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The Giant Behemoth

Poster for the film's theatrical release in the United States
Directed by Eugène Lourié/Douglas Hickox
Produced by David Diamond/Ted Lloyd
Written by Robert Abel (story)/Alan J. Adler (story)/Eugene Lourie (screenplay)/Daniel James(screenplay)
Starring Gene Evans/André Morell
Music by Edwin Astley
Cinematography Desmond Davis/Ken Hodges
Editing by Lee Doig
Distributed by Allied Artists Pictures (USA)
Release date(s) North America March 3, 1959
Europe October 1959
Running time 80 min.
Language English

Behemoth, the Sea Monster (1959) is an American-British science-fiction film co-production, which is an unacknowledged remake of Ray Bradbury's The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953), also co-scripted and directed by Eugène Lourié. Released in the United States as The Giant Behemoth, the film starred Gene Evans and André Morell. It was distributed by Allied Artists Pictures.



Dead fish by the thousands begin washing up on the shores of Cornwall, and finally an old fisherman is killed by something which has left him covered with radiation burns, his dying word being "behemoth". An Anglo-American team of scientists are dispatched from London to investigate, and discover the dead fish are also radioactive. Further investigation reveals a large, glowing animal swimming below the surface of the sea, and on another night it comes out and "burns" a farmhouse and its occupants, leaving footprints the length of a police car. From a picture of one print, a paleontologist determines the animal is a Brachiosaurus that can project electric shocks and is saturated with radiation. The dinosaur enters the Thames River and surfaces and attacks the city of London. The scientists realize that if it is destroyed by conventional military weaponry, a large amount of radioactive contamination will be released. The military then concludes to use a mini-submarine capable of firing a torpedo with enough additional radioactivity in its warhead to "overdose" the behemoth and kill it. The American scientist and one of the younger Cornish fishermen, boyfriend of the daughter of the first man killed, take the mini-sub out and successfully kill the behemoth.

Upon returning to base in the mini-sub, the sub's passengers hear a radio broadcast reporting schools of dead fish washing up along the shoreline of Florida!


The live-action scenes were filmed in Great Britain, including London. The model-animation special effects were shot in a Los Angeles studio, where they were also optically integrated with live-action footage. Due to budget restraints the scene of the monster smashing a model car was used three times in the film.

The stop-motion animation in the film was the work of Master Effects man Willis O'Brien and his assistant Pete Peterson. Peterson did most of the animation on this film, which is remarkably fluid, considering that Peterson was suffering from multiple sclerosis at the time. This film marked the last time that Willis O'Brien designs and animation would be seen by the public.


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