Wednesday, 17 August 2016

The Valley of Gwangi (1969)

"Fool! One day he will learn to obey the law of Gwangi, or like his brother he shall perish!"

Yes, I know- Cowboys and dinosaurs! This was not a film I could stop myself watching, especially as the dinosaurs are provided by Ray Harryhausen himself.

And it's pretty much what you'd expect. We have standard B movie plotting, characterisation and acting from a cast who, in large part, are veterans of '50s flying saucer and monster movies. We get a half-hearted romance, some conflict, some Wild West flavour, a Lost World valley full of prehistoric creatures- well, some of the more visually arresting and cinematic ones, at least- and a grand King Kong-style climax in an old Spanish colonial church. The only surprise is that the vaguely racist portrayal of American Indians you might expect is unaccountably replaced by a vaguely racist portrayal of gypsies for some reason. Oh, and Harryhausen's stop motion effects have unfortunately dated in a way his fantasy creatures in other films haven't, but they're still fun.

The film is very silly, yes, but it's played straight, well-executed and fun. I recommend beer, mind...

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