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Creature from the Black Lagoon in 3D(1954)

While most 1950s horror films focused on the skies for flying saucers or nuclear missiles, this nightmarish classic went underwater. Inspired by stories he had heard from Mexican cinematographer Gabriel Figueroa in the early 1940s, producer William Alland had roughed out an idea for a film about a mythical “gill man” haunting the upper reaches of the Amazon. When he landed a producing berth at Universal Pictures ten years later, he handed the idea over to writers Maurice Zimm, Harry Essex and Arthur Ross, who turned it into a tightly plotted tale of a fossil-hunting expedition whose sole female member (Julie Adams) is stalked by the legendary creature. Director Jack Arnold, who had given Universal a hit with It Came from Outer Space (1953), created his customary tense atmosphere, particularly in an eerie sequence in which the Creature mimics Adams’ movements as she unsuspectingly swims above him. It took two actors to play the monster: Ben Chapman on land and Ricou Browning underwater. Browning had it particularly rough since Arnold didn’t want air bubbles to come out of the monster’s mouth or nose. Browning couldn’t use an air tank, so he instead held his breath for as long as four minutes at a time to get the perfect shot. (d. Jack Arnold, 79m, Digital)

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