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4.6 out of 5 stars
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4.6 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 17 September 2006
This 1949 movie was an attempt to duplicate the success of 'King Kong', and while it did not become the iconic movie that 'Kong' did, it still impresses today...
The story is a simple one: Nightclub owner and showman (played by Kong actor Robert Armstrong), discovers giant Ape Joe Young is the pet of a young girl in Africa. He brings them both to Hollywood as the ultimate floorshow for his clubs, but when the Ape runs amok after being given alcohol it is decreed that he is a danger to the public and is to be shot.....
The effects are , of course, the main attraction in the film, and they do not disappoint. Effects pioneer Ray Harryhausen, who would later go on to do the 'Sinbad' films and 'Jason and The Argonauts', delivers his usual superb artistry to the movie, imbuing the Ape with a sympathetic character. The Nightclub scene where Joe goes berserk is particularly striking, mixing live action actors and animals with model work that was way ahead of its time.
The film will delight viewers of all ages and has aged well, despite the advanced effects work of today's movies. The extras on this region 1 disc are good too, with a commentary by Harryhausen himself, a Theatrical trailer and 2 interesting featurettes. Harryhausen has rightly become revered amongst both moviemakers and audiences for his pioneering effects work and it is good that he is now being recognised for his superb work. Release such as this , which have his involvement and commentary are therefore well worth adding to the collection of anyone with an interest in sci-fi/fantasy or movie history in general. So why no region 2 release?.....
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on 20 April 2007
This is more of a reply to the previous review of this great movie.

The Region 2 version is available from Amazon, France, under the title " Monsieur Joe", through the "Editions Montparnasse" label. Unfortunately there are no techincal details, but I have had this label's DVD releases before, and there has always been an English soundtrack, and this was released after the Region 1 disc, so, hopefully, they have used the same print.

Hope this helps for those without a multi-regional DVD player, who wish to enjoy this enchanting film.
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Unfairly chastised in some quarters for being a kiddie friendly King Kong, Mighty Joe Young is as charming as an Autumnal day. Many of the team from King Kong reteam to make this film, and undoubtedly it's pretty much the same plotting only with a different resolution.

However, the effects work is still magical, harking back to a time when geniuses like Willis O'Brien and Ray Harryhausen sweated buckets to make the magic move on the screen. Mighty Joe, the huge Gorilla of the title, is beautifully realised, full of expressions and emotions, he even has time for some sense of humour traits.

Action is never far away, with models and sets destroyed with brute force, while plenty of beings get flung about to emphasise the madness of it all. Narratively like Kong there's still themes of greed and ignorance, the tampering with Mother Nature a big mistake, which all leads to a thrilling finale that in turn leads to something to savour.

Kiddie Kong? Who cares! A wonderful film of skill and guile, of charm and brains. Go Joe Go! 8/10
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on 9 October 2013
Well ,absolutely superb 1949 classic!! Robert Armstrong Terry moore play the lead roles and her 10 foot pet gorilla Joe. The special effects are amazing done by the late great Ray Harryhausen, sadly missed for his superb stop motion work!! A genius!! Dvd copy is superb quality, buy it It wont dissapoint!!!
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on 26 March 2012
The movie Mighty Joe Young is a timeless classic from RKO pictures. The picture quality is god on this dvd although there not much for extras. I really like the red effect when Mighty Joe Young saves the kids at the orphange. Overall I would have to recommend this old classic version over the newer remaje of this film.
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on 16 June 2013
Toddler Jill Young trades a torch for a baby gorilla and names him Joe. Her father has reservations but Jill is allowed to keep him with the warning that he will get bigger. 12 years later, showman Max O'Hara (Robert Armstrong) and Gregg (Ben Johnson in one of his few non-western roles) are in Africa on a hunting expedition when an oversized gorilla attacks the camp. Rushing to attack the giant beast, the camp attempts to shoot, then lasso (shades of Valley of Gwangli) the gorilla before Jill (Terry Moore) arrives to pacify the ape. Max immediately realises the potential of Joe and Jill and offers them a contract in Hollywood. Cue much exploitation as Joe is humiliated by raucous crowds and forced to perform stunts like a tug-of-war involving the world's strongest men (including ex-heavyweight boxing champ Primo Carnera). When several drunks offer Joe alcohol, the ape reacts by wrecking the nightclub. A judge tells the police to shoot the animal but before they can do so, Joe escapes with help from Jill, Max and Gregg. On their escape they come across a burning orphanage (cliche alert!) where Joe rescues several children. With this action Joe is reprieved and allowed to return to Africa.
Basically, a remake of King Kong it re-unites the team from that film - RKO pictures, director Ernest N Schoedsack, producer Merian C Cooper, writer Ruth Rose, animator Willis O'Brien and actor Robert Armstrong. The story is virtually the same - ape taken from his homeland - ape exploited - ape goes on rampage etc - except this story is lighter in tone (witness Max on horseback in Africa) and has a happier ending. The differences are slight, Robert Armstrong plays Max O'Hara as a less ruthless version of Carl Denham, Gregg is a kindlier version of Jack Driscoll and Terry Moore is much younger and more naive than Faye Wray. However, the human actors are merely a distraction from the incredible stop-motion work of O'Brien and his assistant and protege, the young Ray Harryhausen. One particular standout scene is when Joe wrecks the nightclub and fights with a team of lions. Although O'Brien took most of the credit, it was in fact, Harryhausen that did most (about 90%) of the actual stop motion effects.
This is a great family film and unjustly neglected compared to O'Brien's King Kong and Harryhausen's other fantasies such as Jason and the Argonauts and Clash of the Titans. Looking at it now, the effects are still impressive (helped by the black and white) and you'd have to wonder how many painful man hours must've gone into creating them. And the moral of the story - never get a gorilla drunk!
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on 8 November 2010
excellent value for money service provided by seller excellent couldn't fault them would recommend them to many friends & family would use them again with out hesitation
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on 30 December 2014
Delivered on time for Christmas, this is just as described (US region 1). My only gripe is the price, but my wife had been wanting this DVD for ages, so I purchased it.
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on 10 March 2014
I guess it is a film of it's time, and that's why I bought it. It isn't that well made but still a lot of fun. The animation is also good for the time it was made.
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on 25 June 2013
A long time favourite of mine and much better than the remake, It's not quite King Kong but it's not far off.
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