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Mighty Joe Young (1949)

Approved | | Adventure, Drama, Fantasy | 29 August 1949 (Sweden)
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A young woman who has raised a giant gorilla from an infant brings him to Hollywood years later seeking her fortune in order to save her family's ranch.

Writers:

Ruth Rose (screenplay), Merian C. Cooper (from an original story by)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Terry Moore ... Jill Young
Ben Johnson ... Gregg
Robert Armstrong ... Max O'Hara
Mr. Joseph Young ... Himself
Frank McHugh ... Windy
Douglas Fowley ... Jones
Denis Green Denis Green ... Crawford
Paul Guilfoyle ... Smith
Nestor Paiva ... Brown
Regis Toomey ... John Young
Lora Lee Michel ... Jill Young, as a Girl
James Flavin ... Schultz
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Mary Gordon ... Old Woman (unconfirmed)
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Storyline

In Africa, the girl Jill Young trades a baby gorilla with two natives and raises the animal. Twelve years later, the talkative and persuasive promoter Max O'Hara organizes a safari to Africa with the Oklahoma cowboy Gregg to bring attractions to his new night-club in Hollywood. They capture several lions and out of blue, they see a huge gorilla nearby their camping and they try to capture the animal. However, the teenager Jill Young stops the men that intended to kill her gorilla. Max seduces Jill with a fancy life in Hollywood and she signs a contract with him where the gorilla Joseph "Joe" Young would be the lead attraction. Soon she realizes that her dream is a nightmare to Joe and she asks Max to return to Africa. However he persuades her to stay a little longer in the show business. But when three alcoholic costumers give booze to Joe, the gorilla destroys the spot and is sentenced by the justice to be sacrificed. Will Jill, Gregg and Max succeed in saving Joe? Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Striking! Startling! Staggering! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Swahili

Release Date:

29 August 1949 (Sweden) See more »

Also Known As:

Mr. Joesph Young of Africa See more »

Filming Locations:

Thousand Oaks, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,800,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$1,950,000, 31 December 1949
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Argosy Pictures, ARKO See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Color:

Black and White (Sepiatone) (some sequences)| Black and White

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When Mighty Joe Young gets frustrated, he pounds the ground with his fist. Ray Harryhausen was inspired to do this by the scene from King Kong (1933) where Kong pushes open the gates, then forcefully brings his hand down. See more »

Goofs

Max O'Hara challenges Mighty Joe Young with a tug of war against ten of the strongest men alive. Each man demonstrates a feat of strength as they are introduced with a different prop each is holding or wearing. Chains are ripped apart, crowbars and long steel bars are bent, a phone book ripped in half, a large wooden post broken, steel bands snapped off of bulging biceps. After the individual introductions are done the men are shown again as a group and you can see the props are all back to their original state. This is just a repeat of the previous shot of the group before they had a chance to mangle their props. See more »

Quotes

Max O'Hara: And they lived happily ever after.
Windy: I sure hope so.
Max O'Hara: Oh, they will. They're back home where they belong.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Closing credits epilogue: Good bye from Joe Young See more »

Alternate Versions

Although current prints include the restored sepia-tone in some of the later scenes (as presented in the original theatrical release) older television prints are shown in black-and-white only. See more »


Soundtracks

Beautiful Dreamer
(uncredited)
Written by Stephen Foster
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Decent stop-motion adventure
2 September 2013 | by Leofwine_dracaSee all my reviews

MIGHTY JOE YOUNG is essentially a smaller, pared-down re-run of KING KONG, with everything taking place on a smaller scale and perhaps a slightly younger audience in mind. It's nevertheless an extremely watchable and at times powerful piece, one that's at its best when depicting the worst of human nature; namely Joe's transformation from king of the jungle to a side-show freak.

Such films are inevitably dated now, presenting a view of a world long forgotten. Despite this, MIGHTY JOE YOUNG is gripping and exhilarating in equal measure. The opening sequences are slightly twee, but once the action shifts to Hollywood it gets better and better, especially the extended "will they make it?" climax. The scene with the burning building is an incredibly complex set-piece and one which is executed beautifully.

KING KONG guru Willis O'Brien was the guy headlining this production, but by all accounts stop-motion king Ray Harryhausen did most of the work, and Joe is one of his best creations; not only is he a realistic monster, but like the best of the stop-motion beasties, he's a recognisable character too, and one you empathise with. The rest of the production is well-paced and well-made, with a level of finesse raising it above the level of the competition.


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