San Francisco in Cinema: It Came from Beneath the Sea

Dave Streich photo.
It Came from Beneath the Sea asks "Can scientists and the military save San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge and Ferry Building from a giant atomic octopus?" but Mister SF has a better question. Can San Francisco locations save this movie? The 1955 science fiction classic directed by Robert Gordon uses stop motion to animate the giant (six-armed) octopus and realistic models of City landmarks to bring the story to life. Special effects were created by Ray Harryhausen, who also made the effects for Clash of the Titans, Jason and the Argonauts, and the Sinbad movies. In It Came from Beaneath the Sea, one shot is a cityscape of the day that's quite shocking. The Russ Building and little else is recognizable in today's panorama of downtown skyscrapers. With terrible acting and a heroine who uses her feminine wiles as well as her scientific genius to bag two men and the underwater beast, this one is strictly for 12 year-old fans of Saturday afternoon features, or for 12 year-olds at heart. Halpo calls this one, "Plan 9 from San Francisco."

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