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The Creature From the Black Lagoon


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What's New?

Universal Classic Monsters: The Essential Collection:

This Blu-Ray DVD has both the regular and 3D version of The Creature From the Black Lagoon!








 

Gillman Movie Trivia

Take the Trivia Quiz!

The Creature from the Black Lagoon, at age 15 million years old, is the last survivor of its species - a mixture of amphibian and man. When his habitat in the Amazon is disturbed, he attacks those who try to capture it.

Poster from the movieThe Creature from the Black Lagoon is one of Hollywood's original and memorable monsters created by Universal Studios. The makeup for the Gillman was created by Universal's Bud Westmore (also did makeup in SOYLENT GREEN, 1973; ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN, 1948; ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET THE KILLER, BORIS KARLOFF, 1949; MAN OF A THOUSAND FACES, 1957; MONOLITH MONSTERS, THE, 1957; MOLE PEOPLE, THE, 1956; REVENGE OF THE CREATURE, 1955; TARANTULA, 1955; ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE, 1954; and IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE, 1953) and Jack Kevan. The Westmore family's influence upon film and television continues today. It takes a lot to create a movie.

The above-water scenes were done by Ben Chapman, while the underwater scenes were done by Ricou Browning, an Olympic swimmer. Browning would use an air hose to breathe and then dump the air hose to do the scene. More air was brought at the conclusion of the scene. Browning later on made a career as an underwater cinematographer and choreographer of underwater action sequences and was the creator of Flipper. His climactic underwater battle in the James Bond epic Thunderball was a recent movie.

The Creature from the Black Lagoon was influenced by H. P. Lovecraft, who wrote tales of strange creatures who never evolved from amphibians. Lovecraft wrote of a mythical town called Innsmouth (The Shadow over Innsmouth, Everett, PA: Visionary Publishing Co., 1936) , where greenish, watery-eyed creatures raised their collars to hide the gills that protruded from their necks.

According to Universal Studios, the "Creature is either the last remnant of a 15 million year old species, or has itself survived since the Devonian age. Substantially taller than the average human male, although never accurately measured. Approximately 300 pounds. The African lungfish, which lives underwater during mating season, but breathes surface air when its lake habitat dries up."

    Gillman Stats

  • Able to breathe surface air for only a few minutes before returning to a watery habitat
  • Is around 6 feet 5 inches in height on land and 5 feet 8 inches in the water! (due to actors of different height playing the creature)
  • Blood composition is approximately 35% white corpuscles, or "halfway between marine life and mammal." It is also important to note that these white corpuscles have no nucleus.
  • The Gillman falls in love with Kay (Julia Adams), the lone female in the party.
  • Outer layer of marine scales cover a layer of mammalian epidermis
  • Living primarily in the dark depths of the sea, the GillMan reacts adversely to bright light
  • Although it has been known to exhibit violent tendencies, such actions can be classified as defensive. Typically, it usually hunts fish for its food.
  • The film was originally shot in 3-D

    Movie Stats

  • Universal - International © 1954
  • Starring: Richard Carlson, Julia Adams, Richard Denning, Antonio Moreno, Nestor Paiva, Whit Bissell
  • Screenplay by Harry Essex and Arthur Ross
  • Produced by William Alland
  • Directed by Jack Arnold
  • Available on Universal Studios Home Video | BW | 79 min. | Not Rated

    Ben Chapman's Stats

  • Ben was born on October 29, 1928 in Oakland, California.
  • His parents were from Tahiti and had Ben while visiting the U.S. mainland.
  • His parents returned to Tahiti and raised Ben there until 1940 at the age of 15.
  • After attending school in San Fransisco, he began working as a Tahitian dancer in nightclubs.
  • His first movie was MGM's Pagan Love Song in 1950. He had additional small roles until he was drafted in the Korean war.
  • Upon return to the U.S., he became a stock player for Universal Studios.
  • His height at 6' 5" made him an ideal candidate for the Gillman. He had fortunate timing by visiting the casting office and meeting with Jonny Rennig, who was looking for someone to cast for the role.
  • He made $300 a week while working in the movie.
  • Ben now lives in Honolulu, Hawaii.


CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON

Ricou as the GillmanPrompted by archaeologist Dr. Carl Maia's (Moreno) discovery of a strange, half-man, half-amphibian skeletal hand from the Devonian period, a team of scientists descend upon the Amazon. Led by scientist David Reed (Carlson), fellow scientist and girlfriend Kay (Adams), and their jealous benefactor Dr. Mark Williams (Denning), they soon discover that the fossil they seek is alive and well and hopping mad from their intrusion in his territory.

Originally shot in 3-D, Creature needs no gimmick to be a great monster movie. Featuring a still-used formula, the film allows our unsuspecting players to drift into the Creature's lair to be picked off one-by-one until the monster's weakness is found. Creature also uses the classic "love triangle" subplot, with hero Carlson and mercenary Denning vying for the affections of Julia Adams. However, Universal's specialty, the sympathetic monster, creates a fourth side to the triangle, turning the old cliche on its head. The last of an ancient race of gill men, the Creature certainly has mating on his mind, and his aquatic ballet with an unsuspecting Adams makes us feel for him as we would other classic heartsick grotesques like Quasimodo or Cyrano. Creature's portrayal of romance is surprisingly adult -- Carlson and Adams never descend into the cutesy couples' dialogue typical of genre films of the time. Additionally, although Denning's jealous Dr. Williams tries to wedge his way between the lovers, it is clear by today's standards that he is overcompensating for some shortcoming -- just watch him handle that speargun! The underwater photography, groundbreaking for its era and budget, still rival anything seen today. All in all, this film is a Monster Masterpiece, and was so successful it spawned two sequels, Revenge of the Creature and The Creature Walks Among Us.

 



© 2012 by the Ben Chapman Family

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