This is one my all time favorites. Ray said the beast’s design went through quite a few alterations. I’m sure glad he rejected these concepts.
The final design is Harryhausen at his best.
It's obvious that I had the rhedosaurus in mind when I drew this, back in 1977. I call it a centaursaurus -- for obvious reasons.
Beast Facts that practically everybody knows:
During pre-production, the film's producers called Ray Bradbury to punch up their concept for a proposed film about a foghorn at an isolated lighthouse which lures a lonely sea serpent up from the depths of the ocean.
After reading the script, Bradbury politely informed them that the concept bore a striking resemblance to his Saturday Evening Post story, "The Foghorn". The next day, Ray received a polite offer to purchase the rights to the story.
Mr. Bradbury also described the experience which served as the genesis of the story – a decaying roller coaster which Ray discovered one evening during a walk on the beach. In the dim light, the broken wooden framework inspired Bradbury to concoct the story of the lonely sea creature who follows the sound of a foghorn, mistaking it for the sound of a fellow creature.
“Beast from 20,000 Fathoms” was independently produced, but it was released through Warner Brothers Studios, who gave it a fine musical score by David Buttolph which adds a great deal to the enjoyment of the film.
"Beast from 20,000 Fathoms" amazed America with scenes of a giant rampaging monster in the midst of a big city. Not since "King Kong" had there been anything like it.
Paul Christian is the handsome hero-scientist, and Paula Raymond is the classy and attractive heroine-scientist. Cecil Kellaway is superb as the portly little paleontologist who is so enthusiastic about dinosaurs that he forgets to be afraid when a live one is about to eat him.
Kenneth Tobey ("The Thing from Another World", "It Came from Beneath the Sea") provides the traditional military presence. Lee Van Cleef is the marksman who fires the radioactive isotope into the wounded beast – an ironic touch in view of Van Cleef’s later fame as a gunman in Italian westerns. Don’t blink or you’ll miss Roscoe P. Coltrane, sheriff of Hazzard County (James Best), in a brief scene near the beginning.
Director Eugène Lourié must have thought the story's basic premise was fool proof, because he tried it twice more in "The Giant Behemoth" and "Gorgo" – with less success than the original, unfortunately. However, some fans might agree that Lourié did a better job with “The Colossus of New York” in 1958, a film which told an imaginative story on a shoe-string budget.