Film Review – THE CREATURE WALKS AMONG US (1956)

The Creature Walks Among Us (1956)THE CREATURE WALKS AMONG US (USA, 1956) **½
      Distributor: Universal Pictures; Production Company: Universal International Pictures (UI); Release Date: 26 April 1956; Filming Dates: late Aug–mid Sep 1955; Running Time: 78m; Colour: B&W; Sound Mix: Mono (Western Electric Recording); Film Format: 35mm; Film Process: Spherical; Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1; BBFC Cert: PG.
      Director: John Sherwood; Writer: Arthur A. Ross; Producer: William Alland; Director of Photography: Maury Gertsman; Music Supervisor: Joseph Gershenson; Film Editor: Edward Curtiss; Art Director: Alexander Golitzen, Robert Emmet Smith; Set Decorator: John P. Austin, Russell A. Gausman; Costumes: Jay A. Morley Jr.; Make-up: Bud Westmore; Sound: Leslie I. Carey, Robert Pritchard; Visual Effects: Clifford Stine.
      Cast: Jeff Morrow (Dr. William Barton), Rex Reason (Dr. Thomas Morgan), Leigh Snowden (Marcia Barton), Gregg Palmer (Jed Grant), Maurice Manson (Dr. Borg), James Rawley (Dr. Johnson), David McMahon (Captain Stanley), Paul Fierro (Morteno), Lillian Molieri (Mrs. Morteno), Larry Hudson (State Trooper), Frank Chase (Steward). Uncredited: Ricou Browning (The Gill Man (in water)), Don Megowan (The Gill Man (on land)), George Sowards (Ranchhand).
      Synopsis: In this third Gill-Man feature, the Creature is captured and turned into an air-breather by a rich mad scientist.
      Comment: The second sequel to THE CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON (1954) starts promisingly if more than a little familiarly. Merrow and a group of scientists hunt the Gill Man in the Everglades. Merrow has brought along wife Snowden, who sets the pulses racing amongst the rest of the crew sending Merrow into jealous rages. Reason debates ethics with Merrow and the production becomes a little too talky during its mid-section. Once the Gill Man is captured and loses his gills via a fire the creature begins to adopt human physicalities. Unfortunately. this means the impressive creature design is shorn of its elegance and the Gill Man turns into a lumbering Frankenstein-like monster, but lacking any expressiveness through the heavy rubber mask. The finale at a coastal clinic reverts to formula and the creature becomes enraged when violence is inflicted on others, notably his fellow captive animals. The denouement is hugely disappointing lacking any resolution other than Merrow’s ultimate fate. Impressive underwater photography and the desire to stretch the characters are pluses in an otherwise largely routine fare.