Movie Review: The Giant Behemoth (1959)

Synopsis: Atomic testing and disposal of radioactive material into the ocean results in a dormant dinosaur being brought back to life. As the creature threatens London, scientists realize using the military to stop it could result in radioactive material being spread all over the country.

Who's in it? The movie stars Gene EvansAndre MorrellLeigh MadisonJohn Turner and Jack MacGowran.

Review: I have had heard about this movie but had not had a chance to actually watch it until this morning, when I was waiting for the rest of the family to get out of bed. While I thought it was an OK monster movie, I also didn't think there was anything particularly special about it.

The film largely follows the same format most 1950s giant monster movies use - scientists predict some sort of atomic catastrophe, a short time later there are reports of a prehistoric monster then, about three-quarters through the movie, the monster finally makes an appearance and commits some significant destruction before being defeated. Probably the most unique thing about the movie was the decision to write-out the lone female lead (Madison) after the first 20 minutes.

This being said, I will say I did like the twist involving the monster not being able to be destroyed without causing a lot more damage. At minimum, it did create a short-term uncertainty about how London would survive the creature if the military couldn't intervene, though some of that suspense was also tempered by the revelation the creatures radioactivity would result in it dying anyway.

I also thought the creature itself was kind of cool looking. Obviously, the special effects were limited because of when the film was made but, when compared to some of the other movie monsters from the era, it was among the better ones.

Final Opinion: The movie does admittedly have some bright spots but still falls into the whole "if you've seen one monster movie, you've seen them all" category. It might be worth watching on a rainy (or cold) Saturday morning but don't expect it to be anything overly memorable.

My Grade: C


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