Ahh, the 50’s. When it seemed like half of the sci-fi movies being made involved some sort of nuclear element or radiation, and a giant animal. The problem with that is that sometimes you wind up using the same basic plot over and over again. Personally, I didn’t have a problem with this because I love these types of movies. In fact, I wish there were more of them out there for me to watch and own. Anyways, today’s movie is one of these gems from the 50’s, The Giant Behemoth.
The plot: In a small British fishing village, an old fisherman is found dying of strange burns, his last words being “behemoth”. A visiting American scientist, Steve Karnes, hears of this story and other strange events and, along with British scientist James Bickford, goes to investigate. They theorize that the old man, as well as large groups of fish, had died due to intense radiation poisoning and that a large animal was responsible. When a man and his son are killed in the same way as the fisherman, the two scientist discover what appears to be the footprints of a giant dinosaur. They take pictures of the footprints to a noted paleontologist, who identifies the creature as a paleosaurus, and try to get the authorities to close the Thames. The authorities refuse, saying that their radar would be able to detect the creature before it gets close to the area. However, the creature does not show up on the radar as it destroys both a helicopter that spotted it and a ferry full of passengers. The behemoth emerges onto land and the military is helpless to stop it’s rampage through London as Bickford and Karnes both warn that using bombs on the creature can cause the radiation inside it to spread. When the creature goes back into the water, Karnes loads a torpedo filled with radium into a mini-sub, hoping that the additional material will accelerate the radiation sickness that already plagues the creature. The captain of the mini-sub manages to shoot the creature in the mouth of the creature and observers overhead see clouds of steam rising from the water as the creature dies.
It probably comes as no surprise that I like this movie. This was one of the last films that Willis O’Brien(of King Kong fame) did the special effects for and the stop motion effects were pretty good considering he only had a budget of about $5,000. The actors were decent and nobody really stood out except for the paleontologist, his character was pretty funny. The story was pretty decent, but to be honest, the movie was more interesting at the beginning, when the scientist were trying to discover the monster. Once the monster showed up and started trashing London, it was still entertaining, just not as interesting.
A good example of the 50’s nuclear monster craze that is worth watching.
Rating: 3 out of 5