The Valley Of Gwangi

  • 1969
  • Movie
  • G
  • Fantasy, Western

Special-effects animator Harryhausen dusted off an old script written by his mentor, Willis O'Brien (KING KONG, 1933), titled "The Valley of the Mist," and decided to make it his next project. Two years later the retitled film, now THE VALLEY OF GWANGI, opened to mediocre reviews and an indifferent public. Anyone bothering to pay attention might have noticed...read more

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Special-effects animator Harryhausen dusted off an old script written by his mentor, Willis O'Brien (KING KONG, 1933), titled "The Valley of the Mist," and decided to make it his next project. Two years later the retitled film, now THE VALLEY OF GWANGI, opened to mediocre reviews and an

indifferent public. Anyone bothering to pay attention might have noticed that Harryhausen's movie contains some of the most breathtaking stop-motion sequences ever put on film. Set in a small Mexican town in the year 1912, the story places circus promoter Franciscus in a strange valley where time

has stopped and prehistoric creatures still live--creatures that he and his men stumble across while trying to capture a tiny horse (believed extinct 50 million years ago), which has turned up in the village. What the little animal leads them to is a giant, ferocious allosaur which the cowboys try

to lasso (this scene stands among Harryhausen's finest moments). After several run-ins with the beast (and other prehistoric creatures, including a pteranodon and a styracosaur), Franciscus and his men eventually subdue the dinosaur and take it back to the circus to display. Of course, the monster

escapes (shades of KONG) and wreaks havoc on the Mexican town before meeting its doom in a burning cathedral. While the human action in the film is a bit stiff (once again), the special effects are exhilarating. Harryhausen was able to achieve an incredible fluidity to his creatures' movements,

and the matte work is nearly perfect. It's a real shame that THE VALLEY OF GWANGI never really found an audience outside the circle of Harryhausen cultists. Well worth a look.

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  • Rating: G
  • Review: Special-effects animator Harryhausen dusted off an old script written by his mentor, Willis O'Brien (KING KONG, 1933), titled "The Valley of the Mist," and decided to make it his next project. Two years later the retitled film, now THE VALLEY OF GWANGI, op… (more)

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