Dave Willock

Revenge of the Creature (1955, Jack Arnold)

Revenge of the Creature has three parts. The first part involves Nestor Paiva (the only cast member from the original to return) and John Bromfield as the guy who’s going to capture the Creature, the second part involves Bromfield, John Agar and Lori Nelson all studying the Creature in captivity, the third part has Agar and Nelson hunting the escaped Creature.

Oh, wait, no. The third part has Agar and Nelson completely ignoring the escaped Creature. And it makes sense. They were visiting scientists, they had no real investment in the Creature being a tourist attraction. Revenge of the Creature is a totally fine idea terribly executed. Maybe if Agar and Nelson had any chemistry whatsoever. Instead, their scenes are more interesting for the bland 1950s sexism. Nelson’s a scientist too, but she’s got to make a choice, one Agar wouldn’t be able to make. It’s not fair.

Maybe they’d have more chemistry with better small talk. But Martin Berkeley’s script wants to be taken seriously as science-y, which is a big mistake. The middle section of the film, which has the Creature in captivity, is nothing but Agar and Nelson bothering it. The underwater sequences are technically great–and Ricou Browning does a fabulous, uncredited job as the Creature in Revenge–but they’re boring. They’re boring from the start of the movie; Arnold immediately establishes there’s not going to be much artistry in the underwater thrills. There will be monster action, but not artistic monster action.

Strangely, the film coasts through pretty steadily until the Creature’s escape. Arnold never impresses too much–Revenge seems very hurried–but he does fine. Paiva’s awesome in the opening, Agar’s sturdy enough except when he’s got to romance Nelson, who’s likable without being particularly good (or bad). The middle section of the film promises something exciting. There’s nothing exciting in the third part. It feels like a different film, actually. Agar isn’t sturdy in this part, regardless of who he’s acting with. He’s barely conscious.

Revenge of the Creature should be better. But it’s got some solid fifties monster sequences thanks to Browning, Arnold and photographer Scotty Welbourne.



Directed by Jack Arnold; screenplay by Martin Berkeley, based on a story by William Alland; director of photography, Scotty Melbourne; edited by Paul Weatherwax; produced by Alland; released by Universal Pictures.

Starring John Agar (Prof. Clete Ferguson), Lori Nelson (Helen Dobson), John Bromfield (Joe Hayes), Grandon Rhodes (Jackson Foster), Dave Willock (Lou Gibson) and Nestor Paiva (Lucas).

Men of the Sky (1942, B. Reeves Eason)

Men of the Sky opens with General Henry H. Arnold addressing a graduating class of air cadets. Charles P. Boyle’s Technicolor photography is glorious and Harold McKernon’s editing is outstanding and Sky feels like an almost too precious time capsule.

Only then the realism shatters when Arnold starts directly addressing actors, not actual air cadets. All of a sudden, though Boyle’s photography remains wondrous throughout, Sky‘s propaganda becomes a chore to stomach. The problem’s Owen Crump’s script. Crump also narrates the short, so he’s at least enthusiastic in that responsibility, but he can’t string the elements together.

I think Eleanor Parker–as the wife of one of the pilots–has the most lines (like two of them); she’s only in it for thirty seconds. None of the cast are particularly distinctive, not even with Crump trying so hard.

Even as propaganda, Sky is bad. Crump’s too awful a writer.

1/3Not Recommended


Directed by B. Reeves Eason; written by Owen Crump; director of photography, Charles P. Boyle; edited by Harold McLernon; produced by Gordon Hollingshead; released by Warner Bros.

Starring Tod Andrews (Cadet Frank Bickley), Eleanor Parker (Mrs. Frank Bickley), Don DeFore (Cadet Dick Mathews), Ray Montgomery (Cadet Jim Morgan), Ruth Ford (Cadet Gladdens’ Sweetheart), Dave Willock (Bob ‘Sir Galahad’ Gladdens) and Henry H. Arnold (Himself); narrated by Owen Crump.

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