The Giant Behemoth (1959) starring Gene Evans, Andre Morrell
The Giant Behemoth begins when radioactive waste dumped in the Atlantic Ocean awakens a prehistoric monster. A creature that can project electric shocks and radiation. After the beast terrorizes the English coast, officials decide against attacking the creature with conventional weaponry. It would scatter thousands of radioactive pieces across London, creating more damage than the creature could. Meanwhile, the monster approaches London…
In short, The Giant Behemoth is an excellent monster movie. The pacing is good. It gives the audience time to both learn the story and care about the people.
The only negative is when the puppet head (used for when the creature first appears in the Thames) appears. It’s so obviously fake, that it’s laughable. Contrast that with the beautiful stop-motion animation by Willis O’Brien.
- Gene Evans (Donovan’s Brain) as Steve Karnes. The protagonist of the movie. He first tries warning the scientific community of the danger posed to marine wildlife by nuclear testing. Just a little too late …
- André Morell (The Mummy’s Shroud, She) as Professor James Bickford. Head of the society that Karnes was speaking at. He and Karnes become a team. Then, they consult with the authorities on how to stop the giant behemoth.
- Leigh Madison as Jean Trevethan. The daughter of the first victim. Later, she becomes the love interest for Steve.
- Jack MacGowran (The Quiet Man) as Dr. Sampson. He’s the paleontologist who identifies the giant behemoth as a Paleosaurus. An interesting, quirky individual.
- Maurice Kaufmann (Gorgo) as the mini-submarine officer. You have to admire his fortitude. After the behemoth attacks his ship, he goes back for a second attack.
- Henri Vidon as Thomas Trevethan. The first victim, who’s dying words name the creature: “Behemoth”.
- John Turner as John Duncan. With Jean, he comes upon the dying first victim.
John: What happened, man? Can – Can you talk to us? Can you hear us, Tom?
Jean Trevethan: Dad? Dad?
Tom Trevethan: From the sea… burning, like fire!
John: What was it?
Tom Trevethan: Behemoth!
Editorial review of The Giant Behemoth courtesy of Amazon.com
As in his classic The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, director Eugene Lourie plunges us into a thrilling stomping ground, unleashing another Thunder Lizard to stomp on everything in sight. Alarming levels of radiation have infused the water, plants and skies, and a radiated paleosaurus rises from the ocean depths. In its path: London. In its arsenal: a strength to topple buildings (King Kong‘s Willis O’Brien contributes rampaging stop-motion effects), a stride that flattens cars, a flesh-searing radioactive ray and a ticked-off attitude. Left in ruins on land, humankind takes the fight to the beast’s undersea realm, where a two-man submarine crew must ensure the torpedo they fire is dead-on. The first chance is all anyone gets with The Giant Behemoth.
Updated December 8, 2021