U.S., 1954, 79 min, 3D DCP, Dir. Jack Arnold, Not Rated, Universal Pictures
“The creature was the most beautiful design I’d ever seen. And I saw him swimming under [actress] Julie Adams, and I loved that the creature was in love with her, and I felt an almost existential desire for them to end up together.” – Guillermo del Toro
Shocking! Suspenseful! Science couldn’t explain it but there it was, alive in the deep waters of the Amazon, a creature that had existed 100 million years ago. The fate that brought it out of its lair? A woman’s beauty! The 1950s saw a wave of creature features, low-budget B-films inspired by the threat of Mother Nature and thermonuclear war. Creature from the Black Lagoon was one such film but what set it apart was that it was shot in 3D, another early 50s craze. Though not frightening even by contemporary standards, the film – and its Gill-Man (played underwater by Florida’s own Ricou Browning) – have become movie icons and nowhere is its influence more apparent than in The Shape of Water. Guillermo del Toro’s aquatic love story is not just an homage: the filmmaker has been trying to make his own version of Creature ever since he first saw it at 7 years old. But the key to del Toro’s version is that he wanted the creature and its lover to actually get together, subverting the typical monster movie ending. Now’s your chance to watch the film that inspired this holiday season’s most wonderful love story – in its original 3D splendor!
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