The Giant Behemoth (1959)

THE GIANT BEHEMOTH (1959)
(a.k.a. BEHEMOTH, THE SEA MONSTER)
Article #1174 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 6-1-2004
Posting Date: 10-29-2004
Directed by Douglas Hickox and Eugene Lourie
Featuring Gene Evans, Andre Morell, John Turner

A radioactive monster is found near the coast of Cornwall, which then makes its way to the heart of London.

The U.S. title of this movie is an example of redundancy; a behemoth is by definition “giant”. Unfortunately, this movie is itself a little redundant, being as it is largely a rehash of THE BEAST FROM 20,000 FATHOMS from the director of that movie (who would go on to repeat himself one more time with GORGO). On its own terms, it’s a fair movie, but it definitely suffers in comparison to its model. For one thing, the Behemoth is simply not as impressive as the Rhedosaurus; not only is it not as well animated, but it looks a bit rubbery and feels more like a model. This may account somewhat for the fact that the monster is kept largely under wraps for the first two-thirds of the movie, which in itself is a bit dullish except for the sequences in Cornwall. The ending is also less satisfying; the submarine vs. monster sequence that ends the movie has none of the visual splendor of the Rhedosaurus-in-the-amusement-park climax to its predecessor. Even the monster attack sequence is a bit repetitive; most of this sequence consists of scenes of people running intercut with closeups of the monster roaring, and only occasionally do we see the monster and the people in the same shot. And not only does it copy the shot from the original of the Rhedosaurus stepping on a car, it does so three times. Again, the movie is competent enough, but given the choice, I would opt for THE BEAST FROM 20,000 FATHOMS anytime.

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