It Came From Beneath The Sea

It Came From Beneath The Sea (1955)
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Cast: Kenneth Tobey, Faith Domergue, Donald Curtis
Extras: Featurettes, Trailers

The Fifties were a great period for all sorts of monster movies. The fears of the atomic age manifested itself in various monstrous incarnations and Robert Gordon’s 1955 ’It Came From Beneath The Sea’ is another one of these films. Featuring phantastic stop motion effects by Ray Harryhausen, the film tells the story of a giant octopus that begins the threaten mankind after his natural food sources become unavailable to it. With a great finale set at the Golden Gate Bridge, the film was a landmark for special effects at the time, despite the fact that Harryhausen had to remove two of the arms from the octopus in order to keep his sanity during the animation sequences.

Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment is bringing the movie to DVD in its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio. The transfer is generally clean, with only a few speckles and scratches – although some grain is evident, and a bit of flickering shows as well occasionally. The transfer is also a bit soft, which may be a result of the film stock that was originally used. Fortunately Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment did not try to add sharpness to the transfer by using edge-enhancement, and as a result no distracting ringing artifacts are visible. The black and white presentation is well balanced with a good black-level and a wide range of gradients, creating a very pleasing image.

The audio on the DVD is the original mono language track, which sounds clearly dated. With a narrow frequency response and limited dynamic range, the track clearly gives away the movie’s considerable age. Nonetheless, the presentation is always nicely reproduced without distracting hiss or distortion.

As supplements Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment has added the same featurettes found on all others of their Ray Harryhausen releases. ’This is Dynamation’ and ’The Harryhausen Chronicles’ are here, as well as a selection of trailers of his films.

With ’It Came From Beneath The Sea’ Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment is once again releasing a solid version of a classic Harryhausen movie – one of his earlier one’s that actually launched his longstanding career – and fans of his work will undoubtedly want to pick up this little gem to enjoy the wonders that Harryhausen was able to conjure up already at this early stage of his career.