The Film (3/5)
The 1950’s brought us a plethora of monster movies, be it man-sized or gigantic creatures. Some of them were excellent first class pictures such as Them, Creature from the Black Lagoon or The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, while many others just ranged from not very good to utterly laughable. The Phantom from 10,000 leagues is a film that falls somewhere between ‘not very good’ and ‘utterly laughable’. The monster scenes consist of several underwater shots more or less from the same angles. It could be compared to The Monster from the Ocean Floor or to some extent the black lagoon creature, but nowhere near as effective. Despite the flaws, there is still a sense of that 50s era fun in the film that makes this compelling, especially if you are a Grade Z shlock movie lover. The story is about an undersea creature which was created via an experiment with atomic energy. The monster, originally a small sea animal, is protecting the source of its life, which is strange radioactive rock at the bottom of the sea. Kent Taylor (Brides of Blood), without his traditional moustache, plays Doctor Ted Stevens who is called in, along with an FBI agent, to investigate some murders where the monster is located. They both discover that there really is a radioactive monster in the sea. It was created by Professor King, played by Michael Whalen. His daughter, Lois King, played by Cathy Downs (The Dark Corner) also gets discovered by Dr. Stevens and shows as much interest for her as he does for the monster. The professor also has a secretary who actually is an agent who is trying to sell his atomic secrets and his monster to foreigners. Atomic monsters and evil foreigners? Welcome to the 1950s!
As mentioned, this movie is a schlock-fest ; if only the monster design looked as menacing as the poster art for this film, if the film had a little more action, a little more budget, and if Kent Taylor had his moustache, this could’ve been a much better movie. For me, it’s one of those guilty pleasure films, which we all have. I’m certainly being very generous with the three out of five rating. That’s what happens when you enjoy a really crappy film.
The Phantom from 10,000 Leagues gets a blu ray Kino Lorber and it’s a really good presentation.. As with most of, if not all Kino releases, this movie gets a 1080p, MPEG 4 AVC encode. The image quality looks really good. Blacks are solid, and there is a very good contrast. Only the underwater scenes are a little foggy. Otherwise it’s a really impressive transfer. And to top it off, it’s in widescreen 1:85:1. Easily, this is the best the film has ever looked, and it’s had several DVD releases prior to this blu ray release.
The audio quality is the usual Kino DTS-HD Master Audio English 2.0 and once again no real audio issues. The music is especially intense.
Again, I’m being really generous with the rating, but let’s face it, releases for sixty year old movies are difficult to get extras for, so I’m glad that we actually do have some extras. The few supplements that this release has are better than nothing.
This release has an audio commentary by film historian Richard Harland Smith, "Trailers From Hell" with Joe Dante and trailers for The Monster That Challenged the World and The Phantom from 10000 Leagues
A movie that nobody had a right to believe would get a blu ray release has actually gotten one. Kino Lorber has once again spoiled us with a really good release for a black and white low budget monster movie. Recommended!