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.
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
The "cowboys in Africa" sequence in this film used footage originally shot to be used in a planned but not completed follow-up to King Kong (1933), "The Valley of Gwangi". That film (as The Valley of Gwangi (1969)) was eventually made by Ray Harryhausen. 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 »
RKO managed to put out a sweet movie, even with the cheesy backdrops (the African scenes) and special effects (they obviously used toy vehicles in one scene). You'll root for the good guys and laugh at the rougish character played by Robert Armstrong as he schemes to get Joe back home. Look for Irene Ryan (who later played "Granny" on the Beverly Hillbillies) in a quick scene in the nightclub.
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