Sunday, March 28, 2010

Gorgo (1961)

After a giant aquatic creature is caught off of the coast of Ireland and sold in to the circus in London, the lizard's larger, meaner mother shows up to destroy the city and reclaim her baby! Although GORGO is clearly a reaction to the popularity of KING KONG and GODZILLA, the film was actually conceived by director Eugene Lourie, who is best known for creating THE BEAST FROM 20,000 FATHOMS (which had originally influenced Ishiro Honda in Japan). GORGO comes across as anything but a cheap rip-off of the films preceding it. The forced perspective, split mattes, composites, and miniature work each contribute to an impressive overall effect that comes exceedingly close to the Japanese leaders out of Toho studios. If one aspect of the film detracts the most from its overall believability, it would have to be the costume of the creatures, themselves. While Gorgo (and mom) show improved designs over many of the Gamera villains from the same era, the awkwardly proportioned bodies and rigid body movements are constant reminders that the creatures are just men in big rubber suits. Like the original GODZILLA, GORGO is very mean-spirited, depicting the monsters killing hundreds of bystanders by trampling them and burying them beneath their destructive paths. The larger of the two monsters rips through the streets of London, while leveling the convincing scale models of Big Ben, Parliament, Piccadilly Circus, and other major attractions. The human elements are handled evenly with the giant monster rampage, lead competently by both Bill Travers and William Sylvester as the boat captains that work with the military to subdue the beasts. Every attempt has been made to recreate the success of both THE BEAST FROM 20,000 FATHOMS and GODZILLA, but while it proves to be a valid attempt, it still falls short of its predecessors and lacks the social and political significance that set GODZILLA apart in the giant monster cinema. GORGO is certainly worth checking out for any giant monster fans!

Rating: 7/10.
Entertainment: 8/10.
Number of views: 1.



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11 comments:

  1. This made for a pretty good MST3K episode, also.

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  2. I would be 100% down for that one, will be sure to track it down for the second viewing!

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  3. Thanks for reminding me--I remembered the movie, couldn't remember the name. You just gave it to me. Sometimes, I get in a rainy day mood for those big-monster retro movies back-to-back.

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  4. Thanks for stopping by Autumn and glad I could help ya find it! Ive been big on the Kaiju films this last year, and this was a fun surprise!

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  5. I love monster movies. This one was good but you're right, it doesn't have the same strengths as Godzilla. Still I'd watch it again.

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  6. Mother Gorgo is far bigger than Gozilla and had a very unique storyline for its time, -not a rip off in any sense.

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  7. Lets face it, the 65' baby was up to her Mamma Gorgo's ANKLE. Shes GARGANTUAN!

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  8. GORGO was completely unique. And it most certainly does have a social value: Man's selfish abuse of nature and the earth. How can you miss that one? It was also VERY UNIQUE in storyline: Mother rescues child. And also unique in ending: Unlike any other giant monster film before, to the audience's (then) surprise, the monster WINS! She CANNOT be defeated at the end as was the audience's expectation of all such movies.

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    1. You are precisely right. GORGO's story is of GREAT social relevance (abuse of nature) and even more relevant today (global warming). It is in NO WAY a rip off of Godzilla. The only similarity is that both depicted colossal monsters destroying a city. After that, the simlarity stops and they are completely different in several major ways. Gorgo was not an evil menace, wantonly destroying mankind. Godzilla was.

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  9. My implication was more in terms of GORGO serving as a reactionary film that addressed a specific English tragedy in the same sense that GODZILLA had addressed the bombings in WWII. GORGO has about as much environmental commentary as ORCA, which I feel is very surface level. That doesnt make either of them bad films, I quite enjoyed GORGO. I appreciate all the comments though, keeps the thought process moving and I will keep everything in mind on the next watchthrough!

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  10. Plus Mama Gorgo would defeat Godzilla easily. She is much bigger and would slap him across the face.

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