Monster from Beneath the Sea
It Came from Beneath the Sea marked the first occasion that producer Charles H. Schneer and visual effects wizard Ray Harryhausen collaborated. The two filmmakers would establish a partnership that would survive throughout the 1950’s, 1960’s, and 1970’s finally coming to rest with Clash of the Titans (1981). This alone provides the movie with historical importance, even if the content was highly derivative and presented in a somewhat staid and lifeless fashion. Harryhausen’s art was still very much in its infancy at this point, the animated effects he provided for The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953) marked him out as a rare and special talent, and here he gets an opportunity too expand his scope with the creation of a giant Octopus. The earlier film is an important reference point because Beneath the Sea is virtually a carbon copy, and adds very little to what was presented in 20,000 Fathoms. It also lacks the charm and dynamism of the earlier picture and a comparison between the two sees Beneath the Sea come off significantly worse. It is possible the film was also influenced by the success of Gojira (1954), itself hugely indebted to 20,000 Fathoms, but important for continuing to prove their was an eager market for giant radioactive creatures from the ocean depths.
© Shaun Anderson 2011