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Mighty Joe Young

Entry updated 2 February 2017. Tagged: Film.

Film (1949; vt Mr Joseph Young of Africa). Argosy/RKO. Directed by Ernest B Schoedsack. Written by Ruth Rose, from a story by Merian C Cooper. Cast includes Robert Armstrong, Ben Johnson and Terry Moore. 94 minutes. Black and white, with some tinted sequences.

A virtual remake, though on a smaller scale, of King Kong (1933), by much the same team that produced that classic. The hero organizes a cowboy expedition to Africa to capture animals for his new night-club. Once there they encounter a 12ft (3.7m) gorilla and, after failing to lasso it, discover it is a girl's pet. They persuade her to return with the ape to the USA, where it is exhibited in a nightclub. Finally it goes berserk, but redeems itself by rescuing children from a burning orphanage. Special-effects genius Willis H O'Brien had few successes after King Kong but at least Mighty Joe Young, on which he supervised the model animation, won him some belated recognition as well as an Academy Award. Also working on the film was the young Ray Harryhausen. [JB]

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