How’s that for a headline? BOGIE BATTLES GIANT OCTOPUS!

What, you say? Humphrey Bogart battled a giant octopus in a movie once? No way. Bogie played gangsters, and tough guys in inner city dramas. He never made a movie where he had to fight a giant octopus. What are you talking about?

Well, I have news for you. He did so.

First let me talk a little about giant octopuses. I have a fond place in my heart for these mythical movie monsters. I like the scene in TARZAN AND THE MERMAIDS, where Johnny Weissmuller battles a big octopus  near the diving cliffs of Mexico. I love the giant, GIANT octopus in IT CAME FROM BENEATH THE SEA. It destroyed San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge! Buster Crabbe fights an Octosac in the first of the FLASH GORDON serials. And even Kirk Douglas battled a close cousin of the giant octopus, a giant squid, in 20,000 LEAGUES BENEATH THE SEA. And don’t forget, the octopus is the symbol of SPECTRE, James Bond’s most deadly nemesis.

big shutdown 2I love octopi so much I put an octopus fight scene in my book, THE BIG SHUT DOWN. Jack Brand, the last law left on the planet Tulon, fights an Octopod in the chapter entitled “The Eight Arms of Death.” He has to kill the monster in order to obtain a crystal lens that can save an underwater city from certain disaster.

All well and good, you say. But what does any of this have to do with Humphrey Bogart? You probably can’t even imagine Bogie in an octopus fight. Well, the fact is, you poor unschooled little guppy, he actually did. In 1936 Bogart made a quickie, 60-minute feature for Warner Bros. called ISLE OF FURY. He plays a fugitive from justice who has assumed a new identity as the owner of a pearl diving business in the South Pacific. He’s married to Margaret Lindsay, and one day Donald Woods shows up as a police detective to arrest him. The film is based on a Somerset Maugham story, so naturally, the characters fall into a love triangle, which complicates everything.

In one scene, Bogie’s pearl divers refuse to dive any more because several divers in the last couple of days have gone down but never came up. To prove there’s nothing to be feared, Bogies puts on the hard hat diving suit and goes down himself. Sure enough he gets jumped by a big (really fake-looking) mechanical octopus. He loses his lifeline back to the top and his  air hose and Donald Woods has to jump in and rescue him, complicating the characters’ relationships even further. Well, a giant octopus can do that to you.

Anyway, so there you have it. Bogie battled a giant octopus. If you don’t believe it, check it out for yourself on IMDb. The movie even ran recently on Turner Classic Movies.