“From Marquette, Canada today comes word of a second ship destroyed by an enormous beast according to her Captain, George LeMay. He really ought to stop smoking that stuff and try Virginia Golds.” Well, as you might have guessed, it wasn’t the stuff he’d been smoking. Join this episode’s Grue Crew – Chad Hunt, Whitney Collazo, Joseph Perry, and Jeff Mohr – as they leapfrog from the arctic to New York City to join the battle to stop The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953)!
Decades of Horror: The Classic Era
Episode 69 – The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953)
A ferocious dinosaur awakened by an Arctic atomic test terrorizes the North Atlantic and, ultimately, New York City.IMDb
- Director: Eugène Lourié
- Writers: Lou Morheim (screenplay), Fred Freiberger (screenplay), Ray Bradbury (story “The Fog Horn”)
- Visual Effects: Ray Harryhausen (technical effects created by)
- Cinematography: John L. Russell (as Jack Russell)
- Paul Hubschmid as Prof. Tom Nesbitt (as Paul Christian)
- Paula Raymond as Lee Hunter
- Cecil Kellaway as Dr. Thurgood Elson
- Kenneth Tobey as Colonel Jack Evans
- Donald Woods as Captain Phil Jackson
- Ross Elliott as George Ritchie
- Steve Brodie as Sgt. Loomis
- Lee Van Cleef as Corporal Jason Stone
- Frank Ferguson as Dr. Morton
- King Donovan as Dr. Ingersoll
- James Best as Charlie, radar operator
- Alvin Greenman as First Radar Man
- Robert Easton as Deckhand (uncredited)
- Franklyn Farnum as Ballet-Goer (uncredited)
- Bess Flowers as Ballet-Goer (uncredited)
- Don Gordon as Soldier (uncredited)
- William Woodson as Opening Narrator/Radio Announcer (voice) (uncredited)
- Paul Picerni as Trailer Commentator (uncredited)
- Vera Miles as Trailer Commentator (uncredited)
- Merv Griffin as Trailer Commentator / Radio announcer in film (uncredited)
The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms is a landmark film for many reasons. Inspired by the success of a re-release of King Kong (1933) in 1952, it’s success, in turn, inspired Toho to move forward with the production of Godzilla (1954). It also gave Ray Harryhausen his first shot as head of special effects on a feature film and provided one of Ray Bradbury’s first paychecks for a feature film. The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms was also the first film featuring a giant creature that exists as the result of an atomic explosion. Put Eugène Lourié in the director’s chair, John L. Russell behind the camera, and enlist a supporting cast of topnotch character actors and you have a recipe for success.
All members of your Classic Era Grue-Crew love this film and appreciate its place in film history. They gush over Harryhausen’s stop-motion animation skills and dedication, the direction, cinematography, script, and cast. If you haven’t seen this film for a while, it might be time to revisit The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms. It’s a gem of a film.
Gruesome Magazine’s Decades of Horror: The Classic Era is part of the Decades of Horror 3-week rotation with the 1970s and 1980s. In three weeks, the next episode in their very flexible schedule will be Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy (1953).
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