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  • A respectable drive-in flick deserving of its long shelf life. Recommended only to fans of the B-movie genre, Phantom contains all the cheesy elements that make these movies so much fun.

    There are a couple of inaccuracies in the title -- 1) for a Phantom, the creature manages to get spotted by everybody who even goes out on the water (all in the same rowboat, by the way; there must have been a 'No motors' sign posted for this ocean), and 2) the only way to go 10,000 Leagues under the ocean is horizontally, not vertically. As it is, this creature was always close enough to the surface to spot that unlucky rowboat every blinkin' time. People always screamed bloody murder whenever that rowboat tipped over, too, as if they knew a monster was doing it. Usually, when I tip my canoe over, I just shout something unprintable here -- but from now on, I'll suspect the Phantom, and scream appropriately.

    The sets in this movie show the sad lack of budget that AIP always handed their directors. Lots of ceiling to floor curtains in the background, even hiding the mad professor's Top, Top Secret Death Ray Project. The entire College of Oceanography set consisted of the outer secretary's office (where the professor always took off his suit coat to put on his lab coat), and the professor's locked inner lab (where he always promptly took off the lab coat he had just put on, and changed into his radiation suit, apparently to protect him from rads given off by the Top, Top Secret Death Ray behind the flimsy curtain. When leaving the lab, the professor dutifully put on the lab coat again to walk through the door to the outer office, where he once again changed to his suit coat. I'll bet that lab coat never had to be washed.)

    The real bucks were spent on the set of the Professor's beach house, where three doors were required -- one to enter from the outside, one to the Professor's bedroom, and one to the bathroom for the obligatory hubba-hubba shower scene of the Professor's daughter, Lois.

    Lois is a bright spot in this picture. Not only does she take showers, but she also falls in love with the dashing scientist-turned-federal investigator, Ted Stevens. Lois listens to a lot of Ted's investigator stuff, and a whole lot of her father's mad scientist deathless dialogue (boy, can that guy mangle metaphors!). But mostly, Lois lounges. She lounges in the cabana chairs in front of her home, and she manages to be the only lounger on a totally deserted beach, but still gets stepped on by Investigator Ted, who happens to be looking the other way, where he just saw the Phantom.

    Lois must get pretty tired of listening to Dad, because she doesn't shed a whole lot of tears when Phantom and Daddy pieces come blasting out of the ocean at the climax. Probably, she's wondering how she can get Investigator Ted to go back down there with a tackle box of dynamite, too. Then it'll be no more listening to exposition, and back to the lounging for Lois. As long as she doesn't do it in that snakebit rowboat.

    The Phantom from 10,000 Leagues gets a respectable B-Movie 4 out of 10.
  • While this Science fiction story lacks any real sense of credibility and our monster-The Phantom disappoints due to a lack of action and a rather plain appearance, there's enough inherent strangeness and weirdness going on here to make this an intriguing watch to fans of cult movies - the science fiction variety. Seeing Kent Taylor and Philip Pine is a treat here as always and they , along with Cathy Downs and Michael Whelan do give competent performances. Recommended mainly to those with a lot of patience and a love for Grade-Z movies.
  • eeegah22 May 2005
    The vote drop-down menu is not very useful in this case. Of course this movie is awful. What would you expect from a film with this title from the 1950's? But what is note-worthy about the film is really how awful it is. I suppose this grade-Z pic was trying to cash in on the success of The Creature from the Black Lagoon or that Kurk Douglas Disney League jaunt, but I'm sure very few parted ways with their 1950's scratch to see this one. I though have to claim (of few that would make such bold statements) that I purchased this one, and I loved it. On par with Plan 9 and Beast of Yucca Flats this is a gem. Utter half-wittedness, no-budget, bad sound, horrible editing, no continuity, guys shooting each other with harpoons, the gratuitous sexy (which is a stretch) half naked woman, the same one boat used in all the scenes that call for a boat, the same stretch of beach, dumb doctors spouting esoteric formulas while (constantly) running around in suits on the beach...most bad films are just boring, and usually help you fall asleep after the late show, but trust me stay awake for awhile with this one, maybe just long enough to catch the goofy monster.
  • There are some high-lights here that merit special no particular order. 1. The professor's hair-do 2. A shower scene of somewhat less than erotic 50's style 3. poison pills deposited in the diving equipment 4. foreign agent Wanda...who she works for we'll never know 5. row-boats that can remain in place on the open sea, with no anchor necessary. Even for 1956, this is an amazing effort. Maybe it was more of a home-movie than a real, studio job. In any case, the morals are presented very clearly and that's what makes it worth my 9 rating. So...beware of mad scientists, spies from un-named evil countries, and monsters in general. But, kids, it's okay to smoke!! P.S. This film seems to have been made before "special effects". There are effects...just not so special.
  • (Some Spoilers) The US Government is concerned about the goings on off shore and on the beaches around the newly opened Collage of Oceanography founded by the renowned expert of nuclear psychics Prof.King, Michael Whalen.

    With a number of boats sunk and five people killed, from radiation burns, the US Government sends two of it's operatives FBI agent Bill Grant, Rodney Bell, and famed oceanographer and author Dr. Ted Stevens, Kent Taylor, to find out just whats behind these deaths. Uknown to the US Government there's also a spy ring, from an unnamed country, also at work trying to get the information that Prof. King has come up with in his nuclear research that includes his assistant George Thomas,Philip Pine, and his sexy but not too bright, go-between Wanda, Helene Statnton.

    Prof. King had discovered a uranium deposit under the sea just outside the collage and somehow activated it causing this radioactive sea monster to be created.Attacking people sailing off-shore it killed a number of them by capsizing their boats and then exposing them to it's deadly radioactive rays.

    The Professor is trying to use his discovery to create a "Death Ray" that can be used by the US military but it seemed to have backfired and caused the deaths of a number of innocent people. Prof. King is also reluctant to destroy the underwater uranium deposit and his creation the creature.

    Somewhat better then your average "Monster from the Deep" 1950's sci-fi movie with some good acting on the part of Kent Taylor Michael Whalen & Rodney Bell that lifts this bargain basement monster film up a few notches and makes it more then watchable.

    Agent Grant gets Prof. Kings secretary Ethal Hall,Vivi Janiss, the keys to Prof. King's Lab. to find out if he had anything to do with the mysterious deaths off shore, one of which was Ethal's son. This leads to Ethal's murder by Prof. King's assistant and foreign espionage agent George Thomas. Later a freighter is sunk by the underwater uranium mine, when it sailed over it, killing all on deck.

    The two spies George Thomas and Wanda are easily caught by the FBI in that their so unprofessional that you wondered who, or what country, would be crazy enough to use them in their espionage activities. Prof. King destroys his personal papers on his experiments so no one would be able to duplicate them and then sails out to sea to the underwater uranium deposit. It's there with a TNT loaded time-bomb Prof. King destroys the uranium mine the creature and himself in a huge underwater explosion.

    Prof. King's daughter Lois, Kathy Downs, who at first refused to believe that her father could be responsible for these tragic deaths is shocked into reality with his own cataclysmic demise that prevented more lives from being lost due to his misplaced loyalty to science then to human life.
  • The Phantom from 10,000 Leagues is directed by Dan Milner and written by Dorys Lukather and Lou Rusoff. It stars Kent Taylor, Cathy Downs and Michael Whalen. Music is by Ronald Stein and photography by Brydon Baker.

    Plot, for what it's worth, sees an amphibian like creature suddenly start killing any unfortunate human being that strays near its lair. And just what is that glowing thing down there? An absolute hack job attempting to cash in on the success of far better films of its ilk that were all the rage in the 1950s. It's the sort of Z grade film that gives the fans of creaky creature features and sci-fi schlockers a bad name. Right off the bat the makers commit a big error by introducing us to the man in the rubber suit straight away, a hopeless creation that's about as scary as the insipid dialogue that litters the production. Dialogue that's delivered by a cast of wooden actors who bring laughs on account of the fact they seem to be taking their roles seriously!

    Milner's direction accounts to being a number of similar scenes strung together at different intervals, with the creature's appearances being as rare as any suspense is. While the 10,000 Leagues aspect is rendered a big joke since the creature is in water that's only about 5 fathoms deep! I wonder if the makers realised that just one league is 3 nautical miles?!

    Is it in the "so bad it's good" category? Absolutely not! There's a modicum of science interest involving genetic tests and atomic energy dabblings, but this is lost amongst the laborious pacing as the characters do incredibly dumb things. While somewhat surprisingly Ronald Stein's foreboding music is decent and deserves a better movie. It also has a great title, with awesome poster art to match, but all told it's a major "league" clunker and only makes one cherish even more the likes of Creature from the Black Lagoon and The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms. 2/10
  • Warning: Spoilers
    8 truer words have never been said. Unfortunately I do not believe they were meant for the watchers of this stinker. You know it is not going to be good right away when they introduce the monster in the first 30 seconds defending his shiny spot. When you see the overgrown sea monkey you know this is going to be a long movie. With technical gaps such as the polyester curtain protecting the lab from radiation needing a lead suit while the flashing light is on, to the professional divers exiting their boats like drunk castaways, this movie has the elements to be the cheap trash I love. But instead I was too busy yelling at the TV. OK it is time for someone to talk. OK lets not throw out yet another red herring you already told us whodunit. OK who hangs pictures up in their closet anyway?

    And of course like all monster movies from this decade there is nothing a little TNT can't solve. So unless you want to sharpen your math skills to figure out just exactly how shallow 10,000 leagues actually is (you can still scuba dive!) miss this.
  • Most of the cast seems glad to be working if not half snockered in yet another tale of misguided radioactivity that didn't have much extra going for it other than a wide screen format. A world weary scientist finds a common fresh water turtle on the beach where with the use of his new fangled death ray mutates it into a large snapping turtle and then into a man in a hilarious rubber suit that has to be weighted down to keep the actor from floating belly up to the surface.It's a fast 78 minutes and with all of it's cheapness and faux pas it's hard not to like.It's not as good as Creature From The Black Lagoon but not nearly as bad as it's DVD co-feature The Beast With A Million Eyes.
  • I really enjoyed this movie, you have a pretty decent plot where a scientist has created some kind of death ray at the bottom of the ocean, to help the military in someway, but instead it backfires on him as his assistant is trying to sell his secrets to some unknown foreign country, also complicating the matter is some kind of giant mutated lizard or reptile guarding the uranium death ray,, two government agents are sent in to figure out what is going on , with so many people being burnt to a crisp along the beach, our main character has to decide what is best for himself and mankind as he struggles to reach a decision once people start dropping dead left and right. all together I found this movie to be very enjoyable.
  • Perhaps this type of moviemaking was still too new for this lesson to be learned. But I've always felt that - regardless of your budget - if you're gonna try to deliver a message, then don't allow it to be degraded by cheapness and unbelievability. You could certainly extract a moral here, but instead, MY recollection is of the chintziness and unreality of the production, such that it fits into the mold of a 50s, sci-fi, get-'em-with-the-title, Saturday matinee, which the kids'll find boring, if not laughable. The man-in-a-beast-suit hangs out around a radioactive beam (which is probably responsible for it's appearance) on the ocean floor and kills those who ROW into it's neighborhood. (How co-incidental - they and the boat always wash up onto shore TOGETHER and in the SAME PLACE. The unchanging current, I suppose.) Meanwhile, a scientist's research into radioactivity is of surreptitious interest to a female agent from a competing country. Other characters include the professor's daughter, who is romanced by an oceanographer, enlisted by the government to check up on her dad; the father's male assistant; a snoopy gal Friday; and a federal investigator, who hasn't been told that Romeo is also assigned to the case. This flick got a very low number from me.
  • Awful, awful, awful film. I mean, I like B movies as much as the next person but this is just pathetic. This is actually not a B movie. This is a Z movie. It is inept in every way. Scientists try to find a guy in the dorkiest-looking rubber monster suit you will ever see in your life. The whole thing looks like it was shot for about 25 cents by people who had no script and had never seen a movie before in their entire lives.

    And maybe it was the DVD, but at all costs avoid the Retromedia copy of this, because it looks like you are viewing everything through a blizzard. It's HIGHLY annoying. If I hadn't paid only .99 cents for the stupid piece of junk I'd demand a refund.
  • Phantom From 10,000 Leagues is a terribly wooden movie. The acting is wooden, the dialogue is more wooden, and the script is even more wooden. The story concerns the discovery of a radioactive deposit on the ocean floor, and the creature that is said to be guarding it. It looks as though Professor King might be the main man responsible for the devastation the radioactive deposit creates, and the creature that kills almost all who come near the deposit. Professor King has a slimy assistant who has a thing for spear guns, and an ultra-nosy secretary. A mystery man reveals he is Dr. Ted Stevens, and has been assigned to act as a sort of science detective to the findings of bodies with radiation burns. There is also a real detective around, and the two join forces. Dr. Ted Stevens finds romance with Professor King's daughter; while a blonde spy torments the slimy, spear gun-toting assistant. Phantom From 10,000 Leagues is a science fiction thriller without thrills, a horror movie with little horror, and a detective story that really offered nothing to draw me into the movie. There's dullness many times, and nothing that really provokes thought. A fisherman's body washes ashore near the beginning of the movie, and the two men who come across the radioactive burned body don't seem to be upset or excited at all. -- They go about their conversation concerning the corpse in a total deadpan manner. The mystery and crime aspects do not work. The horror aspects do not work. The creature is barely shown moving from it's spot, and is not well crafted. I will say the movie was not badly shot, but that is not enough to keep Phantom From 10,000 Leagues from sinking to the bottom.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Fairly forgettable, ultra-cheap monster movie. This is the type of movie where everybody -- the local fishermen, tourists, scientists -- all use the same tiny rowboat and are pretty much all attacked by the monster (who, it turns out, is guarding a treasure) and killed. The boat washes up on shore, and pretty soon the next person to come along will climb in the boat and blithely go out to watery death. Some amusing dialogue (by AIP ace Rusoff), plus its sheer unabashedness (it's a fairly straight-up horror flick) raise it above the norm for B-fare, but only slightly.
  • If you really like movies, if you like to understand them, then you need to balance your viewing.

    Sure, there's a short list — an amazingly short one — of films that are whole creatures and that you should watch.

    But you really should spend some time with these artificial creatures as well.


    Because when you have a stable genre, when everything is thoroughly predictable, the shell of the movie sort of falls away. You no longer have to look at the movie, you can look at the machine behind it. That's something that's harder to do with stuff that actually engages, like Tarkovsky.

    In this case, we have all the standard pieces: radiation, a marine monster that happens to be the right geometry to house a man, foreign spies and so on. Every element is from the catalog. Every assembly is from a mass production rulebook. The music is also off the shelf: viola for suspense, harp for underwater movement and so on.

    But look and see the famous "rule of twos." Sooner or later you'll have to make up your mind about the extent to which structure in art is an impediment or an aid. But before you get that far, you have to see the structures that are being used.

    Here we have two government investigators, one brainy the other brawny. We have two women, one young and alluring the other old and vengeful. We have two scientists, one honorable the other not.

    There are minor, very minor plot twists as we switch all of the doubles. Each of the pairs has a hidden third: the embodied "government," the dead son, the girl friend (a third woman) who is an espionage seductress.

    Already, in your mind's eye you can see the chart.

    Is this an aberration of nature, like the monster within the story? Is it a creation that can give power in the short run, but at costs? Is is good science or black magic?

    Before you jump to conclusions, see my comment on "Seabiscuit" for another example of the rule of twos, but in an environment of higher production values.

    Ted's Evaluation -- 2 of 3: Has some interesting elements.
  • Hey, kids! Did you know that a league can vary anywhere from 2.6 to 4.6 statue miles? Neither did I, but apparently this phantom is either so resilient that can withstand being 26,000 miles under water, or the producer couldn't remember the difference between a fathom and a league, or perhaps they wanted to cash in on the Disney movie "20,000 leagues under the sea". Regardless, this movie goes down hard. Think of it as "Horror of Party Beach" without the annoying Del Aires and even *less* action.

    Our cinematic Bataan Death March is the story of Professor King, and his research into something that involves exposing turtles to massive amounts of radiation. Somehow, there's a radioactive light source under the ocean which is guarded by the aquatic version of the MGM lion. Kent Taylor stars as Ted Stevens or Ted Baxter (oooooooh, Mr. Grant!), depending on who he's talking to. While Professor Stevens/Baxter isn't working on mysteries without any clues, he's trying to woo Professor King's daughter. There's also the haunting specter of foreign agents who are trying to steal this *ahem* technology.

    Of course, what B movie would be complete without the obligatory worship before the stock footage gods. Watch how the skies change from movie to stock footage and back again during the warship scene. Continuity is a problem, too. We see two air tanks being vandalized, and then we see two people going for a dive. They're the ones to be poisoned, right? WRONG, grasshopper! They get killed by the phantom. We have to march several more miles uphill in deep snow with no shoes before we get to the targets of the murder attempt. Finally, just because you *can* shoot film underwater doesn't mean you *should*. All in all, this movie is one big cluster of foxes.

    Sterno says cut the air hose on Phantom.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    "Phantom from etc etc…" starts out promising enough with a dude in a hilariously ridicule monster suit attacking an unfortunate fisherman. An ideal start to a cheesy50's SF movie, you'd think, but after the cool opening the film turns into an ordinary and tame environmental lesson. We shouldn't mess with nature, you know, because nature will always hold secrets for us and it will eventually turn our own breed against us!! Or something like that…. Anyway, the story continues with more dead bodies washing ashore and they all have bizarre burn on their faces and skin. A tourist scientist and an old-fashioned policeman believe that there must be some sort of nuclear power source at the depths of the sea, guarded by a horribly mutated sea creature. All the evidence points towards the local Prof. King, who's an expert in the field of atomic energy. The overly ambitious screenplay doesn't quite suit the film and the highly prestigious speeches are a bit annoying. It sure ain't no "Creature from the Black Lagoon", as it lacks the stunning underwater cinematography and breath-taking locations. The special effects are mostly limited to close-ups of the monsters, as the corpses are exclusively shown faced down in the sand. There's really nothing else to say about this production so let's mock the monster costume some more!! In case you get petrified by black and white creatures with eyes as big as baseballs, you definitely will get nightmares from seeing this film! Oh well, even though I was bored to death during this film, it still is ten times better than Roger Corman's "Creature from the Haunted Sea". As far as I'm concerned, this latter will always remain the low point of sea-serpent B-movies.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I have seen The Phantom From 10,000 Leagues a couple of times and quite enjoyed, despite reading bad reviews and the low budget.

    Several killings in the ocean are the responsibility of a radioactive gill-man that has been created through some radioactive deposits being in contact with the ocean wildlife and a mad professor doing experiments. A scientist and government official are called in to investigate the strange goings on to prevent more deaths and after the creature is discovered to be the cause, he is blown up at the end.

    Unusually for a monster movie, the creature appears at the very beginning instead of nearly half way through which is more normal. Despite this, the creature doesn't appear that much.

    The cast includes Kent Taylor, Cathy Downs (The Amazing Colossal Man) and Michael Whalen.

    This is just the sort of stuff you expect from American Internationl and was one of their first movies. Worth looking at.

    Rating: 3 stars out of 5.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    A strange scientist arrives undercover as a town on the California Coast. Later, you discover his being there isn't an accident and he's investigating some strange radiation deaths of locals on the water. While this guy is the hero, his part isn't written all that well and he keeps changing identities very often and for no apparent reason. At the same time, there's a local college professor that MIGHT know something about the deaths and he has an evil assistant who is stupid and kills and tries to kill people in a most ridiculous fashion--shooting them from great distances with a spear gun used for scuba diving! Such a gun, in and outside the water, is NOT at all accurate and hitting anyone from such a distance is a million to one shot! Duh. There's also a romance that seems superfluous and difficult to believe, but don't worry about it--as it really has no impact on the film.

    This is a grade-Z film from 1955 about an undersea monster created by nuclear radiation. As far as the monster's costume goes, it's very reminiscent and not much better than the one seen in THE HORROR OF PARTY BEACH--it's definitely one of the low points of the film. Also, the plot is very rough with some pretty stiff acting. However, despite all these problems, it is not unwatchable and is about average for a bug-eyed monster from the 1950s sort of film.
  • davepitts16 April 2008
    This one isn't a wonderful golden turkey; it's just a dim low-budget turkey shot on a beach and a couple of indoor sets. It does have one wonderful line of dialogue, though -- Prof. King to Ted Baxter, as the web of suspicion grows around the (mostly unseen) oceanography institute: "Do you think that that knowledge came from my college?" Ed Wood could have written that line. Delirious. It's also fun, when watching this kind of movie, to imagine where it played in '55 and how its original audience reacted. It think it was a co-feature at drive-ins, but just picture this gray, thrill-deprived pic playing at some old nabe with dowdy carpeting and old theater chairs, to a discontented teenage audience who would've found out in 10-15 minutes just what their 50 cents had bought.
  • I am sure that, by now, this movie is difficult to obtain-due to its popularity. This is unfortunate. There is a lot of activity within this show; more than most of what the 50's had to offer. Of course this is only my opinion. It has a moral story-dealing with mans ability to alter God's creations in the sea. It also contains a crime drama story as special agents try to uncover a Russian spy plot to steal the scientific formulas to gain military strength.

    This movie has a special aptitude similar to that of "IT Conquered the World". Provides one to think about what is being said- rather than just watching a so-called dumb old science fiction show. I hope this movie comes more available for others to see. If you can appreciate 50's science fiction you can really enjoy The Phantom from 10,000 Leagues.
  • This movie is interesting in that the acting is competent though the story is terrible. The special effects are also terrible. It was intriguing to watch and contemplate why they made such an inept movie. Evidently, they were able to sign decent actors to play the roles, but the people who put the whole thing together were unable to create a believable story. They wanted to create a story with a monster, but they didn't have the ability to make it do anything scary. The monster barely moves in the film. But since movies about the monstrous effects of radiation were common at the time, they figured they could put together something people might want to watch.

    This might be an example of what decent actors do in between good roles. When they can't get anything decent, they take roles like this to make a few bucks.

    Actually, the story isn't completely stupid. But the makers apparently could not afford to pay anyone to storyboard the film or plan how to make the monster scary. In the past, I've thought what a horribly tedious job story-boarding must be, but when you see this film, you see why it's important. You have to lay out in detail what the visuals will look like.
  • With a 1950's title like this, what's expected besides drive-in fare. I have to admit, I don't hold these cheapos to the same standards as uptown features. So I really don't care about most cost-cutters, such as using the same boat, or the same stretch of beach, or Jefty's road sign from 1948's noir Road House, or even peripheral logic, for that matter.

    What I do expect are a few horror jolts, of which this flick has almost none. For example, the hokey sea monster provides neither scares nor suspense. Also, I expect some sexy skin, which Downs does supply, especially in the upper reaches. Plus, there should be some good action, of which the 82-minutes supplies instead a lot of snorkeled swimming. And lastly, a low-budget story shouldn't be too long since that means padding. So, please tell me what purpose Helene Stanley's drop-in mystery woman serves. My best guess is she's supposed to be a commie connection.

    Actually the movie is more a character study than anything else, with wild-hair Whalen managing a nicely calibrated central performance. In fact, his conflicted Prof. King may be the movie's most interesting facet. Good also to see an aging Kent Taylor picking up a payday, even if he's too old for Downs. All in all, the 82-minutes amounts to an odd drive-in feature, as though the producers had a bunch of parts, but real trouble fitting them together. The flick's not bad enough to be funny, or good enough for a B-feature. In short, it's a drive-in dud.
  • After a strange series of deaths around the water, a team's investigation reveals a strange radioactive deposit has grown a vicious radioactive sea creature and must find a way of curtailing both.

    This is a fairly enjoyable if somewhat problematic creature feature. One of the better elements here is the fact that the relatively simple plot manages to keep things on line to the point of extremely efficient storytelling where there's no real extraneous side-plots or unnecessary ventures. Whether they're enjoyable pieces is another matter, but the fact that it's so streamlined and straightforward keeps this from really going off into pointless territories like it easily could've gone. The whole film really centers on the discovery of the strange radioactive substance in the cove and how the discovery is tied to the institute nearby, and the drive to find it out makes this move along quite well as the mystery slowly comes into focus. After that, there isn't a whole lot here that really works all that well. Despite staying on focus for the duration of time in regards to the investigation, this doesn't really produce a lot of interesting facets due to enlarged amount of time spent on the extraneous facets of the investigation and the different red herrings throughout the story that go nowhere, seeming only to provide enough time to turn this into a feature-length affair while compensating for the atrocious special effects. Those really are that bad with a laughable monster, utterly ridiculous make-up effects on the victims and a rather clumsy nature to the attack scenes that really make for a confusing time with the stiff, immovable costume never making it seem like there's something to fear in the creature which really takes a lot out of the movie when the few times it's on-screen there's not much worth to it. These elements all conspire to keep this down somewhat.

    Today's Rating-PG: Violence.
  • Fishermen are turning up dead on a beach, burned to a crisp. A g-man turns up to investigate and meet an mysterious doctor who's also curious about what's happening. Thus begins Phantom from 10,000 leagues, a film that involves a kind of mini-Godzilla preying on the locals while everyone in town sneaks around spying on each other.

    Dr Steve (or whatever he was called) is trying to find Dr King, professor at the local college who's acting awfully suspiciously. Dr King is being spied on by his secretary, and also his assistant George, and I'm guessing also Dr Steven and the G-man. Dr Steve heads out to investigate the water and finds a beam of light caused by uranium and a strange creature who tries to put the bit on him. Hooking up with Dr King's daughter, he tries to get to the bottom of what's going on, and not get killed in the process.

    Although it's a fairly decent man in a rubber suit film, Phantom spends an awful lot of time on the drama and intrigue sides of things as we watch everyone spying on everyone else, following each other around and blackmailing each other. The creature itself doesn't seem to do much of anything, as it doesn't leave the area where the uranium is. I could have done with a murderous rampage by the creature but it just sort of swam around a bit.

    Your tolerance for this film is going to depend on how much action you need from a film. There's not much to go on here but it wasn't that boring either, just an okay time waster. You've got to love a guy in a rubber suit so I've gone easy on this film due to that.
  • Although I really do try to keep an objective mind when it comes to my cinematic adventures, I must confess that "The Phantom From 10,000 Leagues" (1955) already had one strike against it, personally speaking, as I sat down to peruse it recently. I mean, how dare this picture rip off the title of one of my favorite films of all time, "The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms" (1953)? The fact that the esteemed "Maltin's Movie Guide" gives "Phantom" its lowest BOMB rating did not bother me overmuch (the editors there are a notoriously grumpy bunch as regards genre fare), but an attempt to overtly copy one of the greatest monster movies ever made...not forgivable! Anyway, as it turns out, despite the negative word of mouth and blatant title riffing of a beloved classic (actually, that title is almost as silly as the one from "Beast"; if a league really is 2.4 to 4.6 miles, that would give an ocean depth for the Phantom creature of some 40,000 miles...patent BS; but then again, a title such as "The Phantom From 40 Feet" really doesn't sound all that imposing, right?), the film in question was kinda fun, and even interesting, in some surprising ways.

    In it, the viewer encounters hunky-dude scientist Ted Stevens (Kent Taylor, who would go on to star in the psychotronic Filipino wonder "Brain of Blood"), who is working for the U.S. government to get to the bottom of a rash of killings that have occurred off the California (?) coast. It seems that several bodies have recently washed ashore, with radiation burns on them. Meanwhile, an unnamed foreign power is seeking information about the lab work of another scientist, the Pacific College of Oceanography's Professor King (Michael Whalen, soon to star in the legendary "Missile to the Moon"), and his experiments with radioactive effects on sea life. Stevens, who has also done work along those lines, dives into the ocean along the coast and discovers a radioactive rock that is guarded by a manlike, tusked, reptilian monster! During the course of his investigation, he romances Dr. King's daughter, Lois (pretty Cathy Downs, whose career had started out well, in such major-studio films as "My Darling Clementine" and "The Dark Corner," and who would soon be starring in such baby-boomer-favorite horror fare as "The She-Creature," "The Amazing Colossal Man" and, again, "Missile to the Moon"). Meanwhile, to add to the confusion (and I must admit that the film IS a tad confusing to watch, at least during the first half hour of its 72-minute running time), King's lab assistant, George (Phillip Pine, who many Trekkers will recognize as Colonel Green from 1969's "The Savage Curtain"), is being pressured by those foreign powers to come up with King's secrets, while the professor's secretary, Ethel (Vivi Janiss), is behaving very mysteriously herself....

    Today, "The Phantom From 10,000 Leagues" is historically noteworthy as being part of the first mind-boggling double feature to be released by American Releasing Corp., soon to be known as American International Pictures (AIP). It was released along with Roger Corman's "Day the World Ended," which, come to think of it, also featured a monster that was birthed via the mutating effects of atomic radiation. The films were a great success; "Phantom" had had a production budget of $75K, and the double bill ultimately brought in $400K. And for good reason! Despite the Maltin assessment, "Phantom" is hardly deserving of that BOMB rating. Director Dan Milner makes some interesting choices in his mutant movie, and some of his camera angles are striking. The film features very nice-looking nighttime and underwater photography, and the film looks just fine overall. The acting is fairly solid, and the picture, with that compact running time, never wears out its welcome. Another plus, and one that I would have appreciated as a little kid: We do not have to wait more than 30 seconds before we get our first good look at the monster in question. Strangely enough, the monster here is not stressed as a major selling point, and never really seems all that menacing. It never leaves the vicinity of the radioactive boulder that had birthed it, and only harms those who swim directly into its clutches, never even venturing onto the shore. (The darn thing is really about as dangerous as a moray eel, in effect. Don't go near it and you'll be okay.) Rather, the film seems to be more interested in dishing out those cloak-and-dagger antics previously alluded to, and to gaping at Ms. Downs as she lounges in her bathing suit on the beach and looks at her brassiered torso in a mirror. The monster in the film is actually kind of pitiful, and way too easily dispatched by the film's conclusion. Compared to the previous year's "Creature From the Black Lagoon," another vaguely reptilian-looking underwater dweller, the Phantom is just a lethargic doofus, with an energy level barely above that of a sea cucumber. Nice to know that not ALL radioactive menaces have superhigh energy levels, I suppose. Anyway, the bottom line is that "The Phantom From 10,000 Leagues," while certainly not the worst way to pass an hour and a quarter, is fairly bottom rung when it comes to memorable menaces. In truth, Phillip Pine wielding a badly aimed speargun turns out to be a much more intimidating proposition here....
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