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Thursday, August 01, 2013

Dinosaurs Persist At Greenbriar!

Ever Notice? They Always Step On Cars ...

The Giant Behemoth (1958) Offers Stomping Good Time

A behemoth that lumbered duller on syndication TV gets 1.85 enhance thanks to Warner DVD and so has even break against dinos advantaged by clearer home presentation. Still not on top rungs due to nickels Allied Artists pinched, but UK climes, seaside and otherwise, lend atmosphere and foretell of better Gorgo to come a few years forward. Titular Behemoth takes forever making landfall, till then sighted along lines identical to a Beast cousin that came up from 20,000 Fathoms in 1953. Gene Evans and Andre Morrell are good enough seekers of scientific truth to make the wait bearable. Sometimes a most pleasing aspect of dino pics is teasing glimpse and fuller view withheld until final reels, '58 youngsters more patient than successors today. Legend Willis O'Brien of Kong achievement was aboard for effects, but so were others, results not altogether his and compromised in any case by miserly budget. Enjoyable on a thankfully widened screen; it's how you see a Giant Behemoth that determines pleasure, and I got lots for Warners' HQ delivery.

7 Comments:

Blogger Dave K said...

The Brits made so many interesting sci-fi flix on tiny budgets around this time, movies that played to their strengths (skilled casts, imaginative screenplays) it's a little amazing that they still kept trying to copycat the Yanks at the same time. As you note, THE GIANT BEHEMOTH (which means, of course, THE GIANT GIANT) is a snoozer of a remake of BEAST FROM 2OOO FATHOMS, even as STRANGER FROM VENUS is a dullsville retread of THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL. COSMIC MONSTER and SPACEWAYS aren't much better. I think I read somewhere that BEHEMOTH actually cost more than BEAST, and it is, I guess, kind of okay (there is the barefooted Jean Trevethan early in the show). Do like the alligator skin texture on the monster a lot. But still, watching it just reminds us how terrific the original was.

9:25 PM  
Blogger Reg Hartt said...

Was not going to get this as I have it on vhs. Now I will. Thanks.

6:58 AM  
Blogger Kevin K. said...

That title always cracked me up. It would be like calling a movie "The Little Midget" or "The Fat Heavy Guy."

8:50 AM  
Blogger Michael J. Hayde said...

Gee, I don't recall waiting for the monster being a problem with this show... mainly because my intro to BEHEMOTH was the 50' 8mm version from Ken Films, which I still have.

9:06 AM  
Blogger Kevin Deany said...

One of these days I'm going to schedule for myself a Repetitive Title Film Festival, treating myself to "The Giant Behemoth", "The Invisible Ghost" and "The Black Raven."

11:59 AM  
Blogger Mike Ballew said...

I always figured the use of the word "behemoth" was meant to evoke one of the creatures mentioned in Job 40 (the other being Leviathan).

In fact, when I was 5 years old I saw the Ken Films 50-foot version of The Giant Behemoth at a church "Harvest Festival"--that is to say, a Halloween carnival divorced of any occult references. It was shown under the (winking and chuckling) pretext that it was a speculative representation of the beast mentioned in Job. Needless to say, I really dug it and appreciated that there were other closet monster fans in my church!

But if my theory about the title is correct, it does call into question the British title of the film, Behemoth the Sea Monster, because if the beasts mentioned in Job are being referenced, why not simply call the monster Leviathan, since that one was of a seemingly aquatic nature?

2:38 PM  
Blogger John Antonio said...

I saw this in 1963 on a double bill with DAY OF THE TRIFFIDS at the Crown Theater in New Haven. The film was made and shown in Full screen - not Letterbox or Widescreen, I am a big fan of this flic and even had a beautiful 16mm print of it for many years. When it was released on VHS it was an edited 71 min. version! Missing the evacuation scenes and the entire ferry boat attack! Next was laserdisc which was a fake widescreen version, then the DVD version also in widescreen. The problem with changing full screen films to widescreen is that part of the original picture is missing - cut off on top and bottom to create the letterbox effect. Just compare the VHS full screen to the DVD widescreen and you can clearly see why you see more of the picture on the full screen version. I also have a DVD transfer from my full screen film print and you clearly see more picture. Some fans don't mind this, but companies might want to give a choice on the disc - original release full screen version - or enhanced letterbox version. I say release these films as they were originally made - what's next? Charlie Chan in Egypt in letterbox with part of Charlie's head cut off in the frame?

7:00 PM  

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