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Robert D. Webb
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>
It's a sad fact that once the technical problems offsetting the impact of 3-D were solved, the public just weren't interested any more. Gorilla at Large is case in point. Here's a film, beautifully photographed in Technicolor and processed by the Technicolor laboratories (not Deluxe DeLousy) with images as sharp as the proverbial pin, with plenty of 3-D thrills provided by both the intriguing murder thriller plot and its colorfully atmospheric circus background, with excellent acting from a top-flight cast, neatly directed and most entertainingly produced, yet seemingly everyone hates it.
Why? Two reasons: (1) Anne Bancroft has spent her whole life rubbishing the film; (2) A technically inept TV presentation in murky color in the United States in the 1980s has given the movie bad word-of-mouth.
When I saw the movie on its first release, the audience loved it, despite the fact that we seeing the picture in a flat version in which the 3-D thrills were robbed of most of their impact.
Gorilla at Large does not pretend to be some pompous dissection of American life along the lines of The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit, but a simple slice of entertaining escapism with some interesting characters (forcefully enacted, as said, by a first-rate cast, including the much self-maligned Miss Bancroft) caught up in a fascinating, pacily directed thriller with A-1 production values.
What more can a movie-lover ask?
If I had a choice between seeing Gorilla at Large and any Fox film (except The Gunfighter) featuring the studio's number-one star, Gregory Peck, I'd unhesitatingly say, "Bring on the gorilla!"
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