Jaws Vs. Creature from the Black Lagoon
The cinematic idea of a submerged monster in the water is a scenario that dates before Universal's Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954), but Creature created an effecient, effective template that has been borrowed from many times since (not to forget also the two Creature sequels that Universal put out). Probably none more famously than Steven Spielberg's Jaws (1975) has reused the Creature template.
The improved technology for underwater photography is seen between the time of Creature from the Black Lagoon (which was also a leap forward over the murky underwater photography of the 1930s-40s) up to Spielberg's Jaws.
Even the impressive marketing of Jaws seems to be related directly to scenes from Jack Arnold's 1954 Gill-man movie. The iconic Jaws poster image is a derivation of the cover of the Peter Benchley novel on which Spielberg based his film, and both hearken to the images from Jack Arnold's movie of a lone female swimmer traversing the waves while directly below her a threatening monster lurks.
Jaws vs. Creature from the Black Lagoon
The similarity of visuals aside, the two films are otherwise far apart. The Gill-man has an emotional interest in Julie Adams and this gets him into a lot of trouble with the scientific expedition that is boating atop of his lagoon. Like many classic Universal monsters, there is a way to view the Creature with sympathy despite his rampage of terror.
In Spielberg's movie, though, Jaws has no emotional investment toward the characters in the tale, and appears to only view everything as to whether it can be eaten (or not).
Original page June 20, 2014 | Updated July 2015