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The Revenge of the Creature (1955)
The Creature from the Black Lagoon is back! This time he\'s captured by scientists and transported to an aquarium in south Florida. Naturally, he\'s attracted to the lovely female scientist and manages to escape and kidnap her, heading to Jacksonville, presumably to catch a Jaguars game.
John Agar ... Prof. Clete Ferguson
Lori Nelson ... Helen Dobson
John Bromfield ... Joe Hayes
Nestor Paiva ... Lucas
Grandon Rhodes ... Jackson Foster
Dave Willock ... Lou Gibson
Robert Williams ... George Johnson (as Robert B. Williams)
Charles Cane ... Police Captain (as Charles R. Cane)
In all fairness this movie should be judged for what it is .... a 1950\'s B Monster movie flick. I give it high marks in this area. It may not have the shock and scare value as it predecessor \"The Creature of the Black Lagoon\" but I find it to be a good representative of it\'s genre. A lot of this film was shot at Marineland in Florida at a time before there ever was a Sea World. As a kid I was amazed at some of the scenes in the film such as \"The Creature\" over turning a car as he was escaping the Aqua Park, and jumping out of a huge aquatic tank to attack the audience. Recently I talked with Ricou Browning (who played \"The Creature\") and determined that Universal Studios used wires to turn over the car that was supposedly thrown by the Creature. Wires were once again used to pull the Creature out of the large tank at Marineland as the Creature attacked actor, John Bromfeld. Seconds later he was attacking the Marineland crowd. As a young theater goer I found this fascinating. This film has been taking a lot of heat from some of your web site critics. I think it is well worth watching to see how the old Hollywood crowd use to scare us at the Drive-In. If nothing else it serves as a pleasant stroll down \"memory lane\".
No doubt designed to make a fast buck in the 50s, you still get the Gill Man, one of the coolest of all monster designs ever, and a woman to throw cars for and swim thousands of miles for in beautiful Lori Nelson.
Even in a production without much life, the Gill Man still seems
powerful and mysterious, and his biological drive to mate with Ms. Nelson is interesting considering the long lineage of sympathetic monsters in love with knock-out blondes and brunettes. Sadly, the idea of the monster, the tragic beast longing for what is impossible to him (Wolf Man, King Kong, the Mummy) is a distant memory in filmdom. There was the recent DARK MAN, and Nicholson\'s WOLF, but these are obvious throw-backs to a time when monsters were more than scurrying guerrillas attacking from the shadows or machine-like mass murderers who cannot be killed. I won\'t count fluffy-haired vampires, whose allure as suave parasites is not \"monstrous\". A monster, in classic terms, in love with a beautiful woman, is denied her by the facts of their existence. Either because of grotesqueness or species-differences,
the monster endures pain, capture, and often death in his attempt to carry a Lori Nelson in his arms through a moonlit swamp.
In REVENGE the Gill Man is probed, prodded, and stared at by tourists, definitely the worst fate, though this allows the Creature to establish a magnetic attraction to Lori Nelson. You get a great escape, more Lori Nelson in bathing suits, a big bohunk who has an unhealthy fetish with wrestling the Gill Man hand-to-hand, and lots more Lori Nelson in a bathing suit. What you don\'t do is watch this movie for any reason but to see the Gill Man thrash in the water and smack
bohunks...and if you\'re a fan of the Creature and classic monsters, you\'ll understand the tragic consequences when you\'re a walking fish-man who\'s half-man enough to love a human woman, and whose tears probably would never show, in the depths of the deepest lagoons.
Director Jack Arnold and company took great care in this one to make the 3-D effects look more natural. While there are no chairs or spears thrown at the camera, there are still plenty of thrilling moments when the creature advances into view and even a couple of false frights, as when a threatening shadow turns out to be no more dangerous than Lori Nelson\'s hand.
Admittedly the screenplay has its weak links. Depending largely on unlikely co-incidences, the storyline pays scant regard to consistency or logic, while the dialogue is not only trite and banal but seems to go out of its way to provide a persistent assault on the viewer\'s intelligence by explaining what we can actually see for ourselves. No-one can walk to the bathroom in this film without someone providing a running commentary. Worse, the characters prove little more than pasteboard figures which indifferent actors like Agar and Nelson struggle to bring to life. Miss Nelson is further handicapped by the large amount of make-up she was forced to wear for the 3-D cameras. True, the effect seemed not only attractive but perfectly natural when the original film was projected through a 3-D filter and then viewed through polaroid glasses. She still looks great when framed through a Marineland window, but in bright sunlight the effect now looks ridiculous.
Of course, the Creature himself seems far less menacing (and far more obviously a stuntman in an ill-fitting rubber suit) when exposed to the glare of flat, over-bright 2-D scrutiny.
Nonetheless, the skill of Jack Arnold\'s direction, particularly in his efforts to disguise obvious 3-D tricks and use depth to produce shock in a seemingly more realistic way, gives the movie sufficient interest and vigor to overcome all script and histrionic short-comings.
Production values benefit from location filming and it\'s good to see Scotty Welbourne handling all the photographic chores on this one, both underwater and main unit. Of course, in 2-D the picture looks over-lit as it was lensed with 3-D\'s 20% light reduction firmly in mind.
* Look for a young, uncredited Clint Eastwood in his first screen appearance as the goofy white coated lab assistant who does the silly mouse gag in the lab scene with the monkey.
* Reported to be the highest-grossing film of the \"Creature\" trilogy.
* Director Jack Arnold liked to use the sides of the movie screen as the arches in a proscenium-style theater with unexpected intrusions coming in from the sidelines. This technique can be seen here when \'John Agar (I)\' goes out into the darkened area around the motel to look for Lori Nelson\'s missing dog. A hand suddenly reaches out from the right side of the screen to touch him, giving him (and the audience) a start, but it\'s not the dreaded Gill Man. It\'s simply Lori Nelson.
* Stuntman Tom Hennesy almost drowned during filming. Playing the creature, he grabs Helen Dobson (actually stuntwoman Ginger Stanley) on a pier and jumps with her into the water. The scene was shot at night, and when Hennesy and Stanley hit the water, they discovered it was full of jellyfish; in addition, a freak current started to pull them both down. Hennesy let go of Stanley, who swam to the surface, because his Gill-Man costume had become waterlogged and was too heavy for him to fight the current that was pulling them down. He was rescued by two local boys who happened to be watching the filming from a nearby boat, and quickly raced over and pulled him in.
* For this film, Ricou Browning wore a creature head intended for John Wayan, who had originally been hired to play the creature in this sequel. The creature suit had to be cut down to fit Browning.