William Alland later made a film script from this story, which – directed by Jack Arnold - brought you one of film history's most beloved monsters - and also in 3D:
CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON (1954)
In a nutshell:
Dr. Carl Maia (Antonio Moreno) found a skeletal hand with webs in a lagoon at the Amazonas – he travels to the USA to get a team of scientists for an excursion.
When they arrive in the lagoon the waiting research team of Dr. Maia has been killed. Very soon the "still alive team" finds out that the missing link between humans and fish really exists: a gill-man (Ricou Browning for underwater parts / Ben Chapman ashore), who starts to take interest in Kay Lawrence (Julia Adams), the only women of the team. When the team’s boss Dr. Mark Williams (Richard Denning) decides – against the will of ichthyologist Dr. David Read (Richard Carlson), who is engaged to Kay - to bring back that creature to the marine institute (not necessarily alive..) instead of just some pictures of it – the situation really starts to become tense for the team..
- The marks of the gill-man on Richard Carlson's body after the fight! - Isn't that just great? I love that they were that accurate in this aspect!
- You can spot some sharks in the marine biology institute!! Yay for that! (I LOVE SHARKS!!! – marvellous creatures..)
- The original title for the film was “BLACK LAGOON” - but apparently Universal Studio bosses didn't find it appealing enough.
- Though the plan of William Alland was not to show the gill-man for more than the first half of the film because of the higher suspense effect - the studio decided to show it rather early in the film - the costume was apparently to expensive to be not shown..
- It is said that Ingmar Bergman watched this film every year at his birthday..
- When Jenny Clark of Cambridge University discovered a new fossile - she named it Eucritta melanolimnetes - which is greek and means: creature of the black lagoon.. ...
- The stuntman who did the “gill-man is on fire” bit was Rock Hudson’s stuntman..
- Ricou Browning also worked on TV-show FLIPPER and for the underwater shots of THUNDERBALL (1965) and NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN (1983).
- There was a $ 500,000 insurance for Julia Adams's legs – though they weren’t shown that often in her films – which would be mostly western.. - good for those of you who like to look at women's legs: In this film she is showing them quite a lot..
- The gill-man also appeared in an episode of TV show THE MUNSTERS (1964) - as Uncle Gilbert (I don't know about you - but I think this is funny.. It's the perfect name!)
- The actors who personated the creature could hardly see while wearing the costume. One time Ben Chapman had to carry Julia Adams into to creature’s cave – he misjudged the distance to the wall – and knocked Miss Adams almost unconscious.. ~ ouch! ~
Spoil the fun - the tricks they used:
- For the scenes in which the scientists use some chemical product to slightly poison the gill-man and these products dissolve underwater they actually used cream.
- So that the audience could tell which character they see in the underwater scenes the studio decided that Richard Carlson’s character carries 2 tanks while Richard Denning’s character carries 1 tank.
- The wet footprints of the creature doesn’t match the way it walks – to remind Ben Chapman that he had to shovel his feet there were added some weight into the creature-suit, so that he would have troubles to lift his feet..
- There are two sequels:
REVENGE OF THE CREATURE (1955)
THE CREATURE WALKS AMONG US (1956)
- I am very excited because for 2012 there is a remake announced! - Though I am pretty sure it'll have a tough time beating this gem..
Ricou Browning once told a nice little anecdote:
One time while shooting underwater he noticed that he had to use the washroom – so he gave signals that he had to make a pause and decided instead of been carried by boat there that he would rather swim underwater to the shore.
When he arrived at the shore and climbed up the ladder there – the first thing he spotted were a child and the child’s mother just in front of him. The child started to scream. Ricou said “Boo!” – the child started to scream even more and ran away – followed by his mother. Ricou ran after them shouting: “It’s okay!!” – Surprisingly this didn’t help at all..
After that Ricou Browning didn’t scare people that often anymore.. ;”)
Let's have a look:
I am a bit too imaginary – so leaving things to my imagination and not showing them just does the trick for me. Showing how bodies are ripped, throats cut etc. just makes me think about the technique and make up and stuff like that – the real horror for me is just leaving me on my own – my brain can do horrible things to me.. That’s why even mainly considered poor films are that much enjoyable for me.. ;”) I just add things..
(When my sister and I watched this film for the first time she made fun of me because I actually was a bit appalled by scenes in which Julia Adams didn't know how near the gill-man was.. and the "Dr. Maia's team is going to be killed"- scene really appealed to me.. my sister was like: "Oh, please: there isn't even bowel - you're a sissy!")
I just adore the underwater scenes. (yes - I love bubbles..)
I love that the Julie Adams’ character Kay is not “just” the wife of someone of the crew but a scientist herself. Yeah, she is not the boss – but she isn’t a lovely little piece of decoration either. That’s great. She is there on this boat because she has a “task” – not just because a wife will go wherever her husband goes.. Lovely image – but I really prefer the “woman with a mission image”.
And of course I have great sympathy for that poor creature!! That lovely little thing.. so alone – and then some idiotic guys start to poke around in its home and attack it.. Just like Marilyn Monroe’s character in THE SEVEN YEAR ITCH said: “It just wanted to be loved.”