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Mighty Joe Young (1949)

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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:

Merian Cooper's amazing adventure in the unusual! 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

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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 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

This was the first feature film to which Ray Harryhausen contributed stop-motion animation effects. 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

Jill Young: [after O'Hara and Crawford have fled] Aren't you afraid of Joe?
Gregg Johnson: I sure am, but I don't want him to know it.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: Africa See more »

Alternate Versions

Also available in a computer colorized version. See more »


Soundtracks

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

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

Absolutely Charming!
15 July 2000 | by BaronBl00dSee all my reviews

Of all the great ape films, this one made by the same folks that brought us King Kong and Son of Kong has to be the most charming. The story is simple enough about a young girl that raises a gorilla from infancy in the wilds of Africa to be wooed and wowed by an American showman looking for acts in Africa. The showman sees her gorilla and the way she can make it listen and do tricks...and soon both beast and beauty are off to the US to star in a night club act of all things. Terry Moore is a real cutie portraying the girl. The showman is played by...well who else but the same man responsible for bringing King Kong to New York City 16 years earlier...Robert Armstrong. The rest of the cast is adequate with Nestor Paiva in a small but crucial role standing out. The real star, however, is the ape itself and the special effects centered around it. This gorilla is brutish yet humane. He is playful and yet serious and somber at times. Willis O'Brien has done it again with the effects and his stop motion animation, with a great deal of improvement since Kong. The best thing about this movie is its heart, and the heart shown between the young girl and her pet/child. Some scenes are very striking in the film. One that stands out the most is the introduction of Mighty Joe Young in the night club with Terry Moore playing the piano. It looks like Busby Berkley choreographed it. Another very powerful scene involves Joe with an orphanage on fire. The scene is tremendous and even tinted red. Very impressive for its release. A True Classic!


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