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Mighty Joe Young

USA 1949
produced by
Merian C. Cooper, John Ford (executive) for Argosy Picutres/RKO
directed by Ernest B. Schoedsack
starring Terry Moore, Ben Johnson, Robert Armstrong, Frank McHugh, Douglas Fowley, Denis Green, Paul Guilfoyle, Nestor Paiva, Regis Toomey, Lora Lee Michel, James Flavin, Primo Carnera, Phil Olafsson, Ian Batchelor, Karl 'Killer' Davis, William 'Wee Willie' Davis, Man Mountain Dean, Henry Kulky, Sammy Menacker, Ivan Rasputin, Sammy Stein, Selmer Jackson, Madame Sul-Te-Wan, Kermit Maynard
story by Merian C.Cooper, screenplay by Ruth Rose, music by Roy Webb, special effects by Willis O'Brien, first technician: Ray Harryhausen

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Showman O'Hara (Robert Armstrong) and cowboy Gregg (Ben Johnson) go to Africa to find attractions for O'Hara's next Hollywood show - and they find a giant (10 to 12 ft) gorilla that seems to be as savage as can be, but listens to a lovely girl, Jill (Terry Moore), who has been living in the neighbourhood for all her life and who calls the gorilla, who's called Joe, her best friend. Always the showman, O'Hara is quick to persuade her to come with him to Hollywood and bring her gorilla, and soon they (well, especially the gorilla) become a big attraction in his new Africa-themed nightclub. Jill and Joe aren't happy in Hollywood though, especially Joe who's kept in a cage when performing, and want to return, but O'Hara comes up with one excuse after another to keep them. Then though, three drunk customers of O'Hara's club sneak to Joe's cage and tease him until he is so enraged that he escapes, laying the nightclub to ruins in the process, until he can be calmed down by Jill. After that though, the law considers the gorilla as public threat and wants him put to sleep. Upon this, O'Hara has a change of heart, organizes a breakout with the help of Jill and cowboy Gregg (whom Jill has long fallen in love with), and together they try to get the Joe to the next ship, with the police inhot pursuit and trigger happier than ever. Then though they pass a burning orphanage, and after Joe saves a couple of orphans, nobody wants to shoot him anymore, and he and Jill and Joe return to his home ...


As most of you might know, the most successful, most recognizable and most influential film Ernest B.Schoedsack and Merian C.Cooper) were involved with was King Kong from 1933. 16 years later, they made Mighty Joe Young, which can best be described as a family friendly version of their biggest success. Sure, the special effects have (vastly) improved in the 16 years since King Kong was made and are breathtaking even by today's standards, but the story is considerably watered down, with the violence and sexual undercurrents of the original gone, substituted with a squeaky clean couple (Jill and Gregg) and the gorilla as their misunderstood kid - and thus they are all allowed to have a happy ending. Would King Kong have been like this, it would hardly have become a classic, and it is actually a bit embarrassing how Schoedsack and Cooper treat their own heritage. Except for the fine special effects this is definitely not worth a look.


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD