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.
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