Sci-Fi The Valley of Gwangi (1969)

Tom

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Title: The Valley of Gwangi

Tagline: Cowboys Battle Monsters in the Lost World of Forbidden Valley.

Genre: Fantasy, Science Fiction, Thriller, Western, Adventure

Director: Jim O'Connolly

Cast: James Franciscus, Gila Golan, Richard Carlson, Laurence Naismith, Freda Jackson, Gustavo Rojo, Dennis Kilbane, Mario De Barros, Curtis Arden

Release: 1969-07-24

Runtime: 96

Plot: A turn of the century wild west show struggling to make a living in Mexico comes into the possession of a tiny prehistoric horse. This leads to an expedition to the Forbidden Valley where they discover living dinosaurs. They capture one and take it back to be put on display, leading to inevitable mayhem.
The Valley of Gwangi (1969)

 
Cowboy James Franciscus seeks fame and fortune by capturing a Tyrannosaurus Rex living in the Forbidden Valley and putting it in a Mexican circus. His victim, called the Gwangi, turns out to have an aversion to being shown in public. Another film featuring the stop-action special effects talents of Ray Harryhausen.
 
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Ray Harryhausen's eleventh film is yet another monster-filled adventure.

In this one, Richard Carlson ("It Came from Outer Space") is the manager of a traveling rodeo, working the circuit south of the border. His star attraction is Gila Golan ("In Like Flint") with her Italian accent covered by a poorly dubbed voice. James Franciscus ("Beneath the Planet of the Apes") is the cowboy hero.

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~ Gila had a phenomenal figure!
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They all join up with paleontologist Laurence Naismith ("Jason and the Argonaut") in a search for the origin of a miniature prehistoric horse.

The original story for "Gwangi" was conceived back in the 1930s by King Kong's creator, Willis O'Brien, who prepared a series of impressive pre-production drawings for the project. But he was never able to secure financial backing for the project (a sad fate that befell many of O'Brien's wonderful concepts).

Harryhausen, a former protege of O'Brien's, used these drawings to plan many of the scenes in the film — a worthy tribute the great O'Brien. And "Gwangi" contains the most animation of any Harryhausen's film, approximately 27 minutes. Ray's first cinema solo, "Beast from 20,000 Fathoms", barely had 7 minutes total!

I was in the Air Force when I saw this one on a base theater in Ramstein, Germany. It's a huge base, with three movie theaters: one at the two opposite ends of the base and one smack in the middle.

The base would get one print of each movie. They would then play it for three days at the theater located right across the street from my barracks (which was mighty convenient), and then pass it on to the second and third theater for three days each.

So, I could watch a movie three times in a nine day period, at three different theaters. And I got some exercise while walking across the base.

The trailer has a wealth of beautiful scenes from the movie — which wasn't hard to do, because this Harryhausen movie has almost four times as much animation as "Beast from 20,000 Fathoms".


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