Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)

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Film and Plot Synopsis

In this classic 50’s film that was originally presented in 3D, a scientist finds the skeletal remains of a previously undocumented human like creature during a geological expedition. The discovery results in a group of scientists returning to the area to see if they can find any additional remains of the prehistoric creature. What they find is the living and breathing Creature of the Black Lagoon, a monster that is not only obsessed with the only female scientist on the expedition but kills those that he feels threatened by.

‘Creature from the Black Lagoon’ Movie Summary

The summary below contains spoilers.
Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)
A geology expedition deep in the heart of the Amazon jungle discovers an unusual fossil of a skeletal hand with webbed fingers from the Devonian period. The lead geologist, Dr. Carl Maia (Antonio Moreno), believes that it could be proof of a direct link between land and sea animals, and possibly proof to support the theory of evolution. However, Dr. Maia believes that he needs to consult with additional experts, so he leaves the camp to visit a marine biology institute. Dr. Maia leaves his two local assistants to stay with the camp. Not long after Dr. Maia leaves, a mysterious creature rises from the waters of the jungle and kills the two men.

At the institute, Dr. Maia talks with a friend and former student, ichthyologist Dr. David Reed (Richard Carlson). David is temporarily working at the institute to study lungfish but is fascinated at Dr. Maia’s discovery and its potential scientific implications. David convinces his boss, the financially astute Dr. Mark Williams (Richard Denning), to fund a return expedition to the Amazon to look for the remainder of the creature’s skeleton. Mark’s intentions about the trip are only about the money that could be made.

Dr. Maia, Mark, David, and David’s girlfriend and colleague Kay Lawrence (Julia Adams) make the trip to South America. The group hires a tramp steamer called the Rita and captained by a seaman named Lucas (Nestor Paiva) to take them upriver. The group also brings along another scientist named Dr. Edwin Thompson (Whit Bissell) as well. When they arrive at the camp, they discover that Dr. Maia’s assistants have been killed. Captain Lucas theorizes that based on the wounds that they were killed by a jaguar, but the scientists remain skeptical of his theory.

Despite the tragedy, the team continues with the expedition. The group conducts a further excavation of the area where the fossilized arm was found. However, they discover no additional remains of the creature. Mark is ready to return to civilization, but David suggests that perhaps thousands of years in the past that the part of the embankment that contained the rest of skeleton fell into the water and was washed downriver. Dr. Mais informs the group that the river empties into a lagoon several miles downriver. Captain Lucas informs the group that the lagoon is known as the Black Lagoon because no one ever returns from there. The group decides to make the trek to the Black Lagoon to see if they can find any evidence of the fossil. Unbeknownst to the group, however, the entire operation is being observed by a living member of the same species (Ben Chapman) as the fossil and the creature responsible for the deaths of Dr. Gaia’s assistants. The creature takes special notice of Kay and follows the boat as they proceed to the lagoon.

I can tell you something about this place. The boys around here call it “The Black Lagoon” – a paradise. Only they say nobody has ever come back to prove it. Captain Lucas (Nestor Paiva)

Once the expedition arrives at the lagoon, David and Mark go diving to collect rock samples for the bottom of the lagoon. Their dive goes without incident and Kay goes for a swim by herself upon their return. The creature stalks her under the water while she swims, although he never attacks her. When she returns to the boat, the creature gets caught in one of the ship’s drag lines and tears a hole in the net. The creature also leaves behind a claw, revealing the existence of a living creature for the scientist. Both David and Mark understand the scientific event that would be created from the discovery of this mysterious creature, although Mark is more driven by financial concerns.

The expedition attempts to capture the creature several times. However, the creature evades capture and continues to kill Captain Lucas’ crew members one by one. Eventually, the creature attacks Kay while on the boat, and the men capture the creature and place him in a locked cage. However, the creature escapes during the night and attacks Edwin, the person responsible for guarding the creature. Kay stops the attack by smashing a lantern onto the creature which ignites it on fire. The creature is forced into the lagoon to extinguish the flames and disappears once again. Edwin survives, but he is gravely injured.

With Edwin’s injuries, David insists on returning to civilization for everyone’s safety. Mark opposes the idea and wishes to continue to try to capture or kill the creature. Ultimately, it is Captain Lucas and his blade that decide the issue, and the Rita begins its trek back to civilization. However, the creature blocks the lagoon’s entrance with fallen logs and debris which prevents the expedition from leaving. Mark and David attempt to attach the ship’s wench to remove the blockage, but Mark is killed by the creature.

David comes up with a plan to place chemicals in the water that will drug and delay the creature and allow David time to secure a cable on the debris. The plan works and Captain Lucas lifts the debris out of the way. However, the creature climbs aboard the ship and kidnaps Kay. The creature takes Kay back to its cave lair. David pursues the creature, followed by Captain Lucas and Carl. They corner the creature, and David is able to rescue Kay. The creature moves to attack David and the men shoot the creature several times with their guns. The creature retreats back to the lagoon where it appears to die from its injuries and sinks to the bottom of the lagoon.

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Our Rating

Universal Pictures released Creature from the Black Lagoon on March 5, 1954. Jack Arnold directed the film starring Richard Carlson, Julie Adams, and Richard Denning.

User Rating: 2.94 ( 4 votes)
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