It Came From Beneath The Sea


Rating 2

Directed by Robert Gordon

Written by George Worthing Yates and Hal Smith

Starring Kenneth Tobey (Commander Pete Mathews), Faith Domergue (Professor Lesley Joyce), Donald Curtis (Dr John Carter), Ian Keaith (Admiral Burns), Dean Maddox Jr (Admiral Norman), Chuck Griffiths (Lieutenant Griff, USN), Harry Lauter (Deputy Bill Nash) and Richard W Peterson (Captain Stacey)

The testing of a hydrogen bomb forces a gigantic octopus up from the depths of the ocean in search of food. It attacks shipping, including a nuclear submarine, before turning its attention to San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge.


This 1955 monster movie is notable for an early example of the stop-motion special effects created by Ray Harryhausen, although the production budget, just $150,000 for the whole film, meant that this is not amongst his most celebrated work. The octopus apparently has just six tentacles as a way of cutting costs, not that I noticed. Harryhausen worked with the film’s producer Charles H Schneer on many more films after this.

Much of the location filming was done at the San Francisco naval dockyard, including filming on an actual submarine. It’s all a bit stilted, something not uncommon in films like this, and decidedly clunky at times, particularly the love-affair back story involving Pete Mathews, the submarine commander, and Lesley Joyce, the marine biologist. Having said that, it is a reasonably well executed production and generally quite effective, all in all, even if, undoubtedly, it is not amongst the best examples of this genre.

Kenneth Tobey had previously starred in the classic 1951 science-fiction film ‘The Thing From Another World’ and Faith Domergue starred in another 1950s science fiction classic, ‘This Island Earth’, playing Dr Ruth Adams, in the same year as ‘It Came From Beneath The Sea’. Domergue was played by the actress Kelli Garner in the 2004 Martin Scorsese film ‘The Aviator’.

Review posted 10 June 2009


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