Until recently, Gorgo was one of those films that I had seen countless stills of in monster magazines and coffee table books dedicated to classic horror films. Thanks to a splendid release from VCI I finally caught up with this King Kong styled film.
Hollywood had Kong, Japan had Godzilla and England had Gorgo thanks to producers Frank and Maurice King.
When deep sea divers Bill Travers (a dead ringer for Stephen Boyd) and William Sylvester find themselves in a remote fishing village with sunken treasure they get more than they bargained for. A dormant volcano has erupted beneath the sea and given birth to a large predator whom our leading men set out to capture with fame and fortune on their minds.
With the aid of some large fishing nets from a trawler they capture our title creature and it’s off to London to showcase their prehistoric creature. Local scientists tell them they believe the creature is no more than a baby. Foreshadowing here as London is about to receive one ticked off parent. A much larger Gorgo descends upon the city and it’s time for the amazing F/X of the day from Tom Howard to take over.
I had no idea what to expect here other than a kiddie picture that I am catching way to late in my life. But my love of giant dinosaur films which includes both Kong and Godzilla now has a new film to hold near and dear. While the beast himself isn’t anything to brag about it’s the overall appeal of the film which caught me by surprise.
We have a cast of talented actors which includes a young Nigel Green and Martin Benson. Splendid photography that adds to the fiery destruction which includes some British landmarks. Big Ben, London Bridge and Piccadilly Square. You have to love the location shots of the monster on a flatbed truck being brought through Piccadilly.
The film follows the basic outline of it’s predecessors like The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms but offers a couple of twists that were new and I imagine unexpected during it’s initial release.
Directing the film was jack of all trades Eugene Lourie who had already helmed The Giant Behemoth in 1959. Gorgo was his final film as a director yet he went on to a successful career as an art director in the sixties on films like Battle of the Bulge and a “B” favorite of mine, A Crack in the World. He had even worked with Chaplin on 1952’s Limelight in the same role.
F/X man Tom Howard went on to work with Kubrick on 2001 which only serves to reinforce the top talent that was behind the production of this fun and for me far better than expected monster movie I finally can check off on my list of dinosaur’s on a rampage movies to see.