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4 out of 5 stars
Gorilla At Large
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39 of 39 people found the following review helpful
on September 17, 2007
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
This review is for "Gorilla at Large", the reason I bought this disc. In 1954, the 3-D craze was at its' peak--especially with horror films and this included the gorilla movie as scare factor. 1954 saw "Phantom of the Rue Morgue" and "Gorilla at Large" pawing their way into theaters in 3-D and Technicolor, with better than average budgets. "Gorilla at Large" is set in a seedy carnival around a lurid sideshow called "The Garden of Evil" where beautiful trapeze star Mlle. LaVerne ( a young and beautiful Anne Bancroft paying her starlet dues) swings seductively over a gorilla pit where mankiller ape Goliath reaches for her, threatening to yank her down at any moment. LaVerne's troubled and hot-tempered husband (a stoic Raymond Burr) jealously oversees her act and LaVerne. He also manages the carnival. Two problematic things occur: a hunky new stuntman for LaVerne ( a young, hunky Cameron Mitchell) for a dangerous new thrill in her act and a brutal murder. The murder shuts the carnival down and brings in a hardnosed cop (Lee J. Cobb). Everyone suspects Goliath and his sinister trainer when another murder occurs. But there's more than meets the eye in the "Garden of Evil". This is a well made, enjoyable thriller with two gorillas. One a stunt man in a bad gorilla suit and the other being Goliath. The stunt man is supposed to step in at key moments in LaVerne's act when the ape gets too close to thrill the audience. The carnival atmosphere is colorful, lurid and vivid. The acting is above par as is the cast---a young Lee Marvin has a comedy relief role as a dumb lanky cop. The 3-D effects are noticable with Goliath and the dizzying carnival rides. And there's a wonderful scene where Goliath goes on a rampage through the deserted carnival one night inadvertantly setting off the rides, causing the whole park to come alive like a haunted fairgrounds. Later, he reaches through a window for a screaming Bancroft as she lies seductively clad in a sexy negligee. The cheesecake factor with Bancroft is rampant throughout. This IS a beauty and the beast tale afterall but one with a twist---it's also a murder mystery. Who's committing the murders Goliath or someone in the stunt suit? And will Goliath finally have at the teasing seductress LaVerne? See this for cheesy but fun 50's thrills and watch as soon-to-be-stars pay their dues in a gorilla movie. "Gorilla at Large" is a genuine time capsule from the 3-D 50's complete with a better than average cast, in gorgeous Technicolor and preserved in a nice print on this disc. Worth owning for old Hollywood star watchers. Enjoy. And don't make Goliath mad....
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on September 20, 2007
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
Midnight Movie Madness continues with great stuff from the past. The movie
mystery on Monster Island is so well preserved that it looks like it was
just recently made. Saw this movie as a kid, and one of the characters is
as stupid as i remember him...but was well worth seeing this movie again.
Nice to see Peter Cushing again...Enjoy
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVD
Like the other reviewers here, I really only bought this set because I dearly wanted GORILLA AT LARGE. Honestly, the less said about MYSTERY ON MONSTER ISLAND (1981) the better. Well, at least it stars Peter Cushing but the movie is a complete snooze. Better stick to men in ape suits and Anne Bancroft prancing about in a sexy trapeze outfit.

...which leads us back to GORILLA AT LARGE...

Filmed at the height of the 3-D craze, GORILLA AT LARGE (1954) isn't a horror film as much as it is a mystery crime thriller. Fox contract players Cameron Mitchell and Anne Bancroft star and add lots of extra gloss to this tawdry tale of a series of murders in a circus. The setting is a circus called the Garden of Evil, where the star attraction is Goliath, a gorilla (and played very obviously by a man wearing a chimp suit). Anne Bancroft is Mlle. Laverne, a trapeze artist whose whole act revolves around swinging above Goliath's enclosure. When a series of grisly murders start taking place, all fingers point to Goliath, but things are never what they appear to be, especially in a seedy dive like the Garden of Evil...

Anne Bancroft, paying off her 20th Century-Fox starlet commitments, gives a splendid performance. She's matched every step of the way by co-stars Raymond Burr, Cameron Mitchell and Lee J. Cobb. Co-produced by Panoramic Productions, GORILLA AT LARGE is lots of fun. Extra features include an animated photo gallery, a brief B&W trailer and the original 'Intermission' titlecard.

It's a pity that the only way we can get GORILLA AT LARGE is by buying the hopelessly hokey MYSTERY ON MONSTER ISLAND as well, but just be glad this classic gem has finally surfaced on DVD.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on January 30, 2009
Format: DVD
This is one sloppily put together Double Feature.
While the packaging is nice,offering two seperate DVDs instead of the usual dual layer format,and both prints for the films are beautiful,re-mastered latterbox prints,neither film goes together with the other.

Gorilla at Large(1954) is a VERY fun timewaster with a great cast,and deals with murders committed at a sideshow.
The second is a 1981 US/Spanish production that features Peter Cushing in a small role in a film,supposedly based on Jules Verne.

Of the two,Gorilla at Large is a very well made thriller about a person committing murders in an ape suit!
Cameron Mitchell is the hero,Charlotte Austin(who will be involved in more monkey business in the Ed Wood written,Bride of the Beast(1958) is his girlfriend.
Raymond Burr plays a red herring,Lee J.Cobb plays a hard boiled detective(very well,too!),Lee Marvin(!) plays a cop on the case and Anne Bancroft steals it as a very sexy lady who has an interesting act with an ape.
Check this one out!

Mystery on Monster island(1981) is a bogus adventure film,set in the turn of the century about ship wreck survivors who get involved in high jinks on a mysterious island.
The film tries to be funny,and while pleasane,becomes something of a chore to sit through.
Before you complain about the monsters on the screen,understand that they are MEANT to be bogus,however,that just causes more problems with the plot.
Despite top billing,Peter Cushing is only in the film in the beginning and end,and dosen't have much to do.
Spanish Horror great,Paul Naschy,is wasted in a two minute cameo in the beginning,getting shot several times before blowing up a cave!(His name is credited as "Flint"!)
The locations are beautiful,but the film is overlong and has no real drive and feels like a waste of time.
Really not much more than could be said about this film.

Buy the double feature for Gorilla at large,but only the curious need see the latter.

Have fun!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVD
A real mixed bag here. One awesome flick, one horrible flick. The awesome: GORILLA AT LARGE, a solid circus noir with Raymond Burr, Cameron Mitchell and a very volutuous young Anne Bancroft--who routinely scoffed at the film once she became a "serious" actress--caught up in a clever puzzler involving a killer in a gorilla suit settling old scores on the fairgrounds and an actual gorilla that escapes its handler at suspiciously opportune times. This film, original in stereoscopic 3-D, gained a small second life in the early 80's when it was broadcast on many local American affiliate TV stations in anaglyphic 3-D (ugh!) much to the delight of kids like myself who were armed and ready (for headaches, mostly) with our specially purchased paper 3-D glasses. BWANA DEVIL also got this treatment, but GORILLA's a far more engrossing experience. The Spanish production THE MYSTERY ON MONSTER ISLAND (1981), on the other hand, is an utter waste of time. Peter Cushing and Terence Stamp each take top billing for about eight minutes screen time apiece, although one can't blame the producers for using such a ruse to lure audiences to this undeserving junk. Stamp's "character" appears for most of the film's climax, but he and his men are conveniently clad from head to toe so the producers can simply loop in Stamp's voice while some unnamed schmoe waves his arms around! The real stars are the lamentable non-actor Ian Sera, a regular for director Juan Piquer Simon (PIECES), and British vet David Hatton. Their adventure stranded on an island with an assortment of ridiculous creatures (including one dinosaur thingy that looks rather . . . inflated), an oh-so-clever monkey and a beautiful girl causes so much eye-rolling it hurts.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on November 12, 2008
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
I am the world's biggest 3-D movie nut. As 3-D movies of the golden era go, "Gorilla at Large" does not command the same respect "House of Wax," "Kiss Me Kate," "Hondo," and others do. But for entertainment value, it's a real contender.

Take the cast: where else would you expect to find Cameron Mitchell, Lee J. Cobb, Raymond Burr, Anne Bancroft, and Lee Marvin sharing the screen with George Barrows in a gorilla suit? Nowhere!

And take the setting: the long-gone Nu-Pike amusement park in Long Beach, California. The scenes shot on location, though fleeting, offer a trip through time to a bygone era. Picture Walt Disney strolling through here for ideas on what to do-- and what not to do-- in the project he was then building down in Anaheim! (I notice there are no live gorillas at Disneyland. Coincidence?)

And, while you won't be getting stereoscopic 3-D on this disc, the colors are every bit as lively and vivid as the archival prints screened at recent 3-D Film Expos in Hollywood.

As for "Mystery on Monster Island," I haven't watched it. Perhaps you and I both would do well to consider it an unrequested bonus.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 28, 2013
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
I only bought this package deal (and just kept the half I wanted) for the excellent Gorilla at Large. The second movie is dreck and I’ve already forgotten the title.
Gorilla at Large is a mystery with a lot of suspects: Cameron Mitchell and Raymond Burr primarily. There are scandals galore, accidently mentioned in passing to the detective in charge (played with exasperated charm by Lee J. Cobb). Lee Marvin is a hoot as a blustering cop who’s not overly bright. Peter Whitney, as the gorilla’s keeper, is a lumbering menace everyone seems to overlook. The entire cast delivers fine performances. Yes, the 3D gimmicks look strange in a non-3D presentation. And some of the plot devices are a little overused (scaling a roller coaster has been done to death). But, I’ve always enjoyed watching this movie, even after knowing who-did-it. A great addition to my collection. (I would not, however, classify this film as horror. I don’t know why so many people have designated it as such. It’s a mystery, plain and simple.)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
It's about time Gorilla at Large has finally seen the light of day, too bad it's not the 3-D version though. I remember back in 1982, the movie was shown on a local TV station in 3-D, and the glasses had to be purchased at 7-11 or a grocery chain, been so long I can't remember. The print is PRISTINE and Vibrant and looks good on the 16X9 monitor.

OK, Mystery on Monster Island, perhaps this was added just for dunnage? No, this film is King of the B-movies, David Hatton is over the top, He's like... Jar Jar Binks in Star Wars: Episode I, a REAL pain in the... Speaking of Star Wars, Peter Cushing stars, briefly I might add, in the first and last 10 minutes of the film. It was nice to see Terence Stamp, a really good actor. Yes, the film is...
R e a l l y BAD, But My 2 year old son loved it, so maybe that's the point. The Print is clean and presented in the 16X9 ratio.

Most would consider these B-movies, or worse, but then again that's the whole point of the Midnight Movies' Double Feature DVD series - Pure Fun!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 18, 2011
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
So far, I've only watched Gorilla at Large, for which I have the following comments. This 1954 film has a fine cast, a very good script, and decent acting. Overall, it's an entertaining film. The widescreen picture is enhanced for 16:9 TVs and of very good quality.
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on February 28, 2014
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
I had the good fortune to be able, age 14, to be able to take the bus downtown to the Pike in Long Beach, CA, while they were doing their location stuff for Gorilla at Large, late at night. It was great fun and so of course I loved the movie and still do [although I never got to see it in 3D! Damn!!!]. I also have the autographs of most of the principals and one of the featured players - one Charlotte Austin, who is the daughter of one of the great early "crooners" of pop music in the 20's & 30's, Gene Austin, who even made LP's. I had come across his recordings of Ramona & others and always thought he was a great performer, so her signature was extra special to me!
Beautiful transfer - I just wish it were 3D!
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