The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms (1953)

Joe Karlosi

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When we're talking strictly about monster movies of the 1950's, this is one of the better ones. I finally put the Warner DVD on tonight (nice transfer, by the way) and revisited it for the first time in many, many years. Ray Harryhausen was a genius for his time with those special dinosaur effects, and I acknowledge his work, but I've always preferred the "men in suits" Toho approach to animation. Go figure!

Kenneth Tobey probably should have been cast as the lead hero instead of his subordinate role here, but it's a minor quibble when you've got so much cool monster action to make up for it - as the beast topples a lighthouse, tramples New York City, smashes the roller coaster at Coney Island and swallows a policeman! And of course, it's always a delight to see Cecil Kellaway (this time as a dinosaur expert).
 

Jim_K

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Sean Campbell

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I think 'Beast' is probably Harryhausen's best 'monster on the loose' movie. I've always found it considerably more entertaining than either 'It Came From Beneath The Sea' or '20 Million Miles to Earth', although there's no denying that the animation is superb in all three.
'Beast' was my first introduction to the monster movie genre - my earliest memories of watching tv are of the huge creature going on the rampage through the streets of New York. It certainly helped to generate wihin me a lifelong fascination with monsters and dinosaurs!

As regards the 'man in a suit' technique used mainly by the Toho studio - I like it too. It may not be as artistic as stop motion, but it helps create a feeling of 'weight'. The best examples of this are in the original 'Gojira' in 1954 and in the British movie 'Gorgo' made in the early 60s.
 

Joseph Bolus

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This was *exactly* the way I felt after leaving the theater in '98. In fact, I went straight home and put Beast on (I only had it on VHS in those days!) to compare the two.

There's no question, of course, that Beast is a far superior movie.
 

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