Leviathan (1989)

R | 98 mins | Adventure, Horror | 17 March 1989

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HISTORY

The following title cards appear after opening credits: “Atlantic Ocean, 16000 Feet Deep,” “Tri Oceanic Mining Corporation,” “Mission: Extraction of Silver and Other Precious Metals,” and “Classification of Mission: Extremely Hazardous.”
       The following statements appears in end credits: “The producers would like to thank The Italian Ministry of Defense, The Italian Air Force - 15th Squadron, Alitalia, AGIP - Saipem, for their contributions to the making of Leviathan” and "Special thanks to Tag-Heuer, Penthouse, Trackluce by Sames, Carl Zeiss West Germany, Pepsi Cola."
       According to an article in 11 May 1988 Var, producers Luigi and Aurelio De Laurentiis learned in Aug 1987 that De Laurentiis Entertainment Group (DEG) did not have the finances to produce Leviathan. With the help of Seven Greenwood of DEG, they were able to acquire the rights for the project and self-financed it. Although producer Dino De Laurentiis was not directly involved with production, his Film & Television Co., was in charge of foreign sales.
       Various contemporary sources estimate the film’s budget was between $22 to $25 million.
       Although the 26 Jan 1988 HR stated that principal photography was scheduled to begin in Mar 1988, an 11 May 1988 Var news brief reported it began 18 Apr 1988 in Rome, Italy. Almost all the interior shots took place at Cinecittá Film Studios, while the sea-based filming took place in Malta.
       The 11 May 1988 Var article reported that on 6 May 1988, members from three different unions employed at Cinecittá called a strike to protest being forced to work a six day week. Despite Aurelio De Laurentiis arguing that ... More Less

The following title cards appear after opening credits: “Atlantic Ocean, 16000 Feet Deep,” “Tri Oceanic Mining Corporation,” “Mission: Extraction of Silver and Other Precious Metals,” and “Classification of Mission: Extremely Hazardous.”
       The following statements appears in end credits: “The producers would like to thank The Italian Ministry of Defense, The Italian Air Force - 15th Squadron, Alitalia, AGIP - Saipem, for their contributions to the making of Leviathan” and "Special thanks to Tag-Heuer, Penthouse, Trackluce by Sames, Carl Zeiss West Germany, Pepsi Cola."
       According to an article in 11 May 1988 Var, producers Luigi and Aurelio De Laurentiis learned in Aug 1987 that De Laurentiis Entertainment Group (DEG) did not have the finances to produce Leviathan. With the help of Seven Greenwood of DEG, they were able to acquire the rights for the project and self-financed it. Although producer Dino De Laurentiis was not directly involved with production, his Film & Television Co., was in charge of foreign sales.
       Various contemporary sources estimate the film’s budget was between $22 to $25 million.
       Although the 26 Jan 1988 HR stated that principal photography was scheduled to begin in Mar 1988, an 11 May 1988 Var news brief reported it began 18 Apr 1988 in Rome, Italy. Almost all the interior shots took place at Cinecittá Film Studios, while the sea-based filming took place in Malta.
       The 11 May 1988 Var article reported that on 6 May 1988, members from three different unions employed at Cinecittá called a strike to protest being forced to work a six day week. Despite Aurelio De Laurentiis arguing that all salaries were based on a six day week and exceeded what the workers had negotiated with the Italian film industry, he and fellow producer, Luigi De Laurentiis, agreed to a five day work week.
       According to an Apr 1989 AmCin article, director George P. Cosmatos had originally planned to build a water tank to film the underwater scenes, but quickly realized that building such a structure for one production was cost prohibitive. The wreck of the Leviathan alone was eighty feet long and forty feet high, and a track used for the miners to load their ore was another ninety feet long, which meant the tank would have to be even bigger than Cinecittá’s 130 foot by 270 foot water tank, which was used for some of the scenes. Also, shooting underwater with the actors would require the deep sea suits to be practical instead of fiberglass mock-ups. Cosmatos decided to use “dry for wet,” which is the technique of using smoke and lighting to give the effect of being underwater. Visual effects supervisor, Barry Nolan, and director of photography, Alex Thomson, decided to conduct tests where they constructed a temporary set and heated vegetable oil in pressure lamps to produce smoke. To create the illusion that plankton was floating in the water, they had two workmen spend three days cutting up chicken feathers that they then dropped in front of fans. Unfortunately, the feathers dropped in straight lines instead of floating about and collected on the floor. Thomson later fixed this problem by using candelotti, a slow burning solid alcohol used in camping stoves. After being lit and the flame blown out, the fuel will smolder and produce fine white flakes. Italian filmmakers had been using candelotti for years as artificial snow. These flakes are so light they float in the air for several minutes and swirl in eddies before landing and dissolving.
       According to production notes in AMPAS library, each dive suit was individually cast from hundreds of pounds of fiberglass and molded rubber at the cost $30,000. The suits restricted movement and even with built-in fans became hot and humid.
       A 23 Jun 1988 DV news brief reported actor Hector Elizondo was almost crushed when a technician pressed the wrong button on his dive suit.
More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
American Cinematographer
Apr 1989
pp. 30-33.
Daily Variety
23 Jun 1988.
---
Hollywood Reporter
26 Jan 1988.
---
Los Angeles Times
17 Mar 1989
p. 4.
New York Times
17 Mar 1989
p. 18.
Variety
11 May 1988
p. 7.
Variety
22 Mar 1989
p. 22.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANIES
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Luigi & Aurelio De Laurentiis present
A Gordon Company Production
A Film By George P. Cosmatos
^ILeviathan^R from Filmauro
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
2d 2d asst dir
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Underwater cam op
Underwater cam op
Addl photog
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Asst underwater cam
Gaffer
Key grip
Key grip
Video playback
Optical cam, Perpetual Motion Pictures
Optical cam, Perpetual Motion Pictures
B cam asst
Still photog
Still photog
Spec still photog
Video equip by
Underwater cam by
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Supv art dir
Supv art dir
Art dir
Art dir
Conceptual artist
Storyboard artist
Storyboard artist
Prod Illustrator
FILM EDITORS
1st asst ed
Asst ed
Asst ed
Apprentice ed
Negative cutter
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
Const coord
Set des
Set des
Asst set des
Asst set des
Asst set dec
Asst set dec
Prop master
Asst prop master
Asst prop master
Asst prop master
Painter
Painter
Const coord, Malta
COSTUMES
Cost des
Ward supv
Dresser
SOUND
Sd mixer
Boom op
Supv sd ed
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Foley ed
Dail ed
Foley artist
Foley artist
A.D.R. ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Apprentice sd ed
VISUAL EFFECTS
Creature eff prod by
Creature eff des and created at
Creature eff des and created at Stan WInston Studi
Creature eff des and created at Stan WInston Studi
Creature eff des and created at Stan WInston Studi
Creature eff des and created at Stan WInston Studi
Creature eff des and created at Stan WInston Studi
Creature eff des and created at Stan WInston Studi
Mechanical eff supv
Visual eff supv
Creature eff crew
Creature eff crew
Creature eff crew
Creature eff crew
Creature eff crew
Creature eff crew
Creature eff crew
Creature eff crew
Creature eff crew
Creature eff crew
Creature eff crew
Creature eff crew
Creature eff crew
Creature eff crew
Creature eff crew
Creature eff crew
Creature eff crew
Creature eff crew
Creature eff crew
Creature eff crew
Creature eff crew
Creature eff crew
Creature eff crew
Creature eff crew
Creature eff crew
Creature eff crew
Mechanical eff coord
Mechanical eff crew
Mechanical eff crew
Mechanical eff crew
Electronic eff coord
Visual eff and computer graphics
Computer graphics, Perpetual Motion Pictures
Visual eff prod mgr, Perpetual Motion Pictures
Model shop supv, Perpetual Motion Pictures
Model maker, Perpetual Motion Pictures
Model maker, Perpetual Motion Pictures
Model maker, Perpetual Motion Pictures
Asst model maker, Perpetual Motion Pictures
Asst model maker, Perpetual Motion Pictures
Asst model maker, Perpetual Motion Pictures
Asst model maker, Perpetual Motion Pictures
Model stage crew, Perpetual Motion Pictures
Model stage crew, Perpetual Motion Pictures
Model stage crew, Perpetual Motion Pictures
Model stage crew, Perpetual Motion Pictures
Model stage crew, Perpetual Motion Pictures
Video ed, Perpetual Motion Pictures
Computer graphics software, Perpetual Motion Pictu
Computer graphics software, Perpetual Motion Pictu
Admin, Perpetual Motion Pictures
Addl visual eff by
Addl visual eff by
Titles by
MAKEUP
Key makeup artist
Makeup artist
Key hairstylist
Asst hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Casting
Casting
Exec in charge of prod
Prod supv
Unit mgr
Prod assoc
Prod coord
Prod advisor
Unit coord
Underwater coord
Prod accountant
Asst prod coord
Asst to Mr. A. De Laurentiis
Asst to Mr. A. De Laurentiis
Asst to Mr. G. Cosmatos
Asst prod accountant
Asst prod accountant
Computer op
Post prod supv
Prod coord, Malta
Scr supv, Malta
Unit pub
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stunt coord
Stunts
Underwater stunts
Underwater stunts
Underwater stunts
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col supv
Col by
DETAILS
Release Date:
17 March 1989
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 17 March 1989
Production Date:
began 18 April 1988
Physical Properties:
Sound
Spectral Recording Dolby Stereo in Selected Theatres
Color
The majority of this film was photographed on AGFA XT Color Negative
Lenses
Cameras and lenses by J-D-C
Duration(in mins):
98
MPAA Rating:
R
Countries:
Italy, United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
29642
SYNOPSIS

16,000 feet below the Atlantic Ocean a team of miners finish the eighty-seventh day of a ninety-day mission, when DeJesus’s suit malfunctions and loses air. Beck, the team leader, orders the miners to rush DeJesus to the habitat module. His next call to “Doc” for medical aid goes unanswered, but DeJesus gets aboard just as his suit runs out of oxygen. Later, the crew’s resentment against Doc grows when he joins them in the mess hall and does not apologize for not being at his station during the crisis. To prevent a mutiny, Beck tells the crew if they do some light maintenance on the habitat, they can have the next day off. “Sixpack,” a redneck drill jockey, plants a crab in DeJesus’s suit to scare Willie, a British woman, when she repairs it. He is chastised by Bowman, a red headed woman, who orders him to clean the day room. Down in the engine room, Cobb, an older mechanic, shows Jones, another drill operator, how to fix the carbon recycler with chewing gum. Beck calls topside to talk to Martin, a high powered female executive who insists Doc is a qualified researcher although a serum he developed killed some people. Beck turns down her offer to talk to Doc about his lax attitude. The next day, Sixpack is drilling when he falls off a cliff and loses radio contact. Willie goes after him, and discovers a sunken ship named Leviathan. Bowman runs the name through the computer to learn the ship is listed as ... +


16,000 feet below the Atlantic Ocean a team of miners finish the eighty-seventh day of a ninety-day mission, when DeJesus’s suit malfunctions and loses air. Beck, the team leader, orders the miners to rush DeJesus to the habitat module. His next call to “Doc” for medical aid goes unanswered, but DeJesus gets aboard just as his suit runs out of oxygen. Later, the crew’s resentment against Doc grows when he joins them in the mess hall and does not apologize for not being at his station during the crisis. To prevent a mutiny, Beck tells the crew if they do some light maintenance on the habitat, they can have the next day off. “Sixpack,” a redneck drill jockey, plants a crab in DeJesus’s suit to scare Willie, a British woman, when she repairs it. He is chastised by Bowman, a red headed woman, who orders him to clean the day room. Down in the engine room, Cobb, an older mechanic, shows Jones, another drill operator, how to fix the carbon recycler with chewing gum. Beck calls topside to talk to Martin, a high powered female executive who insists Doc is a qualified researcher although a serum he developed killed some people. Beck turns down her offer to talk to Doc about his lax attitude. The next day, Sixpack is drilling when he falls off a cliff and loses radio contact. Willie goes after him, and discovers a sunken ship named Leviathan. Bowman runs the name through the computer to learn the ship is listed as being on active duty in the Baltic Sea. Willie pushes on and discovers Sixpack carrying a safe and proclaiming his new-found wealth. Onboard, the crew opens the Leviathan safe to find a videotape of the Captain’s log, a flask of vodka, which Sixpack steals, and files marked deceased. As Beck views the videotape, Doc translates the Russian Captain reporting his whole crew is down with a strange disease, but the tape cuts off before he can give any details. Later, Sixpack and Bowman share the stolen vodka. The next day, Sixpack reports to sickbay where Doc discovers Sixpack’s skin is becoming scale-like. Beck calls Martin to request a medical evacuation, but after being informed that an early departure will be a black mark on his record, he decides to wait for their scheduled pick-up. In sickbay, Doc takes a skin sample from Sixpack and discovers his cells are mutating. He sends his findings topside to a Naval hospital, and learns that this is an unknown disease. After Sixpack dies, Doc and Beck teleconference with Martin and demand immediate evacuation, but she tells them a hurricane is nearing, preventing pick-up for at least twelve hours. Not wanting to alarm the crew, Doc and Beck keep Sixpack’s death a secret. Meanwhile, Bowman gets so sick that Willie and Jones carry her to sickbay. They go to find Doc, leaving Bowman to discover her skin is also becoming scaly and her hair is falling out. She goes to see Sixpack and finds his dead body mutating into a monster, then she runs into a shower and slashes her wrists. Beck finds her body and puts it with Sixpack’s. He calls a conference to explain about the hurricane. Hearing glass breaking in sickbay, Doc and Beck rush to find both corpses have merged and are further mutating. Fearing contamination, they put the bodies into a body bag and have the crew carry them to the airlock. A claw rips open the bag and scratches Cobb. They hurl the bodies into the airlock and slam it shut, but a deformed leg is chopped off and falls unseen onto the deck. It rolls into a desalination unit where an eel-like creature wiggles out of the severed limb. After Doc and Beck view footage of the sunken ship, they realize the crew’s skeletons are malformed. Doc suggests the Russians were conducting genetic experiments to create humans who could live underwater. Later, DeJesus and Jones are in the mess hall when the creature leaps from an overhead compartment and chews its way into DeJesus’s chest. Jones rushes out of the room and activates the airlock. He returns with Doc and Cobb to discover the monster has chewed through a steel door. Then the lights go out. After finding Willie, Beck explains everything to the crew. Doc reports that the creature has eaten their blood supply, which means the creature is growing and getting hungry. Also, the fact that it knew where the blood supply was indicates it absorbs its victims’ memories. Armed with power saws, drills and flamethrowers, the crew searches for the creature. Doc and Cobb see sparks coming from a cable box. Cobb puts his saw down to fix it and the monster latches onto his leg. Doc cuts it in two with a saw, but both pieces wiggle away. Realizing they cannot escape, Beck decides to set a trap. He has Doc take blood from each of the crew, then he and Jones, armed with flamethrowers, smear a trail of blood to the dive platform at the outer airlock. Doc leaves Willie and Cobb, claiming he is getting bandages for Cobb’s wounds, but he goes to the bridge and releases the escape pods. He returns to Cobb and Willie to discover Cobb’s chest has something inside it. Cobb lifts his hands to reveal teeth growing in his palms and attacks Doc as Willie escapes. In a passageway she sees the first monster, which has become a biped with multiple arms. Before she can scream, Beck yanks her into a suit room. Realizing there are two creatures, Beck decides to abandon ship. He, Willie and Jones rush to the bridge and discover a message Doc sent to the company stating he released the escape pods to contain the disease and for them not to attempt a rescue. Beck calls Martin who claims the hurricane has worsened and it will be another forty-eight hours before they can be rescued. Beck attempts to check the weather report, but the computer denies him access. Willie pulls up a news report that lists the crew names as deceased due to an underwater accident. Alarms go off and a computerized voice states pressure is dropping and implosion of the complex will occur in ten minutes. Finding the main air vent damaged, Jones tells the crew their only chance is to use the diving chamber’s air supply. As they make for the airlock, one of the creatures attacks. They burn it to death with the flamethrowers. Another appears, but dripping water has extinguished both flamethrowers, so Beck rips out two wires and electrocutes the monster. The habitat begins to break up around them, as another creature, which still has Doc’s face, grabs Beck. Beck uses a saw to cut off its arm. Finding they are unable to reach the air valves, Beck orders Jones and Willie to get into their diving suits, then attaches floats to their suits. Another creature arrives wearing DeJesus’s face. Beck hits the button to lower his crewmen into the ocean, then pours flammable liquid onto the floor, lighting it with a flare. As the creature battles the blaze, Beck gets suited, and lowers himself outside the module seconds before it implodes. Upon reaching the surface, the three survivors find sunny skies. They fire a flare at a Coast Guard helicopter. As the airship descends, the DeJesus creature breaks the surface and kills Jones. Beck hurls an explosive into its jaw and it blows up. They are flown to an oil rig where Martin greets them. When she claims she knew Beck would survive, he punches her in the face and walks away with his arm around Willie. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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