Monday, May 27, 2013

1949 - MIGHTY JOE YOUNG, or King Kong redux.

A high water mark for special effects in the late 1940's.  In charge of effects for Mighty Joe Young was Willis O'Brien who was responsible for King Kong.  Doing much of the actual stop motion animation of the gorilla was Ray Harryhausen.  These stop motion effects were carefully integrated with optical composting from Linwood Dunn. 

Linwood Dunn was one of the greatest special effects artists in Hollywood.  Dunn contributed special effects to films included, King Kong, Citizen Kane, My Fair Lady, Airport, It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World and the original Star Trek series, an amazing career.

Merian C Cooper and his partner Ernest B Schoedsack were the producer and director and in this film, John Ford of all people shows up listed in the credits.  Ford always insisted he had nothing to do with this film, but members of his stock company, which included Ben Johnson and Jack Pennick show up in the film. 

Leaving all the business of the optical and animation effects aside Mighty Joe Young is a very entertaining film.  It's amazing how much personality they got into the gorilla puppet.

 94 minutes.

No comments: