Mighty Joe Young (1949)

Mighty Joe Young (1949)
7.0
  • 4822
  • Approved
  • Genre: Adventure
  • Release year: 1949 ()
  • Running time: 94 min
  • Original Title: Mighty Joe Young
  • Voted: 4822

In Africa, the girl Jill Young trades a baby gorilla with two natives and raises the animal. Twelve years later, the talkative and persuasive promoter Max O'Hara organizes a safari to Africa with the Oklahoma cowboy Gregg to bring attractions to his new night-club in Hollywood. They capture several lions and out of blue, they see a huge gorilla nearby their camping and they try to capture the animal. However, the teenager Jill Young stops the men that intended to kill her gorilla. Max seduces Jill with a fancy life in Hollywood and she signs a contract with him where the gorilla Joseph "Joe" Young would be the lead attraction. Soon she realizes that her dream is a nightmare to Joe and she asks Max to return to Africa. However he persuades her to stay a little longer in the show business. But when three alcoholic costumers give booze to Joe, the gorilla destroys the spot and is sentenced by the justice to be sacrificed. Will Jill, Gregg and Max succeed in saving Joe?

#PersonCharacters
1Terry MooreJill Young
2Ben JohnsonGregg
3Robert ArmstrongMax O'Hara
  • Great story, great effects. by 7

    Thanksgiving just can't be Thanksgiving without Mighty Joe Young. From as far back as I can remember, until about 10 years ago, WOR, channel 9 in New York City, played a King Kong festival on Thanksgiving day, and then a Godzilla festival on Friday, dubbing it "Monster Weekend." Of the 3 "ape movies" played back-to-back (King Kong, Son of Kong, and Mighty Joe Young), this was far and away the best. There were several reasons for it. (1) Mighty Joe Young has the best special effects of all the ape movies (and, truth be known, far better than those of most of the Godzillas -- which were filmed 10-20 years later!). (2) Mighty Joe Young has the best story. It's about a little girl who adopts a young gorilla in Africa on her family's plantation, and she grows up with it. The gorilla turns out to be the largest in the world (but nowhere near the size of Kong). Joe is affectionate with his "sister", and very protective of her, and the animators gave him a wonderful range of facial expressions and emotions. (3) Mighty Joe Young has the best climax, and the best ending.

    All told, Mighty Joe Young is a terriffic movie. It was light years ahead of its time in so many ways, including special effects. It is well worth the time to see it.

    My score: 8/10

  • Kong with a heart! by 10

    I remember seeing Mighty Joe Young before I ever saw King Kong, and for the longest time I preferred it to Kong because it seemed newer, with better effects, and more familiar actors, while Kong seemed older and a little creakier with a less familiar cast of characters. Over the years I've come to appreciate both as great movies, the same basic story or premise, but with a slightly different spin, one as a grand thrilling epic, and one as a heartwarming story with laughs and thrills. Where Kong is the tragic violent figure meeting his fate for the love of a woman, Joe Young is a warm cuddly teddy bear of a creature trying to stave off that wild beast that lives inside of him for the affection of a woman. Where Kong wouldn't expend a drop of sweat helping a human, except for Ann Darrow, Joe Young appears more than human in that he would sacrifice himself to save the children and adults in an orphanage engulfed in flames. And although Robert Armstrong doesn't play the same character in both movies, just the same type of character, it's kind of nice to see him learn from his mistakes in the previous film and early on in this one so that he can make a determined effort to have this story end differently. While King Kong may have been a grand slam out of the park, Mighty Joe Young still comes out as a solid home run.

  • Worthy Follow-Up to King Kong! by 9

    A wonderfully entertaining slant on "King Kong" by Kong's creators, Cooper and Schoedsack (along with John Ford). Much better than Kong's 1934 sequel, "Son of Kong", which was hurriedly made. The creators put a lot of thought and effort into this worthy follow-up and it shows. More superb special effects from Willis O'Brien as technical director, featuring the budding talents of protege, Ray Harryhausen.

  • Fun, fast-moving with fantastic special effects by 8

    Great film about an oversize gorilla (about 10-11 feet), its owner (Terry Moore) and what happens when an unscrupulous promoter Max O'Hara (Robert Armstrong) lures them from Africa to America to become a hit. Let's get the bad stuff out of the way--the story is nothing new; Terry Moore and Ben Johnson are among the worst actors I've ever seen and there's zero lack of characterization among the humans. But when Joe Young appears all is forgiven. He looks great, moves realistically and has incredible facial motions. You can tell exactly what he's thinking by his expressions! Also, the scenes where he's grappling with humans, horses, lions look extremely realistic--that's saying a lot for a film that's over 50 years old! A fun family film. Try to see restored prints--there's a final sequence involving a burning building in which the whole reel is tinted red--very nicely done.

  • Surprisingly Excellent Movie and with Awesome Special Effects by 8

    In Africa, the girl Jill Young trades a baby gorilla with two natives and raises the animal. Twelve years later, the talkative and persuasive promoter Max O'Hara (Robert Armstrong) organizes a safari to Africa with the Oklahoma cowboy Gregg (Ben Johnson) to bring attractions to his new night-club in Hollywood. They capture several lions and out of blue, they see a huge gorilla nearby their camping and they try to capture the animal. However, the teenager Jill Young (Terry Moore) stops the men that intended to kill her gorilla. Max seduces Jill with a fancy life in Hollywood and she signs a contract with him where the gorilla Joseph "Joe" Young would be the lead attraction. Soon she realizes that her dream is a nightmare to Joe and she asks Max to return to Africa. However he persuades her to stay a little longer in the show business. But when three alcoholic costumers give booze to Joe, the gorilla destroys the spot and is sentenced by the justice to be sacrificed. Will Jill, Gregg and Max succeed in saving Joe?

    "Mighty Joe Young" is a surprisingly excellent movie, with a story that entwines drama, romance and adventure and with awesome special effects for a 1949 movie. I bought this DVD a couple of years ago, but I was expecting a lame rip-off of King Kong based on the awful Brazilian title. However, the plot is engaging, with lots of emotions and many plot points and Joe's runaway is spectacular. My vote is eight.

    Title (Brazil): "Monstro de um Mundo Perdido" ("Monster of a Lost World")

#PersonCrew
1J. Roy Huntcinematographer
2Roy Webbcomposer
3Ernest B. Schoedsackdirector
4Ted Cheesmaneditor
5Mr. Joseph Youngself
6Ruth Rosewriter
7Merian C. Cooperwriter