Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Valley Of Gwangi (1969)

Starring James Franciscus, Gila Golan, Richard Carlson, Laurence Naismith, Freda Jackson
Directed by Jim O'Connolly
(actor & director credits courtesy IMDB.com)

The cast of a touring Wild West show discover a hidden valley where living prehistoric creatures still exist, and try to capture one for them to exhibit.

Aided by the always high quality effects work of master stop-motion animator Ray Harryhausen, this is an entertaining romp mixing the seemingly impossible combination of cowboys and dinosaurs.  I've heard this was a project first developed by Harryhausen's mentor and King Kong animator Willis O'Brien, and in tribute, the film is staged as something of a King Kong remake, with the captive dinosaur escaping and endangering the movie's female lead, culminating in a climax where the beast eventually meets its fate.  The film is of course not on the same level as the classic King Kong, and is not as well-written or exciting as some of Harryhausen's other films, but still remains a diverting adventure.

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