|THE VALLEY OF GWANGI (director: James O'Connolly; screenwriters: Julian More/William Bast; cinematographer: Erwin Hillier; editor: Henry Richardson; music: Jerome Moross; cast: James Franciscus (Tuck Kirby), Gila Golan (T.J.), Richard Carlson (Champ), Laurence Naismith (Professor Bromley), Freda Jackson (Tia Zorina), Gustavo Rojo (Carlos), Dennis Kilbane (Rowdy), Mario de Barros (Bean), Curtis Arden (Lope), Jose Burgos (Dwarf); Runtime: 95; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Charles H. Schneer; Warner Bros.; 1969)|
implausible B film fantasy
venture. But it should delight the fans of
special effects maven Ray
Harryhausen more than others."
by Dennis Schwartz
An implausible B
film fantasy sci-fi venture. But it should delight
the fans of special effects maven Ray
Harryhausen more than others. The film was a
commercial flop upon its release. It's directed by
the Brit James O'Connolly ("Crooks
and Coronets"/"Sophie's Place"/ "Horror on Snape
Island"), and is written by Julian More and
William Bast. The filmmaker reworks the King
Kong legend into a strange hybrid Western and dinosaur
complex stop-motion effects
keeps you dazzled even if you dismiss the routine
narrative as drivel.
turn-of-the-20th century, the world-weary
showbiz promoter Tuck Kirby (James
Franciscus) visits in rural Mexico his
ex-partner and girlfriend, T. J.
Breckenridge (Gila Golan), who
operates a struggling touring Wild West
show. He wants her to sell the show and marry
him, and live with him a quiet life on a Wyoming
ranch. But her cowboy worker, Carlos (Gustavo
Rojo), a gypsy, brings her a
prehistoric miniature horse for the show his
brother Miguel gives him before dying, and she
decides to make it an exhibit. But when the
local gypsies find out about it, they steal it
to return it to the forbidden valley. The
elderly blind gypsy seer (Freda
Jackson) warns the area will be
cursed if the prehistoric horse is not returned.
But the glory seeking blustery Brit
Naismith), doing research in the
area, follows the gypsies to the forbidden
valley to steal the creature for science. He
wants to research the animal and for him to be
honored by his country for making the greatest
discovery of the century--the discovery of a creature
extinct for over 50 million
years. Also following the
gypsies are the orphan child guide Lope (Curtis
Arden), T.J., Tuck, and the cowboys from TJ's
Inside the hidden forbidden valley, the Wild West show pursuers discover the 14-foot reptile, an Allosaurus dinosaur, they call Gwangi, and try capturing him for their exhibit. He kills one of the cowboys, but gets trapped and dragged back to town. When T.J. puts him on exhibit in the town's arena, the blind seer has her dwarf (Jose Burgos) free Gwangi so he can return to the forbidden valley. Instead, when free, Gwangi goes on a killing rampage and finally goes up in flames when trapped in the town's cathedral.
It was shot in Almeria, Spain.
REVIEWED ON 12/29/2015 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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