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The Valley of Gwangi (1969)

G | | Adventure, Sci-Fi, Thriller | 1969 (UK)
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 ... See full summary »

Director:

(as James O'Connolly)

Writers:

(screenplay) (as William E. Bast), (additional material)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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...
...
...
...
...
Dennis Kilbane ...
Mario De Barros ...
Bean
Curtis Arden ...
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Storyline

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 <hamel@primate.wisc.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Cowboys Battle Monsters in the Lost World of Forbidden Valley.


Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

1969 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

The Valley--Where Time Stood Still  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This was the last film where Ray Harryhausen's stop-motion effects technique was billed as "Dynamation". Starting with his next film, The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1973), Dynamation would be rebranded as "Dynarama". See more »

Goofs

In the end chaos a number of people run into a church (pursued by the dinosaur). Some men outside try to open another set of very large church doors to let everyone back out to escape (or to assist in fighting the dinosaur once inside themselves). They are unable to open the doors, but keep trying to. In the utter chaos they surely cannot know how many people ran inside via another entrance, and the doors they are pulling are opaque. When the people trapped inside free themselves and emerge through the doors however (which were locked from the inside and that explains the difficulty the men outside had), the men outside see them come out, and immediately retire without looking inside and cease trying to help or get in, even though no words are exchanged. How did the men outside know the few people who emerged were the entire trapped contingent? For all they know there could still be people inside with the dinosaur. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Carlos: [yelling across a canyon] Miguel!
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Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: Somewhere South of the Rio Grande . . . . . . . At the turn of the Century See more »

Connections

Referenced in Ray Harryhausen: Special Effects Titan (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Gypsy Flamenco
(uncredited)
Music by Roland Harker
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Engaging Cowboys Vs. Dinosaurs Story
13 November 2002 | by See all my reviews

The Valley of Gwangi is a film that, through cult enjoyment of its quality, has managed to overcome the problems that made it "forgotten" in motion pictures to enjoy its present status as a fantasy classic.

Originally written by King Kong's Willis O'Brien, Gwangi's script was never filmed, but a copy owned by Ray Harryhausen stored in his garage was resurrected in 1966. With additional work by writer William Bast, The Valley Of Gwangi was approved by Kenneth Hyman of Seven Arts Inc, which had financed Harryhausen's film with Raquel Welsh, One Million Years B.C. and who had purchased into the Warner Brothers studio.

Filming took place in Spain and lasted two years, mostly due to the time needed by Harryhausen to animate the dinosaurs. Given that the film employed over 300 animation shots (the most of any Harryhausen film), it was expected that release would not come until two years after principal photography had been completed.

The extra time paid off in Harryhausen's best animation. Adding enormously were the superior sound FX employed by Warner Brothers, giving dinosaur voices far more menacing and believeable than those used by Columbia or Hammer; attention to peripheral sound FX is also striking, notably in the finale within the enormous cathedral, where the echo of Gwangi's breathing and footsteps adds greatly to the drama.

The human cast also works well, notably star James Franciscus. The story involves the efforts of a struggling wild west show in circa-1900 Mexico. To boost attendance, owner T.J. Breckenridge (Gila Golan, cast in the film as a favor to Ken Hyman) has found a tiny horse - which turns out to be a prehistoric Eohippus, and which comes from a Forbidden Valley filled with dinosaurs. One is known as Gwangi, a belligerent allosaur that, after an extremely long chase that sidetracks to a bloody battle with a styracosaur, is captured and put on display in T.J.'s show, only to be set free and rampage through the nearby town.

Harryhausen's animation is the film's highlight, but the performances, Erwin Hillier's cinematography, and Jerome Moross' superb score all add up to an immensely enjoyable film. It suffered, though, as Kenneth Hyman was let go during filming and new Warners management released the film without publicity and as part of a double-bill with a biker film, thus missing the youthful audience that was the film's target. The film was largely forgotten until cult attention in the 1980s and '90s elevated general interest and has made it a favorite of fantasy film buffs.


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