Mighty Joe Young (1949)

Mighty Joe Young (1949)

Director: Ernest B Shoedsack
Starring: Terry Moore, Ben Johnson, Robert Armstrong

A girl raises a baby gorilla that grows into a giant and catches the eye of a fast-talking promoter looking for a new act.

I remember when I saw trailers for the remake of Mighty Joe Young when it came out and thinking it was just some lame King Kong rip-off. It might be more accurate to call it a pseudo-sequel. There's no relation to King Kong's story, but a lot of the same staffers worked on King Kong and Son of Kong before this. The story and the characters aren't great. At least they didn't do much for me and the third act really dragged. The film is notable, however, for being the feature debut of Ray Harryhausen and if some accounts are to believed, he did most of the work under the supervision of Willis O'Brien. Harryhausen's best work was yet to come, but in the interest of the history of special effects, you may find this movie worth checking out.