The Creature from The Creature From the Black Lagoon (US-1954; dir. Jack Arnold) is one of US cinema’s most iconic monsters. I remember watching it in the early 1960s on our then-newish black-and-white TV set, when it was screened as part of Deadly Ernest’s late night Creature Feature show. I loved it, of course, but was outraged when I discovered how many of the close-ups where edited out so that my little mind wouldn’t be warped by the terrifying imagery. Right. Since then I’ve watched it many times, now complete in a lovely, pristine digital format, and still think it one of the best… though, of course, my mind is thoroughly warped.
Current news is that it’s being remade, directed by Breck Eisner (Sahara, the “Jacob and Jesse” episode of Taken) for a 2009 release.
Meanwhile, Life Magazine has unearthed an archive of shots taken during the filming by photographer Edward Clark. (You can view the unadjusted shots here. Even better, Kerry Gammil has put up colour-corrected versions here.)
They let us see how really incredible the rubber suit (designed by Bud Westmore) looks, even up close and (especially) in colour. Absolutely beautiful. No doubt they will CGI the creature in the new film, which I will inevitably find much less interesting.
Meanwhile these pictures, long buried in the vaults of Life Magazine, can remind us how good the older techniques can be.
- Source: Bob Johnson
- Note: Stan Hyde has pointed out that “Bud Westmore ran the make-up department, but the creature was really created by Milicent Patrick, Jack Kevan, Chris Mueller Jr. and Tom Case”.