The Valley of Gwangi
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Customers who bought this item also bought
Cowpokes head into a mysterious Mexican valley to head ’em up and move ’em out. But they’re not looking for little doggies. They’re looking for great big dinosaurs. James Franciscus stars in this thunderous adventure featuring amazing special effects by Ray Harryhausen [The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, Clash of the Titans (1981)]. Franciscus plays a Wild West showman who leads his riding and roping crew into the title region, where prehistoric giants still roam. Thanks to Harryhausen wizardry, fantastic creatures lunge, fight and rampage in scene after dazzling scene (including an awesome sequence where the cowboys rope Gwangi, a razor-toothed allosaurus). Saddle up and join the excitement.
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top customer reviews
Cowpokes head into a mysterious Mexican valley to head ’em up and move ’em out. But they’re not looking for little doggies. They’re looking for great big dinosaurs.
James Franciscus stars in this thunderous adventure featuring amazing special effects by Ray Harryhausen [‘The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms’ and ‘Clash of the Titans’]. James Franciscus plays a Wild West showman who leads his riding and roping crew into the title region, where prehistoric giants still roam. Thanks to Ray Harryhausen wizardry, fantastic creatures lunge, fight and rampage in scene after dazzling scene, including an awesome sequence where the cowboys rope Gwangi, a razor-toothed Allosaurus. Saddle up and join the excitement.
FILM FACT: ‘THE VALLEY OF THE GWANGI’ was the last dinosaur- themed film that Ray Harryhausen animated, and he made much use of his experience in depicting extinct animals from his earlier films. Close to a year was spent on the special effects and there were more than 300 “Dynamation” cuts in the film, a record number for Ray Harryhausen, especially with the roping of the Gwangi being the most labour-intensive animated sequence ever. The ‘THE VALLEY OF THE GWANGI’ was filmed in Almería and Cuenca in Spain. The bullring scenes were shot in Almería in the Plaza de Toros and the finale at Cuenca's cathedral. Some scenes with dinosaurs like the Pteranodon scene or the fight between the Allosaurus and Styracosaurus were filmed in Almería in the Tabernas Desert. The unusual rock formations of Ciudad Encantada, which is a geological site near the city of Cuenca that were used for the forbidden valley scenes in the film.
Cast: James Franciscus, Gila Golan, Richard Carlson, Laurence Naismith, Freda Jackson, Gustavo Rojo, Dennis Kilbane, Mario De Barros, Curtis Arden, Jose Burgos (uncredited) and Robert Rietty (voice) (uncredited)
Director: James O'Connolly
Producers: Charles H. Schneer and Ray Harryhausen
Screenplay: William E. Bast (screenplay), Julian More (additional material) and Willis H. O'Brien (earlier film project "Gwangi") (uncredited)
Composer: Jerome Moross
Cinematography: Erwin Hillier, B.S.C. (Director of Photography)
Video Resolution: 1080p [Technicolor]
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 [Dynamation]
Audio: 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio Mono
Subtitles: English SDH
Running Time: 95 minutes
Region: All Regions
Number of discs: 1
Studio: Warner Bros.-Seven Arts / Warner Archive Collection
Andrew’s Blu-ray Review: ‘THE VALLEY OF THE GWANGI’  finds Tuck Kirby [James Franciscus], Teresa (nicknamed T.J.) [Gila Golan] and Champ [Richard Carlson] star in this James O'Connolly directed helmed cult hit, featuring the animation work of Ray Harryhausen, where at the turn of the century we find a Wild West show struggling to make a living in Mexico where they come into the possession of a tiny prehistoric horse. This leads to an expedition to the Forbidden Valley where they discover living dinosaurs and they capture one and take it back to be put on display, where we find a team of cowboys, led by the impresario figure Tuck Kirby, capture a Tyrannosaurus Rex in a hidden valley in Mexico and they then decide to reveal as the chief attraction in their circus with very bad results, leading to inevitable mayhem.
Directed by Jim O'Connolly and written by William E. Bast, and there are few films as influential as ‘THE VALLEY OF THE GWANGI’ when it comes to thrilling anti-hero antics and special effects, especially the filmmaking is dazzled by the visual thrill of cowboys lassoing dinosaurs and the film’s influence can be seen in everything from ‘Jurassic Park’ to the even more brilliant ‘Cowboys & Aliens’ and the artists who worked on these films studied each and every frame to understand the what and the how in Ray Harryhausen’s stop-motion creations.
‘THE VALLEY OF THE GWANGI’ is based on an original idea from a scrapped project by the brilliant Ray Harryhausen’s mentor, Willis O'Brien, and of course was the man behind the stop-motion effects in the film ‘King Kong’ itself. Ray Harryhausen, who perfected what Willis O’Brien began, and was a certifiable star himself by the time this film began its life and of course Ray Harryhausen was acting out through the amazing creations he brought to life; each possessing a character all its own. Audiences loved it, especially young children. The intricacy in his work was often taken for granted, though, that didn’t change with the arrival of this film in 1969.
‘THE VALLEY OF THE GWANGI’ would not exist without Ray Harryhausen, and neither would it be any good without his tireless work. From the beginning, this was a personal project for the animator, in bringing to life a film that had personal connection that shows throughout the film. With stop-motion special effects that took nearly a year to complete, this is some of Ray Harryhausen’s finest work. The subtlety of characterisation and movement is remarkable. Forget the actors; the “monsters” are the stars of this brilliant film.
The Gwangi, as a character, holds our attention from the minute the dinosaur monster appears on screen and says something about the production value and especially about the Ray Harryhausen's professional artistry when we realise that the Gwangi, the snarling dinosaur created from a table top model, is the most realistically alive character on the screen, and the same goes for the creature that sparks off the foray into the secret valley, especially the tiny Eohippus (Dawn Horse) which is so cute and adorable.
‘THE VALLEY OF THE GWANGI’ is full of all sorts of jaw-snapping dinosaurs, the show-stopping “cowboys versus dinosaurs” set-up, where our loyalties are undeniably with the dinosaur. The cowboys themselves and all the characters actually, with the exception of Tuck Kirby’s young sidekick Lope are pretty objectionable, doubly so for a contemporary audience. Gwangi, on the other hand, is just so full of life. His movements are fluid and intricate and it’s easy to forget that he’s a creation of a painstaking frame-by-frame process. Yes, he’s a roaring, snarling, stampeding dinosaur. And it is this scene in which Ray Harryhausen combines live-action with intricate animation skills and creates a truly unforgettable cinematic wonder that has grown in influence to become the benchmark of important and lasting visual effects. Many visual artists have studied this scene to help with their own understanding of the articulation their own work who were heavily influenced by the master that was Ray Harryhausen, who honestly creates one of his most fully realised monsters with the Gwangi, who does not disappoint.
Cue some brilliant Ray Harryhausen set pieces: Gwangi versus the Elephant! Gwangi versus the Styracosaurus! Gwangi rampages around a cathedral! The scene where the cowboys lasso the Gwangi’s neck multiple times deserves special mention too; it was a lengthy and tricky process for Ray Harryhausen, and meant exactly matching animated ropes to real ones. All in all, Gwangi is the real hero, the victim and the antagonist of the film. Not only do we sympathise with the Gwangi, we come away with the impression that although nature might be savage, we humans are the ones who are barbarous.
‘THE VALLEY OF THE GWANGI’ is a very likable fantasy-western, full of nostalgic value for big kids who remember it and quite enjoyable for new audiences that are discovering it for the first time on this Blu-ray format. But it is a totally pleasant fare all the same and definitely a guilty pleasure from a bygone era. There are some fantasy, science fiction, and horror films that not every fan has seen. Not every film ever made has been seen by the audience that lives for such fare. Some of these deserve another look, and not every film should remain obscure, and that is why ‘THE VALLEY OF THE GWANGI’ should be a must view and to also enjoy the master of magic fantasy that is Ray Harryhausen. ‘THE VALLEY OF THE GWANGI’ is a very likable fantasy-western, evoking nostalgia for who remembers the film from their childhood and providing solid entertainment for new audiences who are discovering it for the first time. There are a few shortcomings but this is enjoyable fare nonetheless. ‘THE VALLEY OF THE GWANGI’ should have hit big when it came out; it is imaginative and exciting. However, the film flopped for two reasons, neither having anything to do with its quality. And even the film’s failure on its initial release had a positive effect: Ray Harryhausen and Charles H. Schneer re-grouped and came back six years later with possibly their greatest film, ‘The Golden Voyage of Sinbad.’ So despite this, it is best summed up as a total guilty pleasure from a bygone era!
Blu-ray Video Quality – Warner Archive Collection has brought us another classic film in their Blu-ray format in a stunning 1080p encoded solid image. It has been transferred in the 1.85:1 aspect ratio to really show off the Special Effects by wizard Ray Harryhausen film in the best way possible and it looks really fantastic and totally excellent with great Technicolor visual experience for a film that was released in 1969. There is also a beautiful grain reproduction effects that highlights this gorgeous Blu-ray disc presentation. But most important there is a generous amount of Technicolor saturate colours for the primaries; and the coating of the Gwangi skin is splendid with his reds, greens, and blues. Never too intense, and the Technicolor are very accurate for the flesh tones. But most importantly all the monsters look totally brilliant in this Ray Harryhausen’s special effects thrilling film in the brilliant Dynamation. There are not any visible signs of age-related wear and tear, so all in all this is an all-around terrific looking visual transfer and is another big win for another Warner Archive Collection Blu-ray disc release.
Blu-ray Audio Quality – Warner Archive Collection has been only able to supply a 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio Mono because of the original soundtrack available when the film was released in 1969. It doesn't have any flaws and the effects carry some weight in the dinosaur and horse’s sound effects, especially the roars have that terrific guttural sound to them and really punch things up when the big bad Gwangi breaks loose and runs amok and there really isn't anything to complain about with this audio mix, especially for the age of the film, because it really holds up very well. Also very pleasant and enjoyable is the western original music score by Jerome Moross that really enhances the ambience enjoyment of the film to great effect and enjoyment.
Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:
Special Feature: Return To The Valley Documentary  [480i] [1.37:1] [8:04] With this special retrospective feature we get Associate Producer/Creator of Special Effects wizard Ray Harryhausen discusses his animation of the Eohippus and Allosaurus in the film ‘THE VALLEY OF THE GWANGI’ . We find out that Charles Scheee [Producer] and Ray Harryhausen were on the lookout for a new project, and Ray found an in his garage an old script for the film ‘THE VALLEY OF THE GWANGI,’ which was the original script that Willis H. O'Brien [Visual Artist] had developed in 1942, and so Ray got hold of scriptwriter to bring the storyline up-to-date, but at the same time keeping in the time period of 1900, but Ray also informs us that the pivotal part of the scenario was the tiny Eohippus (Dawn Horse) featured in the film. Ray Harryhausen also informs us that when the cowboys lasso the Gwangi dinosaur, in reality the cowboys on the horses had a jeep between them with a pole sticking up so the cowboys had something to aim at with their ropes, then Ray Harryhausen had to meticulously match shot for shot with the animated model of the Gwangi dinosaur, that is why people today say that Ray Harryhausen was a total genius. With this extra bonus mini-feature, it features Ray Harryhausen, still hale and hearty at the age of 83 at the time of filming, talking about the film's conception and development. Joining him are several star struck young SFX professionals from Industrial Light + Magic, who they view him as the father of visual effects and appropriately reverent, as they discuss the inspiration that Ray Harryhausen and the Gwangi gave to them and to their work on the film ‘Jurassic Park,’ and remain awestruck as they examine how to lasso an Allosaurus dinosaur, you really get to appreciate what genius work is on display here. Contributors include: Ray Harryhausen [Special Effects Creator], Danny Gordon Taylor [Animation Director for Industrial Light + Magic], Glen McIntosh [Lead Animator for Industrial Light + Magic], Ned Gorman [Visual Effects Producer for Industrial Light + Magic], Peter Daulton [Lead Animator for Industrial Light + Magic] and Tom Bertino [Animation Director for Industrial Light + Magic].
Special Feature: Gwangi and Vanessa  [480i] [1.33:1] [1:03] Here we have a little story about Ray’s wife Diana, daughter Vanessa, and certain dinosaur. This is a quick story about the time Ray Harryhausen's young daughter Vanessa who first saw the Gwangi model. Ray Harryhausen laughs at how his daughter Vanessa played with a Gwangi mock-up as she would with any other doll, and informs us that Diana and Vanessa were in Harrods Food Hall and two old fashioned women pensioners passers-by did not know what to expect when they would take a peek inside daughter’s baby pram, and were totally shocked what they saw, and indignantly told Diana that the child should have a proper doll, as Vanessa would grow up to be a delinquent. So as you can imagine Ray Harryhausen, Diana and Vanessa had a good laugh about the incident.
Theatrical Trailer  [1080i] [1.78:1] [2:44] Here we get to view the Original Theatrical Trailer for the film ‘THE VALLEY OF THE GWANGI.’ This is a totally brilliant presentation and really gives you a flavour of what to expect when you view the actual film. On top of all that, the length of the trailer is more like a mini film that really holds your attention throughout the 2 minutes and 44 seconds running time.
Finally, unfortunately ‘THE VALLEY OF THE GWANGI’ was a massive box office flop, because it was deserted by its marketing team, because the American audiences were put off by the odd title, those who did go to see the film were treated to a sort of rehash of ‘King Kong’ disguised as a Western. Despite such obstacles and especially with Ray Harryhausen's enduring appeal and especially the wonderful charm with which Ray Harryhausen always imbues with every one of his Dynamation films. ‘THE VALLEY OF THE GWANGI’ found a place in the hearts of the many fans around the world of the wonderful Ray Harryhausen magic, and especially me and despite the negativity that this film received, I personally still love it and especially if you really think about it, every movement of these miniatures was miniscule, methodical and especially the dedication that Ray Harryhausen always put so much love into his films. The work was so maddeningly intricate, even as much as a telephone call could derail Ray Harryhausen. On some projects, the level of complexity permitted him to record just 14 frames in an entire day's work, that's barely half a second, in case you were wondering. So saddle up and join the excitement. Highly Recommended!
Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Aficionado
Le Cinema Paradiso
Most recent customer reviews
Set up an Amazon Giveaway
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
Look for similar items by category
- Movies & TV > Blu-ray
- Movies & TV > Blu-ray > Movies
- Movies & TV > Genre for Featured Categories > Horror
- Movies & TV > Genre for Featured Categories > Mystery & Thrillers
- Movies & TV > Genre for Featured Categories > Westerns
- Movies & TV > Movies
- Movies & TV > Studio Specials > Warner Home Video > All Titles
- Movies & TV > Studio Specials > Warner Home Video > Horror
- Movies & TV > Studio Specials > Warner Home Video > Sci-Fi & Fantasy
- Movies & TV > Studio Specials > Warner Home Video > Westerns