It Came From Beneath The Sea
Directed by Robert Gordon, Starring Kenneth Tobey, Faith Domergue, and Donald Curtis Columbia Pictures, 1955
Reviewed by Nancy King (Nancy King)
In It Came from Beneath the Sea, Harryhausen originally intended to create a huge octopus with eight tentacles, but budget restrictions limited him to only five massive limbs. However, by choosing his filming angles carefully, he concealed from the audience the fact that his octopus monster is a pentapus. Harryhausen made another change to make his octopus even more menacing: he gave it star-shaped "eyebrows".
Unlike some giant monster movies, this film has a strong plot. An atom-powered submarine, under the command of Pete Matthews (Kenneth Tobey) is attacked by something - that something turns out to be a huge octopus, made radioactive by nuclear testing. Professor Leslie Joyce (Faith Domergue), noted marine biologist, and her colleague Dr. John Carter (Donald Curtis) investigate and identify the monster. The film moves quickly as the giant octopus increases its attacks. A slightly dated subplot concerns the attraction between Commander Matthews and Dr. Joyce, with comments about the "new woman", for whom getting married and having children is not enough. Meanwhile, the angry octopus continues to make serious attacks, including wiping out a family on the beach, crushing the Golden Gate Bridge, and smashing buildings and people with its huge arms. It is up to the scientists and Commander Matthews to find a way to destroy the enormous octopus while saving themselves. As they struggle to achieve this goal, the film races to a riveting conclusion.