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At sinister carnival The Garden of Evil, the main attraction is Goliath, "world's largest gorilla...cost the lives of 1,000 men before his capture." Barker Joey Matthews is about to enter the gorilla act, teamed with seductive mantrap Laverne, the owner's wife. Then a man is found dead of a broken neck. Was it Goliath or someone wearing Joey's gorilla suit? Detective Sgt. Garrison finds four interlocked romantic triangles among the suspects... Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
The title of this film would bring to mind the myriad low budget shockers from the 50's. But with a cast including Anne Bancroft, Lee Marvin, Raymond Burr, Cameron Mitchell, Lee J. Cobb, John Kellogg, and Warren Stevens, we're talking 8 Academy Award nominations, and 2 wins. That doesn't sound like the typical low budget 50's shocker and this Technicolor 3-D thriller is nothing of the sort. Of course, none of the nominations had yet occurred, and whether this film was the springboard that launched the careers of the aforementioned actors is no absolute. But there is no question that shortly after this film all of them began to appear on a regular basis in more important roles and in more important films and television, the most successful examples being Anne Bancroft, Lee Marvin, Raymond Burr and Lee J. Cobb. And this film is a perfect example of Lee Marvin's early work where it was obvious he was emblazoned with "Star". Oddly, it was the director Harmon Jones whose career seemed to go downhill after this film. After having previously directed such notable efforts as, Paddy Chayefsky's "As Young as You Feel", the popular biopic "The Pride of St. Louis", "The Silver Whip", "The Kid from Left Field", and "City of Bad Men", Harmon's career seemed from then on to be destined for weekly television episodes.
As for production values, script, suspense and action, the film is not bad. That is with the exception of the man in a gorilla suit which was supposed to be a real gorilla. I guess they were never able to get that right until "Planet of the Apes"! We're fortunate that Fox Movie Channel had rediscovered this peculiar gem. Although the film's current condition is good, a restoration for release on DVD and the inclusion of 3-D glasses would surely be a success.
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