Sunday, March 31, 2013

Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)

A strange fossil is found in the Amazon that dates to the Devonian age. It appears to be a human arm with webbed fingers. Wishing to find more fossils, they theorize that the sediment that contained them washed downstream, into the Black Lagoon!

Once a living specimen is discovered, good scientist David (Richard Carlson) wants to return better prepared to study this creature, but naughty scientist Mark (Richard Denning) wants to capture it and make a fortune! After David is finally proven to be unequivocally correct, they discover their path out of the lagoon has been barricaded by a Devonian aquatic ape with a penchant for hot chicks.

Here is Universal's last "classic" monster. Back in the 70's they licensed rubber figures of their five rock stars and I had the collection. Recently I found three of them (Drac and Frank are missing, of course). I still have one of the movies left to cover, and that's planned for October. But let's cover the science with today's movie.

There is no Devonian Age. There is, however, a Devonian PERIOD which is before the dinosaurs (420 to 358ish million years ago) nowhere near the 150 myo mentioned in the movie. Also, if Gill Man is supposed to be a distant relative of humans, then the split would have been between 8 and 12 myo. Picking nits? Perhaps, but changing the numbers to reflect actual science would not have impacted the story at all. Get it right, people!

The two men in the rubber costume (one for the land and one when swimming) weren't credited. Seems the marketing department thought that if there was no credit for the monster, people would assume it was real. But someone so stupid would likely not have been able to find their way to the theater in the first place.

Well acted, well made, and lasting cultural impact. Not a great film, but good. Ingmar Bergman thought it good enough to watch every year on his birthday. I'm undecided whether I will watch it again. AMRU 3.5.

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