidon
Interrupting Scientist: Leonard Sachs
Director: Eugene Lourie (cf. The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms, Gorgo)
Screenplay: Eugene Lourie
Story: Robert Abel and Allen Adler
Special Effects: Willis O'Brien, Pete Peterson, Jack Rabin, Irving Block, Louis DeWitt
Art Director: Harry White
Music: Edwin Astley
Producer: David Diamond
Booming-God voice begins: "And the Lord said, 'Behold . .
. the behemoth!'" We see the sea, then atomic footage from
Bikini. Steve Karnes is giving a lecture at an Atomic Conference
and notes that there have been 143 such test explosions which
have affected the plankton, then fish, then birds, in a "biological
chain reaction" of radiation. Some snort away the notion
of panic, but Professor James Bickford agrees.
Cornwall fisherman Tom and his daughter Jean
dock. She goes off to make dinner; he sees something glowing
from the sea and screams. Jean goes to the pub where she learns
her father has not been seen, and ropes John into helping her
search. They find the old man dying on the beach: "From
the sea, burning like fire." "What was it?"
He dies, fried. At his funeral, the preacher quotes the
passage from the Book of Job. From there, Jean and John walk
to the beach which is now covered with "thousands upon
of dead fish. John sees something throbbing and glowing and burns
TV reports on the dead fish, laughing about
Loch Ness monsters and alcoholic delusions. But Karnes notes
"the same symptoms as Hiroshima" when discussing the
dead fisherman with Bickford. The two head for Cornwall and meet
disgruntled fishermen. John leads them to the local doctor who
compares the lesions to those on John's hand. But a scan of the
beach turns up nothing.
Karnes dissects fish in a lab with his own
pocketknife, which, after sending flayed fish to be tested for
radioactivity, he puts back in his pocket. He washes his hands
cursorily, wipes them on a towel, and carelessly replaces the
towel for subsequent people to use.
Plate 14 glows radioactively. Karnes takes
a boat ride and catches a glimmer of the creature he has suspected
exists. Another boat has been wrecked. A gun-toting farmer and
his son are charred. A picture of a footprint is brought to a
rather wacky paleontologist, who declares it that of a
probably heading for the Thames to die in the shallows where it
was born. The creature would be "electric, like an eel."
Should we block the Thames? No! says the military.
A helicopter with the paleontologist aboard sights the creature
and blows up. GB (Giant Behemoth) capsizes a ferry. So we decide
we need a submarine and a radium-tipped torpedo since blowing
up the creature would leave radioactive effluvia all over London.
GB comes ashore and prompts people to run down
streets. Cars get crushed; broken power lines and lightning lead
to fires; and GB busts through a bridge (much like the final scene
in 1925's The Lost World). Karnes in the submarine targets
the animal and the torpedo hits inside the mouth of the swimming
creature, blowing it up (but in a good way apparently).
Karnes and Bickford, grim but triumphant, climb
into a car. The radio reports that dead fish are washing ashore
all along the Atlantic coast of the United States. The End.
Apocalypse now, Winky. Although we can manifest the evil in
a monster and shoot it in the mouth again, this film effectively
and prophetically addresses the poisoning of the world in the
latter half of the twentieth century. I eat low on the food chain,
but my respiration is shot and I expect cancer in about 12-15
years tops. The earth is a toilet now, and that burning sensation
at the back of your throat is not some silly quirk or high pollen
counts today or anything else organic.