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Cowboy James Franciscus seeks fame and fortune by capturing a Tyrannosaurus Rex living in the Forbidden Valley and putting it in a Mexican circus. His victim, called the Gwangi, turns out to have an aversion to being shown in public. Another film featuring the stop-action special effects talents of Ray Harryhausen. Written by
Ray Hamel <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The sound that Gwangi makes is that of a camel and a raspberry run backwards. See more »
When the spectators flee from the arena, one ticket booth is knocked over, leaving the open side facing up. In later shots a closed side faces up, and still later this same booth disappears completely. See more »
The Western fantasy film boosted by some Harryhausen genius.
Shot in Technicolor by Erwin Hillier and in Dynamation, The Valley Of Gwangi sees Tuck Kirby (James Franciscus) and a team of cowboys get more than they bargained for when they enter a hidden valley in Mexico. For here, prehistoric creatures reside and the cowboys come up with the idea of capturing a Tyrannosaurus Rex to become the chief attraction in the circus they work at.
The makers of Gwangi never hid their motivations or homages, from the off they wanted to nod towards King Kong whilst pairing the Western and Fantasy genres in the process. The result of which is an enjoyable if unfulfilled movie that again sees Ray Harryhausen's stop-motion creations save the day. Directed by Jim O'Connolly with a screenplay by William Bast, The Valley Of Gwangi suffers not because of its bonkers plot (this is after all why we watch this type of genre offering), but more because of the slow first half that threatens to put the viewer into torpor. Thankfully the film is saved by the afore mentioned Harryhausen who unleashes prehistoric joys on the B movie cast (tho Laurence Naismith is considerably better than the material given him). While the ending raises the adrenaline sufficiently enough to have made the wait worth while. Jerome Moross lifts from his brilliant score for The Big Country with mixed results; it just feels out of place here, even if it's stirring and pleasing to the ears. And the Almería, Andalucía location work in Spain is at one with the material to hand.
Saturday afternoon monster fun to be enjoyed with either popcorn or something stronger from the drinks cupboard. 6/10
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