The Valley of Gwangi
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- "Return to the Valley" Harryhausen featurette
- Previews of other Willis H. O'Brien/Ray Harryhausen creature features
Top Customer Reviews
Anyway, a discovery is made of some sort of prehistoric animal, a wee little horse, and we soon find out the animal came from an area called the 'forbidden valley'...or at least that's what it is called by the gypsy-like tribe that seems to live near it, which, by the way, are inclined to believe that the rather wee horse needs to be returned to the valley whence it came of dire consequences involving a curse or some such hooey will follow. Now, getting off on a slight tangent, if I were these gypsies and I wanted to keep people out of the valley, I would have probably called it something else, like valley of the happy flowers, or valley of the nothing to see here, as the forbidden valley just sounds too tempting to strangers and such to not be explored. The gypsies also refer to it at times as the valley of the Gwangi, but they never really get specific as to the exact nature of the Gwangi. So these gypsies end up stealing the wee, small horse and returning it to the 'forbidden' valley, with members of the Wild West circus in hot pursuit.Read more ›
Set around the turn of the century in Mexico, it is a very Kong-like tale of a mighty creature ( the titular Allosaurus with T-Rex attributes ) that is captured in "Forbidden Valley" and brought back to a local Wild West show / circus to make money. The monster flees its bonds and proceeds into a magnificent cathedral, which becomes consumed in a raging inferno and brings about its demise.
Harryhausen, who worked a full year on the special effects, effectively populates a valley that is lost in time with a number of prehistoric animals, which include an equine Eohippus, a "plucked ostrich" called an Ornithomimus and a horned Styracosaurus who fights Gwangi to the death in a memorable sequence. The highlight is a well-staged roping sequence which consumed many months of Ray's time to realize; he had to carefully align the animated ropes on the Gwangi model with real ropes used in live action to snare a Jeep with a pole affixed.
Other key points include the escape of Gwangi from its cage ( a split-screen process was used in the making of this effect ) and battle with an eleplant model, and its fiery finale in the great edifice ( utilizing the optical printer to superimpose flames around the allosaur's feet ). Ray Harryhausen outdid himself for this feature which includes literally hundreds of animation set-ups to concoct the visual effects.
Unfortunately, the live-action sequences do not show as much panache.Read more ›
The film's genesis proved to be most troubling. Schneer and Harryhausen's primary distributor, Columbia Pictures, felt the film would be too expensive (it called for much more in the way of stop-motion animation and film-splicing FX than previous Harryhausen projects), but Ken Myler of Seven Arts (which had financed One Million Years B.C.) liked the project and took it to Warner Brothers when Seven Arts bought into the film company.
Filming took two years and was plagued with problems. There were reports of controversies with director James O'Connelly (Harryhausen wound up directing the majority of the film, though it was mostly because of the sheer quantity of stop-motion/splitscreen effects work needed) and also spats between Schneer and the film's musical composer, Jerome Moross. There was also the matter of Israeli actress Gina Golan, cast as the film's heroine, T.J. Breckenridge; Golan could not speak fluent English, so her voice had to be dubbed for the entire film.
Then, when the film was finished, Ken Myler left Warner Brothers-Seven Arts, and the new management wanted nothing to do with the film, so they dumped it on the market with little more than a poster and a coming attractions trailer as publicity.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A different treatment of the "dinosaurs trapped in our time," genre with cowboys!
Good production values, the magic of Harryhausen at his best (in his last... Read more
You have to be able to appreciate the vast amount of work that the great Ray Harryhausen would put into his stop action, Dynamation. Read morePublished 29 days ago by juan n olivarez
Jurassic park stole from this old favorite. The Harry Hausen special effects are still impressive.Published 2 months ago by Fulano
I love the movie, but the copy I bought did not play well. Stopped a lot and had to skip over some parts.Published 3 months ago by Donna
I love rays stop motion work. This movie has to deal with issues behind the camera that kept it from being the hit it deserved to be.Published 3 months ago by C. Sawyer
You gotta love James Franciscus and effects by Ray Harryhausen. james is a big time entertainment manager in the early 1900's and he makes money, he visits an ex-girlfriend and she... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Russell S
If I was 13 or 15 years old again (when I first watched this movie) I would have sat in disbelief thinking “how cool”… and scared out-of-my mind! Read morePublished 3 months ago by Admiral H. M. Nelson
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