John Bromfield

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).

Curucu, Beast of the Amazon (1956, Curt Siodmak)

Siodmak sure does love his medium shots. He uses the same medium shot for every indoor scene in Curucu, which, along with the atrocious acting and writing, brings some regularity to the film.

I’ve wanted to see this one since I was a kid, mostly because of the excellent poster. It’s strangely unavailable from Universal, even though it’s one of their fifties monster movies. Well, not exactly. It spends most of its running time acting as a travelogue for Brazil and propaganda for missionaries. The native peoples who don’t accept Jesus Christ as their personal savior are evil morons. They’re so moronic, they even have a chief (Tom Payne) who’s wearing blackface. Brown face. Whatever.

Amusingly, priest Harvey Chalk is one of the creepiest priests I can think of in a movie. His performance is awful, but he’s also really creepy.

The acting in Curucu is uniformly horrendous. When budgeting Curucu, which shot on location in Brazil, Universal must not have been paying for cast. They also don’t seem to have wanted to pay for audio–the majority of the running time, Raoul Kraushaar’s terrible score is blaring.

But besides Siodmak (it’s hard to believe this guy wrote The Wolf Man), the fault mostly lies with leading man John Bromfield. Rarely does one get to see such a terrible performance in a theatrical release. Love interest Beverly Garland is bad too.

Save as a cultural artifact (Curucu endeavors to be misogynistic), there’s no reason to subject oneself to this film.



Written and directed by Curt Siodmak; director of photography, Rudolf Icsey; edited by Terry O. Morse; music by Raoul Kraushaar; produced by Richard Kay and Harry Rybnick; released by Universal Pictures.

Starring John Bromfield (Rock Dean), Beverly Garland (Dr. Andrea Romar), Tom Payne (Tupanico), Harvey Chalk (Father Flaviano), Larri Thomas (Vivian), Wilson Viana (Tico) and Sérgio de Oliveira (Captain of Police).

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