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Mighty Joe Young

Overview

Hoping to make the magic of King Kong happen again, the production team of Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack came up with the 1949 special-effects smorgasbord Mighty Joe Young. Robert Armstrong reprises his Kong portrayal of Carl Denham as hot-shot showbiz entrepreneur Max O'Hara. While in Africa looking for authentic decorations for his new night club, O'Hara makes the acquaintance of Mr. Joseph Young, a ten-foot-tall ape. Unlike King Kong, Joe Young has a heart of gold, thanks in great part to his ...
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Overview

Hoping to make the magic of King Kong happen again, the production team of Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack came up with the 1949 special-effects smorgasbord Mighty Joe Young. Robert Armstrong reprises his Kong portrayal of Carl Denham as hot-shot showbiz entrepreneur Max O'Hara. While in Africa looking for authentic decorations for his new night club, O'Hara makes the acquaintance of Mr. Joseph Young, a ten-foot-tall ape. Unlike King Kong, Joe Young has a heart of gold, thanks in great part to his owner, a lovely lass named Jill Young Terry Moore. Against her better judgment, Jill allows O'Hara to bring Joe back to the States as a nightclub attraction. Joe proves to be a smash as he participates in Jill's musical act he lifts her grand piano while she plays "Beautiful Dreamer" and performs a tug-of-war routine with an imposing lineup of professional wrestlers including Tor Johnson, Man Mountain Dean and Primo Carnera. But when the patrons go home each night, Joe is unhappily relegated to his cage. When a group of obnoxious drunks begin teasing Joe, the disgruntled ape breaks loose and goes on a rampage. Slated to be put to death, Joe redeems himself by rescuing a group of screaming children from an orphanage fire. Featured in the cast are Ben Johnson as the nominal romantic lead, Frank McHugh as Robert Armstrong's assistant, and an uncredited Irene Ryan as a cocktail-lounge patron.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
Clearly inspired by King Kong -- and in fact featuring not only a leading player (Robert Armstrong) but the same producer, director, writer and special effects director -- Mighty Joe Young does not live up to its predecessor, but it has a certain charm of its own. And while Young is clearly indebted to Kong in a big way, it at least has the sense to approach similar material with a different angle. Whereas Kong was a highly affecting and effective monster flick that also managed to engage viewers on a deep emotional level, Young is really more of a comedy, and one that, despite some violence, is aimed more at a younger audience than at adults. There are some pluses and minuses to this approach. On the plus side, Much of Young is a lot of fun, and there's a lightness to a good portion of it that is appealing. On the minus side, without a tragic sense, it comes across as rather unimportant and inconsequential. And while we do get to know our title character and develop a fondness for him, we don't have the depth of feeling for him that we do for Kong. Still, there's a lot to like, including a campy stage show sequence that provides both intentional and unintentional amusement. Terry Moore is perfectly adequate as the young girl, Robert Armstrong (repeating from Kong is fine, and Ben Johnson is a bit of a bore. But the title character himself has both charm and menace, and he's extremely well animated by reigning effects giant Willis O'Brien and future effects star Ray Harryhausen. Young is the perfect film for a rainy Saturday afternoon when one feels like watching a non-challenging, slightly giddy little monster show.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 12/9/2014
  • UPC: 888574106522
  • Original Release: 1949
  • Rating:

  • Source: Warner Archives
  • Time: 1:34:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 54,467

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Terry Moore Jill Young
Ben Johnson Gregg
Robert Armstrong Max O'Hara
Frank McHugh Windy
Mr. Joseph Young Himself
Douglas Fowley Jones
Regis Toomey John Young
Denis Green Crawford
Paul Guilfoyle Smith
Lora Lee Michel Jill as a girl
James Flavin Schultz
Iris Adrian
Primo Carnera
Ellen Corby
Wee Willie Davis Strongman
Man Mountain Dean
Selmar Jackson
Henry Kulky
Phil "Swedish Angel" Olafsson
Nestor Paiva Brown
Ivan Rasputin
Addison Richards
Sammy Stein
Dale Van Sickel Stuntman
Sammy Menacker Strongman
Mary Gordon
Irene Ryan Girl at the bar (uncredited)
Technical Credits
Ernest B. Schoedsack Director
Constantin Bakaleinikoff Musical Direction/Supervision
Adele Balkan Costumes/Costume Designer
Ted Cheesman Editor
Merian C. Cooper Producer
Marcel Delgado Special Effects
Linwood G. Dunn Special Effects
Ray Harryhausen Special Effects
Roy Hunt Cinematographer
John Ford Producer
Willis O'Brien Special Effects
Ruth Rose Screenwriter
Harold E. Stine Special Effects
Roy Webb Score Composer
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