Wednesday, February 8, 2017
A Quick Look: THE CREATURE WALKS AMONG US (1956)
Unlike in the 30's and 40's, Universal in the 50's had but one franchise monster, the Creature from the Black Lagoon. THE CREATURE WALKS AMONG US was the third and last of these films. In the previous film, REVENGE OF THE CREATURE, the Gillman was shot down at the edge of a Florida tributary and sank into the waters. Some time has passed and it has become evident that the Gillman is still alive and stirring up trouble for native fishermen down south. An expedition sets out to capture the beast, but in the process the Creature is badly burned by a thrown oil lamp. The scientists rush the Creature into an operating room and soon discover that the Gillman has a layer of humanoid skin underneath his scales, and a reserve set of lungs they open to replace the creature's badly damaged gills. Robbed of the sea, the creature now submits to study by the scientists. In their number is Jeff Morrow, who thinks he can more or less impose his will on anything -save his estranged wife Leigh Snowden. Rex Reason is more sympathetic to the Creature, and formulates a theory that the Creature is only violent when provoked, and that if treated kindly the Creature will respond in kind. Unfortunately, Rex doesn't get the chance to really substantiate his theory, as the Creature is used to cover a murder. In the process of this, the monster breaks loose and heads for the beach, where the ultimate fate of the Creature is left unresolved. THE CREATURE WALKS AMONG US has seldom been praised by critics, and the physical change of one of the best monster designs in movie history has rankled many. Still, the film sports a fine cast and features the usual Universal International production values. Photography, music, editing, acting, all in fine form in a story intriguing if not spectacular.