The Creature From the Black Lagoon-1954
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Review by Chuck Arrington | posted November 7, 2000
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THE CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON

Synopsis:

The 1950's will forever be known as the era of the "atomic monster"! In 1954 Universal Studios added their newest monster to their household of horror! In the deepest parts of the Amazon, a man-fish, animal malvado if you will, was rumored to exist Unlike anything seen or heard before, this scientific treasure was too good a thing to pass up. So with the help of a local guide and several far-too-intelligent-for-their-own-good scientists, this quest for the "Creature" begins. It's not long before they get a bite and have on their hands far more than they bargained for. While more fish than man, the Creature from the Black Lagoon is far more powerful than any man either in or out of the water. After several failed attempts to capture the monster, the scientists resort to doping the water with a fish tranquilizer that finally, does the trick. The plan is to take the monster back to civilization where testing can proceed that will succinctly identify the origins of the Creature while answering all manner of question about man's relation to this possible-"distant cousin". If everything went right, there'd be no need for horror Sci-Fi flicks! Needless to say, the Creature breaks free from his watery prison, captures the beautiful fish-scientist and heads back home to the Lagoon. But not before wreaking all sorts of havoc on his way! It may not be the scariest entry in the Universal Monster's Collection, but, the Creature from The Black Lagoon has a charm all it's own and quite a few stingers up it's gills as well! (Couldn't resist!)

Audio/Video:

The audio for the Creature from the black Lagoon is presented in it's original mono soundtrack. While it can at time be quite tinny, it still conveys the feel of a classic monster movie from the 50's! There is no surround activity and no sub use, so all of the activity will come from the fronts. Not bad, not great but certainly not bad. As with all of the Universal Monster's Classics, a running commentary is provided by Film historian Tom Weaver. And like most of the commentary tracks in this series, it echoes most of the same information that's found in the supplemental materials also found on the disc. AS a rule, I don't care for these commentary tracks because, they don't really shed any additional information on the film and for my part, act primarily as an annoyance. The video portion is incredibly well preserved for a film of it's age. The B&W presentation is really beautiful. The contrasts are so stark they sparkle. On successive viewings I did pick up on very minor flecks but other than that, I really didn't notice any transfer errors.

Extras: An hour-long documentary starts off the bonus materials. Not only extremely informative on all things "Gill-Man", it comes complete with behind the scenes photos, interviews with the actors who portrayed the monster and Julie Carson, the Ichthyologist turned pin-up girl for the movie. I'm all for exploring the psuedo-psycho intricacies that films exude but I gotta say one thing here. The notion that the creature swimming under Julie Carson was a simulation of sex for the 50's is so far out of the ballpark I gotta yell foul! I don't think that anyone is supposed to think so deeply about this film that this kind of conclusion is arrived at. Sometimes, it really is just a movie! Anyway, production photos of the crew in and out of make-up, publicity materials from all over the world, as well as three trailers for the feature are included. Regarding the trailers, they all play together. One leads into the other and you can't choose which one to watch. Essentially they are the same trailer with most of the same sequences and dialogue. The quality of the trailers runs from fair to poor. Lastly, the obligatory cast and filmmakers bios and production notes round out the film's extras.

Overall:

The Creature From The Black Lagoon is one of the most famous monsters of the 1950's. The two sequels proved it's enormous staying power. I really like the movie and feel this is the best treatment, this movie will ever see. The transfer is beautiful, the supplemental materials are all first rate and the movie in and of itself is a classic. This is "safe" viewing for every member of the household. It's a lot of fun, sometimes corny but absolutely entertaining. Definitely a keeper! Collector's Edition



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