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Creature From the Black Lagoon [DVD] [1954]

  • SKU: 3984978
  • Release Date: 07/24/2007
  • Rating: G
Creature From the Black Lagoon was the last of Universal Pictures' franchise monsters. Drawn out of a treatment called "The Sea Monster," it started life as a rip-off of King Kong and evolved into a well-constructed story in its own right, yielding two sequels and attracting generations of fans. The movie had the distinction, along with its sequel Revenge of the Creature, of being shot in 3-D. Alas, Universal hasn't given us Creature From the Black Lagoon in 3-D, so it isn't quite as startling a viewing experience as it was intended, despite the high quality of the transfer. In fairness, this is the best 2-D transfer of the movie ever seen, and since one of the reasons for the movie holding its reputation for decades is that it was a great 2-D movie as well as a superb 3-D movie, it does work in this presentation. One would have to see it in a theater to appreciate the 3-D scenes of the creature floating underwater, seemingly in mid-air. The DVD's big bonus feature is Tom Weaver's narration on one alternate audio track. Weaver takes viewers through the movie almost shot-by-shot, even frame-by-frame in some spots, and seems to know the date and location of every shot (as many as a half-dozen in a single scene in some of the exterior sequences). He knows an astonishing amount about the behind-the-scenes personnel involved in the movie, and the backstory on just about every performer, as well as the involvement of everyone who came to work on it. His narration is extraordinary -- he rattles through personnel links between Creature, The Wizard of Oz, and The Monster of Piedras Blancas, and others between Creature and the 1940 Thief of Baghdad. He's able to tell about the ins and outs of playing the creature for the two actors who did that job (Ricou Browning underwater, Ben Chapman on land). In contrast to other commentators, who might focus on director Jack Arnold, Weaver gives credit to producer William Alland for much of the shape and content of the movie. Weaver talks very fast and over virtually every shot, a daunting task for him and for the listener; it takes about 25 minutes to get accustomed to his pacing, but he finally slows down ever so gradually, giving himself and the listener some necessary breathing room. One gets a sense that this narration was done live and on the fly, because he gets wrong Whit Bissell's major television credit of the 1960s -- The Time Tunnel -- referring instead to Land of the Giants; he also neglects to mention screenwriter Harry Essex's final exploitation of Creature's script (with which he actually had very little to do), in the guise of the cheesy 1971 rip-off Octaman (distinguished only by Rick Baker's monster design). The other major bonus feature, in addition to a brace of trailers and production stills, is a dazzling 40-minute documentary that covers a lot of the same territory embraced by the narration, but in a more leisurely and carefully delineated fashion. The surviving cast members turn up, including Ricou Browning, Ben Chapman, the lovely Julia Adams and, in the biggest surprise here, even Lori Nelson from the first sequel. Various historians go into recollections and some analysis, of which the latter is surprisingly profound and sophisticated. Anyone who thinks this is just a monster movie will realize quickly that this movie had a lot more to say about a lot of very serious subjects; serious analysis, however, is juxtaposed with memories such as Ricou Browning getting a chunk of the heel of his costume's foot getting bitten off by a turtle at Marineland during the shooting of Revenge of the Creature. The documentary is also something of a tribute to director Jack Arnold, and makes up for the slights against him in the narration. If this had been a laserdisc release, it would have been considered a bargain at 80 dollars. The 29.95 list price on the DVD makes it practically a gift, and it's recommended to anyone who has even a casual interest in this movie, in {\horror} films in general, or in 1950s popular culture.
$9.99

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    Overview

    Ratings & Reviews


    Overall Customer Rating:
    99% of customers would recommend this product to a friend (123 out of 125)

    Special Features


    • "Back to the Black Lagoon"
    • Feature commentary with film historian Tom Weaver
    • Production photographs
    • Theatrical trailers
    • Cast and filmmakers
    • Production notes

    Synopsis


    Creature from the Black Lagoon
    Universal Pictures introduced audiences to yet another classic movie monster with this superbly crafted film, originally presented in 3-D. The story involves the members of a fossil-hunting expedition down a dark tributary of the mist-shrouded Amazon, where they enter the domain of a prehistoric, amphibious "Gill Man" -- possibly the last of a species of fanged, clawed humanoids who may have evolved entirely underwater. Tranquilized, captured, and brought aboard, the creature still manages to revive and escape -- slaughtering several members of the team -- and abducts their sole female member (Julie Adams), spiriting her off to his mist-shrouded lair. This sparks the surviving crewmen to action -- particularly those who fancy carrying the girl off themselves. Director Jack Arnold makes excellent use of the tropical location, employing heavy mists and eerie jungle noises to create an atmosphere of nearly constant menace. The film's most effective element is certainly the monster itself, with his pulsating gills and fearsome webbed talons. The creature was played on land by stuntman Ben Chapman and underwater by champion swimmer Ricou Browning -- who was forced to hold his breath during long takes because the suit did not allow room for scuba gear. The end result was certainly worth the effort, proven in the famous scene where the Gill Man swims effortlessly beneath his female quarry in an eerie ballet -- a scene echoed much later by Steven Spielberg in the opening of Jaws. ~ Cavett Binion, Rovi

    Cast & Crew


    • Richard Carlson
      Richard Carlson - David Reed
    • Julie Adams
      Julie Adams - Kay Lawrence
    • Richard Denning
      Richard Denning - Mark Williams
    • Antonio Moreno
      Antonio Moreno - Carl Mala
    • Nestor Paiva
      Nestor Paiva - Lucas



    Customer rating

    Rating 4.9 out of 5 stars with 125 reviews

    98%
    would recommend to a friend
    • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

      Classic for the Ages

      Posted
      LeSteve

      With this film, Universal Pictures unleashed its last horror creation onto the world: The Creature from the Black Lagoon. As well as earning its way into cinema history, this movie quickly earns its way into any viewer's heart. I absolutely loved this film! Everything about it is instant movie gold! Who can ever forget the terrifying Gill-man, the courageous David Reed, or the magnificently beautiful Kay Lawrence? There are so many memorable scenes; the one with Gill-man swimming only an arm's length away from the unaware Kay sends shivers down my back every time I see it, and the first appearance of Gill-man golden. This movie is such a classic, and the best thing is that it's just a good, old-fashioned horror film. It's funny, campy in that 1950s kind of way, and genuinely frightening a lot of the time. I can honestly say a perfect night is curling up on a couch, cracking open a bag of popcorn and watching this movie. And you can bring the whole family onto the couch with you, since people of all ages can watch and enjoy this masterpiece. So if you've never seen Creature, go and see it now, because you're denying yourself a real treasure!

      I would recommend this to a friend

    • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

      classic monster

      Posted
      prlwctd

      The last of Universal's classic monsters &, along with House of Wax, the most beloved of the 3-D films from the 1950's. A research team in the amazon discovers an unusual fossil. The team then goes missing after reporting this amazing find. A second team arrives and soon discovers what the fossil may have once looked like when they encounter the title creature-a monstrous looking man-fish (or Gill-Man, as audiences now refer to him) who can survive both on land and water, who shows his displeasure at intruders to his home. Although the buildup to the creature's appearance may be slow, the tension and underwater photography makes up for it. The creature is a wonderful design (by Bud Westmore) which certainly paved the way for Alien & Predator. The musical score by Hans Salter is also first-rate.

      I would recommend this to a friend

    • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

      A 3D fun time.

      Posted
      tvine2000
      • Verified PurchaserVerified Purchase
      • My Best Buy® MemberMember

      As a kid, I was a big classic monsters fan. I still enjoy watching these films from this age gone by. The Creature From The Black Lagoon is ok of a film . Nothing equal to Frankenstein ,but a popcorn flick none the less. It was ,however for the time kind of a blockbuster of its day. You have a choice of 2D or 3D. 3D was how this film was meant to watched. Filmed in real 3D.The 3D was not done in post-production ,like done today. The Creatures claw sticks right of the screen in many times during the film. Lots of depth throughout the film,just well done. As a kid, it was a scary film, but today it's just enjoyable .Highly recommend .

      I would recommend this to a friend

    • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

      A 50s monster movie classic shines on Blu-ray

      Posted
      Chris
      • Verified PurchaserVerified Purchase
      • My Best Buy® Elite MemberElite Member

      This is a decent flick with a routine story elevated by a fantastic and creepy monster suit, atmospheric and beautiful underwater photography, and the delectable Julie Adams. There's a heartfelt sympathy for the creature as his home is invaded and his love for the human girl is not reciprocated. The movie can be slow and dry at times, it's not the best of the Universal Monsters canon, but it has elements of a classic in its genre and is worth the price for a fan. The film looks superb and healthy for its age, sounds good, and the 3D is great; solid extras add value to the set.

      I would recommend this to a friend

    • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

      Great Creature Classic!

      Posted
      FlashGordonEarth
      • Verified PurchaserVerified Purchase
      • My Best Buy® MemberMember

      This is a great restored version of the classic sci-fi horror movie that thrilled audiences in 1954 and lead to the production of many imitators. Starting Richard Carlson, Julie Adams, and Richard Denning, it set the tone for so many followers. It was one of the first films to be released in 3D as Hollywood attempted to compete with television. It was really fun to see the money the way it was originally intended to been seen. No hyper gore like in many movies today, just a decent story and acting. The extra features were quite entertaining as well.

      I would recommend this to a friend

    • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

      A Great Movie that's Incredible in 3D

      Posted
      Watcher
      • Verified PurchaserVerified Purchase
      • My Best Buy® MemberMember

      Creature from the Black Lagoon is my favorite classic monster movie, period. The wolfman is a very close second, but there's so much to love in this movie. Essentially it's the Beauty and the Beast story, but underwater. For the time it was revolutionary for its underwater shots, but today with it converted to modern 3D it looks phenomenon. The 3D is incredible and should be in every fan's 3D library.

      I would recommend this to a friend

    • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

      Beautiful 3D

      Posted
      GrimmLife
      • Verified PurchaserVerified Purchase
      • My Best Buy® MemberMember

      My wife and I have been buying most of our 3D Blu-rays from Bestbuy....mainly because they have them in stock and we can leave with the movie in hand instead of buying online. I LOVE the Creature from the Black Lagoon and the 3D is phenomenal. Beautiful depth. If you are thinking about buying it...DO IT. A must have. Just wish the other Universal Monster steelbooks were 3D as well. Thanks.

      I would recommend this to a friend

    • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

      Creature feature that brings back an era

      Posted
      notech
      • Verified PurchaserVerified Purchase
      • My Best Buy® MemberMember

      Creature from the black lagoon is a classic Sifi film, they did it justice and brought back an era by releasing it again, great picture and sound. This is one of the creepy drive in movies that reminds of the era that mixed good actors, directors, cameramen and stories that kept life interesting and our minds off the troubles of the time, good movie making and entertaining.

      I would recommend this to a friend



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