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Tuesday May 21st 2024

The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms| 1953

Inspired by Ray Bradbury’s short story The Foghorn (about a surviving prehistoric lizard mistaking the sound of a foghorn for the mating call of another dinosaur), this monster-on-the-loose pic was animated by stop-motion genius Ray Harryhausen and directed by production designer Eugene Lourié, who designed La Grand Illusion and La Regle Du Jeu, among many others, for Jean Renoir.

Made quickly and cheaply, it’s set in New York, but filmed mostly in the studio in Hollywood. The real New York locations include the Fulton Fishmarket, where the rhedasuarus comes ashore from the East River, and Wall Street, in the Financial District. The climax, with the monster being killed at ‘Coney Island’, filmed in the old Amusement Park at Long Beach, in Los Angeles.

The dinosaur skeleton dominating the museum set is the one Cary Grant painstakingly assembled in Howard HawksBringing Up Baby, which had been discovered in an old warehouse at the RKO Studios.