Showing posts with label Cecil Kellaway. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cecil Kellaway. Show all posts

Sunday, 6 April 2014

The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms

Predating the more famous Godzilla by a year and being a major influence on that movie, The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms is a 1953 creature feature that is home to a series of firsts. It was the first movie in history to feature a monster awakened by a nuclear blast and also contains Ray Harryhausen’s first solo special effects work. It spawned a plethora of imitations and ushered the dawn of a golden age for monster movies.

The plot sets a pattern which will sound familiar to anyone who’s seen a creature feature before. Deep inside the Arctic Circle, a team of scientists and military personnel are carrying out a nuclear test. While out collecting samples soon after, physicist Thomas Nesbitt (Paul Christian) is shocked to eye a giant beast, lurking in the icy gloom. Back in New York City no one believes the young scientist but when strange tales come down the Atlantic seaboard towards Gotham, others begin to treat Nesbitt’s claims seriously. Unfortunately they’re too late and the beast makes devastating landfall in the city itself.

Sunday, 3 March 2013


Harvey is the film that is often regarded as the one which gave James Stewart his finest performance. I’m fairly new to discovering his talents but it is certainly the finest I’ve seen so far. Harvey is an incredibly sweet and funny film which I’m certain wouldn’t work today. The central character’s innocence and kindness simply wouldn’t sit right in twenty-first century cinema. As sweet as the film is though it is also notable for having a less than favourable view of mental illness and in keeping with Hollywood movies of the time, it depicts the fear and misunderstanding which surrounded illness of the brain although it slightly rectifies its position towards the end.

Elwood P. Dowd (James Stewart) is an overly polite and gentle man who lives with his older sister (Josephine Hull) and niece (Victoria Horne) in their mother’s old house. Despite his amiable personality, charm and kindness, his family are deeply embarrassed by Elwood and try to get him out of the house whenever they have company. The reason for their embarrassment is Elwood’s friend Harvey. Harvey himself is as friendly and polite as Elwood but he happens to be a six foot, three and a half inch invisible white rabbit whom only Elwood can see. After embarrassing Veta (Hull) for the final time, she decides it’s time to institutionalise Elwood.