The Shark in Monster From the Ocean Floor

Filmfax Issue 102

I’ve stated before that the most interesting thing in Monster From the Ocean Floor is the scene where the lead character fights off a shark. Well, I got more information on this.

You can see a bit of this sequence in the trailer at the link above. But it’s much more impressive than that. What’s in the trailer looks impressive because they are using a long lens, which compresses distance and so makes it looks like the shark is right on top of her when it isn’t.

Luckily, the actor, Anne Kimbell, talked about this in an interview with Michael Barnum for Filmfax 102 (2004), “Monster (from the Ocean Floor) Hunter.”

I got this off the DVD for the film. In it, Tom Weaver quotes from the article:

On the last day, Roger said, “Now about the scene where you fight the shark…” I said, “Roger, “I’m not fighting a shark.” And he said, “Oh no, Anne. It is a very old shark. So again I said, “Roger, I am not fighting a shark!” He said, “We’re going to put a net around it, Anne. It can’t hurt you. It practically doesn’t have any teeth. Besides, the thing we really have to be careful about is that this is a valuable shark…”

There are things that don’t make sense. There is no net apparent in the film. I suspect what he meant was that there would be a net around the whole area so that the valuable shark didn’t escape.

And old or not, toothless or not, a six-foot (blue?) shark is still dangerous. Just running into her could have caused damage.

It Ain’t Anne Kimbell

But this is the most remarkable part of the interview:

So when you watch the movie, the lady fighting the shark is not me. It is the wife of photographer Al Hanson who lived and worked on Catalina Island. His wife, who was also a deep-sea diver, fought the shark.

That’s Al Hanson who did some underwater cinematography (and probably a lot more than he got credit for).

I’ve watched that sequence over and over. They do a good job of not allowing us to see the diver’s face in the shark scenes. But I’ve spent a lot of time trying to notice body differences and I just don’t see them. It all looks like Anne Kimbell. It is definitely not like that great scene in I’m Gonna Git You Sucka.

Also: Roger Corman Was Kind of a Dick

I admire Corman. I think people obsess about him too much. But being a low-budget film producer is hard. And he did it well. But it was all about the money. And he stepped on a lot of toes.

Monster From the Ocean Floor was Corman’s first film as producer. And he already had it down. He got everyone to work for little or nothing in exchange for a cut of the film. Anne Kimbell:

Roger showed the movie briefly in the theaters then he cut it and sold it to TV and made a lot of money to start is own picture career. Unfortunately, those of us that had started on commission never got much money because our commission was going to be on theatrical release, not the television part.

And I’m sure that was a mistake. I’ve gotten used to this. Most of the low-budget producers of the past did so on the backs of the idealism of those around them. And in the end, they get the money and all the credit.

Meanwhile, we don’t even know the name of the woman who did the scenes with the shark.

Filmfax 102 via Amazon under Fair Use.

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