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Science Fiction - Gorgo

Buy Gorgo
Widescreen Destruction Edition
Bill Travers, William Sylvester, Vincent Winter
Directed by Eugene Lourie
MGM 1961
VCI Entertainment 2005
76 minutes plus extras

Gorgo stars Bill Travers and William Sylvester as two British treasure hunters who often lost their British accent but find a Godzilla like creature on the coast of Ireland. They also find Sean (played by Vincent Winter), a little Irish kid who is as much of a pest as the big lizard himself. In a King Kong like move, they bring the lizard to the big city, in this case London, and exhibit him in a circus. Problem is Gorgo is but a wee lad and his mother is mighty annoyed and goes and rescues her son.

Gorgo is one of the best Godzilla style movies of its time and, aside from dubious use of stock footage where day and night scenes are often spliced together when it comes to the British (sometimes wearing American uniforms and flying American fighters) army, the special effects are quite good. No monster movie is complete without shots of people panicking in the streets and here Londoners do as good a job as their Tokyo counterparts. Gorgo’s mum also does a pretty decent job of destroying London (something the much lamer Konga did not manage to do) and manages to wipe out London Bridge, Big Ben, a bunch of flats, the same wine shop a couple of times, Piccadilly Circus, but avoids, for some reason, stomping one of those double-decker buses.

This monster movie DVD works also because the writing and acting is much better than in your usual Godzilla style movie and it respects all the rules of the genre: Gorgo is allergic to fire and flash photography; humans underestimate the monster so they take its chains off outside its enclosure which allows it to stomp a few trucks and kill a guy; the army tries all its toys on it with no success; and there are a few funny moments here and there like when the compulsory London End Is Nigh guy gets overrun by the mob.

Special effects wise, Gorgo is excellent for a 1961 monster epic. Viewers used to Industrial Light And Magic stuff will find flaws but a lot of the crumbling buildings are destroyed realistically and the two Godzilla like monsters definitely work.

Gorgo is a fun monster movie and better than many of its genre The transfer to DVD made by the people at VCI Entertainment is up to their usual standards. Monster movie fans will definitely enjoy Gorgo.

Richard Lanoie

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