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A Few Words About A few words about...™ The Giant Behemoth - in Blu-ray

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, Jan 24, 2019.

  1. Message #1 of 30 Jan 24, 2019
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 28, 2019
    Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    I'm certain that the Allied Artists' production, The Giant Behemoth has a slew of fans, and rightfully so, as it harkens back to the best of stop motion animation.

    But to me, the story isn't about the film, but rather, the filmmaker.

    I met Gene Lourie in 1981, as he lived on the same street in Hollywood as a few of my friends - Gardner.

    When we met, we discussed his work with Abel Gance and Jean Renoir. I was enthralled to be able to spend time with he and his wife.

    It was only a few weeks later, when I set up a dinner at my hotel, that I realized the full width and breath of his career.

    I had been thinking of him as an art and set director:

    The Lower Depths - Renoir
    Grande Illusion - Renoir
    La Bete Humaine - Renoir
    Sahara - Korda
    The Southerner - Renoir
    Diary of a Chambermaid - Renoir
    The River - Renoir
    Limelight - Chaplin

    But somehow, I had totally overlooked (and felt foolish having done so), his directorial efforts, some of which
    I had marveled at as a kid.

    The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms
    The Giant Behemoth
    Gorgo

    Of course, he worked as an art director into the 1980s, but my interest was in his earlier career.

    One thing that I recall, was him explaining how during the La Marseilles sequence in Napoleon, that Abel had singers strategically placed throughout the audience to break into song at the correct moment.

    Which is a long-winded way of bringing us back to one of the latest Warner Archive releases, the afore mentioned The Giant Behemoth.

    A great 80 minute ride into another tale of a beast brought about by our neglect of global warming...

    or was it nuclear testing?

    A beautiful Blu-ray, that will be heralded by fans.

    For those seeking the UK version. I'd not bother. It's shorter.


    Image - 4.5

    Audio - 5

    Pass / Fail - Pass

    Upgrade from DVD - absolutely!

    Recommended

    RAH

     
  2. Johnny Angell

    Johnny Angell Played With Dinosaurs Member

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    I regretfully must disagree with Robert about this movie. I think the stop motion is poor, the acting sucks, it seems to move along jerkily, plot-wise.

    I think if this had been a childhood favorite, I’d be more generous, but I hated it as a kid. My dvd will suffice.
     
  3. Richard Kaufman

    Richard Kaufman Stunt Coordinator

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    Wonderful film and thanks, Robert, for your fine assessment and recommendation.
     
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  4. Frank Bidart

    Frank Bidart Auditioning
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    I haven't seen "The Giant Behemoth" (after reading Robert Harris's words I've just ordered it), but let me second Harris's high opinion of "The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms." It's my favorite of the black-and-white Harryhausen films I've seen, with a marvelous, indelible performance by Cecil Kellaway (no doubt deepened by Eugene Lourie) that adds an important, crucial element of pathos to the destruction caused by the beast. Lourie paces and shapes the film brilliantly.
     
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  5. lark144

    lark144 Supporting Actor

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    I loved THE GIANT BEHEMOTH when I was a child, and saw it multiple times. I particularly remember, as a child, loving the monster. So I bought this when it came out on DVD, and something very strange happened. While I thought the monster was still very impressive looking as individual images, for me (& I think many others on this Forum) the stop-motion animation was pretty awful--jerky and sloppy looking, which completely pulled me out of the film.

    However, whenever the monster wasn't present, I found myself watching the film in spite of myself, and being drawn in by the images and performances. Visually, the film has an extraordinary sense of place and also of mood, which put me in mind, not so much of other movies, but of Simenon's early detective novels,where nature, in terms of rain and fog, seems to seep into the characters themselves, and determine what happens. That same sense of nature, of fog and rain and the sound of waves determining a mood is very present in THE GIANT BEHEMOTH, and also in the very controlled performances, that are of a piece with the photography and the film's emotional underpinnings.

    In fact, THE GIANT BEHEMOTH could be appreciated--well, let's say I appreciate it, in spite of the less than perfect stop-motion animation--an above average European art film, with an amazing sense of place and also of character and how the two collide.

    And of course, I'm not criticizing anyone for not liking this film. I didn't like it either when I first saw it as an adult on DVD; except so many of the film's images stayed with me, that I went back and watched it again, and little by little, found myself admiring a great deal of it.

    btw, thank you Mr. Harris for your few words on Eugene Lourie, which are some of the most most articulate, and heartfelt, that I have read about him.
     
  6. Stephen PI

    Stephen PI Supporting Actor

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    British artwork, title and review from December 1959 issue of ABC Film Review:

    Behemoth the Sea Monster 004.
     
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  7. Stephen PI

    Stephen PI Supporting Actor

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    Behemoth the Sea Monster 001.
     
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  8. Stephen PI

    Stephen PI Supporting Actor

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    Behemoth the Sea Monster 002.
     
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  9. Message #9 of 30 Jan 25, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2019
    Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    LIke many that grew up in the 1960's, I watched all three films numerous times on TV. I enjoyed them all, but for some reason I enjoyed Gorgo the most because of the great reveal in that film. My BD arrived on Tuesday so I have to watch it in the near future. Matter of fact, I have all three movies on Blu-ray, granted the two that came from Warner looked much better than Gorgo from VCI. Anyhow, I might try a triple feature one day during one of these cold wintry days.
     
  10. Dick

    Dick Lead Actor
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    So...why do you even own the DVD? ;)
     
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  11. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    :D
     
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  12. Robin9

    Robin9 Producer

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    Probably for the same reason that I do: it was issued as part of a box-set that included Attack Of The 50' Woman starring the magnificent Alison Hayes.
     
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  13. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Disc comes with a wonderful commentary.
     
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  14. Dick

    Dick Lead Actor
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    <_< Wink wink nod nod. Or did you mean a commentary on 50-FOOT WOMAN? I did not buy that set.
     
  15. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    The Blu-ray has an audio commentary that wasn't on the DVD.
     
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  16. Johnny Angell

    Johnny Angell Played With Dinosaurs Member

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    Yup. Of course the best thing about the 50’ Woman is the poster.

    Oh damn! I’m a sucker for commentaries. I alway own several bad movies, maybe another?
     
  17. dana martin

    dana martin Producer

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    watched it Tuesday as soon as it arrived, and just enjoyed every moment, now that you mentioned it in your write up i am thinking of doing a triple feature

    The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms
    The Giant Behemoth
    Gorgo

    :D
     
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  18. Paul Penna

    Paul Penna Supporting Actor

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  19. CarlosMeat

    CarlosMeat Second Unit
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    I watched it over the weekend, this was my first time for the film and enjoyed it very much. I had gone in with low expectations and was pleasantly surprised at the acting being pretty good. The mating of the Behemoth to the backgrounds was not great at times but still acceptable knowing what they had to make it happen.


    As I said elsewhere, the buildup was good and I fully expected the fisherman's daughter to be the love interest of some handsome scientist who would then have to rescue her later or use her as bait if it followed other similar films but that didn't happen.
     
  20. Johnny Angell

    Johnny Angell Played With Dinosaurs Member

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    After so many comments that disagreed with my assessment of the movie, I decided to watch it again. I found that I owned this recent release and found the image quality quite good for a movie of it’s age. Also, the cast is much better than I remembered.

    However, the moves along so slowly and it has scenes and dialogue that are obviously there just pad the time. The script is terrible. All, all the effects are poor. From the miniatures of the ferry and the model behemoth to the stop-motion animation all are just terrible. The stop-motion behemoth is a terrible design, that torso makes him look like he’s on steroids and he does not move naturally. I get bored of him quickly.

    I then listened to the commentary. I found it to be pretty good. I think some don’t like the fact that much of the time is spent criticizing the movie, but since I agree with them, I react to it differently.

    It’s shocking to think the Willis O’Brien is associated with this.
     

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