Genre: Horror, Monster
Source: TV (Channel TCM )
This movie was seriously Great Britain's answer to Japan's Godzilla! Yeah, both boasted very similar themes such as Atom-Age monsters provoked by a nuclear bomb, both had prehistoric monster designs, and both monsters lay waste to their countries biggest cities (Godzilla`s being Tokyo and The Giant Behemoths being London). Besides all that when you boil down to it 1959s The Giant Behemoth is a cool entertaining monster movie, but by no means at all a masterpiece.
In a nutshell the movie`s story is about a prehistoric monster that is disturbed by all the dumping of radioactive waste in the ocean, so it rises from the sea and terrorizes the English coast. Oh and did I mention it can shoot electric shocks and radioactive beams from its mouth? Well, as a matter of fact it does! To make that even better the army cant destroy the monster by means of conventional weaponry because that would just cause radioactive contamination to spread across the entire country. Oh yes the plot thickens....anyways as you can probably see on par with other monster movies this one is pretty badass.
One thing though about this movie was it took them way to long to getting around to actually appearing. The movies only about 1hour 20 mins long and good half hour is spent before the monster actually shows up. Instead they fill that gap with boring filler charecter arguments and discussions and other pointless boring things. But when they finally get done screwing around and bring in the monster it is oh so awesome! They did not hold back either, the devastation this monster causes is just awesome, people get crushed under falling bricks, get burned to a crisp by the Behemoths radioactive breath, and are drowned after there boat is capsized by the Behemoth. Despite its setbacks the monsters wake of destruction makes the movie totally worth watching.
The most notable person who worked on this film was without a doubt special effects wizard Willis O`Brian. The man who provided the ground breaking special effects in such movies as 1933s King Kong, 1957s The Black Scorpion, and 1922s The Lost World. He was also the very person who served as the inspiration for Ray Harryhousen among countless other filmmakers. Anyhow that being said I am sorry to say that this was not one of his best pieces of work. His giant Behemoth just didnt have the same awesomeness factor that his other monsters had like King Kong and The Black Scorpions. Don`t get me wrong now, the monster looked great in comparison to other monster movies of the time but it just wasn`t as good in comparison to O`Brian`s other monsters he`d done. And hey its still way better then any of that CGI crap that pollutes our movies today.
I would also like to complement the movies Cinematography and Direction. Very good use of shadows, as well as a few cool close ups of the monster. Actor wise I was not very familiar with any of the movies stars but none the less they all put in straight forward, serious performances that helped make the movie even more watchable.
Alright now so in all 1959s The Giant Behemoth was a fairly decent B grade movie. The storys fairly good, despite its obvious cash off's to previous monster movies of the decade such as Godzilla and The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms. The monster itself is pretty sweet looking, only wish they featured more of it. Then finally the movies ending was just great! I`m not even going to say what it is but trust me its one of those "Oh dang that sucks for them" endings. You`ll just have to see it for your self.