“There are many strange legends in the Amazon.”
A team of researchers traveling on the Amazon River encounter a mysterious humanoid fish, which clearly has designs on the crew’s sexy female scientist (Julie Adams).
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Jack Arnold Films
- Julie Adams Films
- Mutant Monsters
- Science Fiction
Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary argues that while this “popular science-fiction film” — with clear thematic parallels to King Kong — is “somewhat overrated”, it’s “still one of the fifties’ best entries in the genre”. He notes that it’s “skillfully directed by Jack Arnold”, features “solid acting”, and possesses “a consistently eerie atmosphere, suspense, and a first-rate monster” (at least for the time in which it was made — though having just rewatched Alien, it’s difficult to argue that the Gill Man is still TRULY frightening to modern audiences). Peary notes that “more than any other fifties science-fiction film, the emphasis is on sex”, given that Adams — a truly stunning B-movie actress, eerily reminiscent of Jennifer Connelly — “always wears revealing shorts or swimsuits”, and “in the sensuous, spooky underwater scene it’s obvious what’s on the creature’s mind”.
While the storyline is ultimately too basic to entice me into multiple viewings (it’s essentially an extended cat-and-mouse encounter between the Gill Man and the crew, all taking place within limited confines), it’s all done so well that this remains a seminal “creature feature” of its era — one all film fanatics should at least be familiar with.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Julie Adams as Kay Lawrence
- Reasonably effective (for the time) monster make-up
Yes, as one of the seminal ’50s sci-fi “monster” flicks.