A cowboy named Tuck Kirby seeks fame and fortune by capturing an Allosaurus 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.
A film crew goes to a tropical island for an exotic location shoot and discovers a colossal ape who takes a shine to their female blonde star. He is then captured and brought back to New York City for public exhibition.
King Kong is brought in by an evil ruler to dig for precious gems in a mine when the robot MechaKong is unable to do the task. This leads to the machine and the real Kong engaging in a tremendous battle that threatens to level Japan.
When a spaceship lands on the moon, it is hailed as a new accomplishment, before it becomes clear that a Victorian party completed the journey in 1899, leading investigators to that mission's last survivor.
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
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 »
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 »
Closing credits epilogue: Good bye from Joe Young See more »
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 »
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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