The Phantom from 10,000 Leagues


**
How can such an active plot and a plethora of characters, including a monster on the ocean floor protecting a glowing, radioactive rock, be so uneventful, paced so boringly? Somehow this film accomplished that...

Scientist responsible for mentioned monster and rock named King (Michael Whalen) has a secretary (Vivi Janiss), assistant (Rodney Bell), fellow scientist (Kent Taylor), "government gumshoe" (Phillip Pine), and blond bombshell rep for foreign baddies (Helene Stanton) all out to learn of the genius's experimental secrets. Meanwhile, Taylor falls hesd over heels for the professor's daughter (Cathy Downs)...

Monster is of the Blaisdel school, staying underwater (wisely not to out it as a ridiculous rubber suit with stunt guy inside), attacking swimmers, fishermen, and scuba divers. Despite everything obvious, nothing happens much for 80-so minutes as Whalen agonizes about his mad science, the monster remains available to kill others (where is law enforcement warning of dangers in the water?), and a radioactive rock stays in place to eventually blow up a passing ship! Made for the B-movie market, it was a hit, but the film is slow moving and in no hurry to get to the point. Bell turns out to be quite an infective heavy and despite killing Janiss with a harpoon stays in the area to get caught! Stanton doesn't encourage much effort on Bell's part to get on with it, preferring to lay out in the sun and look hot. By this point, in 1955, we were starting to see emphasis on sex appeal like Downs in undergarments and suggestive dialogue about noticeable desire, like when Taylor gets a load of her and understandably comments in kind. The use of science as a means to offer mankind equal parts potential and danger is alive in the script but failure to make it's use in the film exciting is an irreparable failure for this creature feature. Santa Monica beach is quite lovely, so seeing Stanton so interested in taking advantage of this instead of emphasizing what her clients want to Bell made some sense. Why hurry when the beach is such a desirable place to be? The College of Oceanography is pathetic, basically giving Whalen a small building to conduct his business as Janiss always appears disinterested. Rather pitifully budgeted movie.



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