Valley of Gwangi, The

Tagged: Film

Film (1969). Morningside/Warner-Seven Arts. Produced by Charles H Schneer. Directed by James O'Connolly. Written by William E Bast, with additions by Julian More. Dinosaur animation by Ray Harryhausen. Cast includes Richard Carlson, James Franciscus, Gila Golan and Laurence Naismith. 95 minutes. Colour.

Cowboys discover a hidden valley in Mexico where surviving Dinosaurs still live. They capture Gwangi, an allosaur, roping it like a steer, and take it back to civilization to put it on display in a stadium; but, like King Kong, Gwangi escapes and goes on the rampage, until finally cornered in a church. The Valley of Gwangi had long been a pet project of Willis O'Brien, who wanted to make it in 1942 and saw a 1950s version reach the screen as The Beast of Hollow Mountain (1956; vt Valley of the Mists). Ray Harryhausen, O'Brien's special-effects protegé, finally brought it to life, and, although usually rated a poor film, it is one of the more cheerful and entertaining showcases for Harryhausen's stop-motion animation – the cowboy versus dinosaur scenes comprise one of the great sequences of B-movie lunacy. But it flopped. [PN/DRL]

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