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Old 11-05-2016, 10:24 PM
CalMeacham CalMeacham is offline
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 41,937
The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms Bad? Bite your typing finger!

TBF20kF is the UR-1950s monster-on-the-loose film. It's the first film to feature all the elements -- the Monster released by radiation, It slowly makes its way to a major city. It cannot be stopped by ordinary means. It's huge. It sends people scurrying away. Its coming is predicted by the Handsome Young Scientist (and the romantically-0involved Beautiful Assistant). They come up with the Magic Weapon to destroy the Beast, and They Only Have One Chance.

It was also the first major film by Ray Harryhausen. Lacking the army of technicians that his mentor Willis O'Brien had for KIng Kong, Son of Kong, and Mighty Joe Young, Harryhausen had to come up with a cheap and less labor-intensive way to incorporate his creations into footage of "real" people and locations, not using glass paintings, forced perspective sets, and the like, and invented his "reality sandwich" technique (which he called "Dynamation" and "Dynarama" in ads) It was a technical breakthrough.

All in all, it was well-handled. They came up with a plausible reason for the Beast to go to a population center, to explain WHY the Beast couldn't be killed by ordinary means,and neatly brought the plot full circle by using atomic science , which had awakened the Beast, to also destroy it. Since this was the first time for all this, it wasn't a cliché.

When they made the 1998 version of Godzilla, they stole the script from TBf20kF, not from the original Godzilla.

There were lots of imitators, including Gojira. Most of the others were simple imitations, almost always without the technical virtuosity or the originality. But, for all its faults, Beast was the first of its kind, and a trailblazer in the best sense. Bad, it ain't.