Gorgo (1961)

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Image gallery for Gorgo (film)
Credits for Gorgo (film)
Gorgo (film) soundtrack

Eugène Lourié's dinosaur trilogy
The Giant Behemoth
American one sheet poster for Gorgo
Alternate titles
Flagicon Japan.png Monster Gorgo (1961)
See alternate titles
Directed by Eugène Lourié
Producer Wilfred Eades, Herman King
Written by Robert L. Richards, Daniel James;
Eugène Lourié, Daniel Hyatt (story)
Music by Angelo Francesco Lavagnino
Distributor British Lion-Columbia DistributorsUK
Rating Not Rated
Budget $650,000[1]
Running time 78 minutes
(1 hour, 18 minutes)
Aspect ratio 1.66:1
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Like nothing you've ever seen before!

— Tagline

Gorgo is a 1961 British-American giant monster film produced by King Brothers Productions. It debuted in American theaters on March 29, 1961 and in British theaters on October 27 of the same year.


Two sailors go out to sea and find an island. The island has life and civilization on it and they meet with a little boy. A monster attempts to attack the island and the two sailors go out to capture it so they can sell it. The little boy and his grandfather inform them that the monster is dangerous and must be left alone, but they do not listen. The two sailors capture the monster and bring it to land. They sell it to a circus that names it Gorgo. Scientists analyze the beast and apparently it is some kind of semi-aquatic dinosaur. The circus continues showing and humiliating Gorgo and Gorgo also becomes the victim of multiple incidents of animal cruelty. Meanwhile, scientists make a terrifying discovery: the giant beast Gorgo is only an infant and Ogra, his mother, will be coming for him. Afterwards, Ogra arrives in London where Gorgo is and begins her rampage, looking for her baby. Ogra destroys the city of London and people try to attack her, but it does not affect her. Ogra finds Gorgo and they head out to sea without further incident.


Main article: Gorgo (film)/Credits.

Staff role on the left, staff member's name on the right.

  • Directed by   Eugène Lourié
  • Written by   Robert L. Richards, Daniel James,
  • Story by   Eugène Lourié, Daniel Hyatt
  • Produced by   Wilfred Eades, Herman King
  • Executive producing by   Frank King, Maurice King
  • Music by   Angelo Francesco Lavagnino
  • Cinematography by   Freddie Young
  • Edited by   Eric Boyd-Perkins
  • Assistant director   Douglas Hermes
  • Special effects by   Tom Howard


Main article: Gorgo (film)/Credits.

Actor's name on the left, character played on the right.

  • Bill Travers   as   Captain Joe Ryan
  • William Sylvester   as   Sam Slade
  • Vincent Winter   as   Sean
  • Bruce Seton   as   Professor Flaherty
  • Joseph O'Conor   as   Professor Hendricks
  • Martin Benson   as   Mr. Dorkin
  • Barry Keegan   as   Mate
  • Dervis Ward   as   Bosun
  • Christopher Rhodes   as   McCartin
  • Mick Dillon   as   Gorgo / Ogra



Weapons, vehicles, and races


After the great success they had distributing Rodan in the United States in 1957, the King Brothers sought to produce a giant monster film of their own.[2] With Gorgo, director Eugène Lourié strove to atone for his first dinosaur film, The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, as the death of the Rhedosaurus made his daughter cry.[3] From the earliest stages of development, Gorgo and Ogra were to return to the sea at the end of the story, a rarity for giant monsters at the time. Originally, due to heavy Japanese financial backing, Gorgo was captured on Kuru Island in the South Pacific and taken to a Tokyo zoo. The main characters were pearl divers instead of treasure hunters. When the Japanese investors pulled out, the setting changed to Paris, France. Lourié, however, felt that the lack of a harbor near Paris would make the arrival of a sea monster ponderous. A strong offer from MGM Studios led to a final switch to London, England in April 1959.

To Lourié's disappointment, the King Brothers insisted on scenes of city destruction and military action. At some time before or during 1980, he edited a 35-minute version of the film which excluded both. It is not known if he ever exhibited it.


Gorgo was filmed at MGM's studio in Borehamwood, a London suburb. Location photography took place in London and Coliemore Harbour, an Irish port near Dublin. Production notes included on the VCI Entertainment Blu-ray show that the London scenes were being filmed in September 1959 and the Coliemore Harbour scenes in November 1959.

The three identical monster suits used to depict both Gorgo and Ogra were made of rubber. Hydraulics operated by the stuntman inside allowed the eyes, mouth, ears and tail to move. Four actors in total played the creatures, though only Mick Dillon's involvement is confirmed; the others were likely David Wilding, Peter Brace and Peter Perkings.[2] A full-sized Gorgo head, claws and tail were built for shots where a composite using the suit would be impractical, including the footage of a captive Gorgo paraded on a truck through the streets of London. The sparse crowds in that scene were a consequence of the King Brothers' unwillingness to pay extras. Their hope was that the sight of the enormous prop would attract onlookers on its own, but the morning of the shoot turned out to be cold and foggy.


Main article: Gorgo (film)/Gallery.


Main article: Gorgo (film)/Soundtrack.

Alternate titles

  • Monster Gorgo (怪獣ゴルゴ,   Kaijū Gorugo, Japan)
  • Gorgo: The Sea Monster (Gorgo: Havets Uhyre; Denmark)
  • The Monster from the Abyss (Potwór z otchłani; Poland)
  • Gorgo in the Footsteps of King Kong (Gorgo Auf den Spuren des King Kong; West Germany)

Theatrical releases

  • Japan - January 10, 1961  [view poster]Japanese poster
  • United States - March 29, 1961  [view poster]American poster
  • West Germany - June 1, 1961  [view poster]German poster
  • Portugal - June 27, 1961  [view poster]Portuguese poster
  • Mexico - August 17, 1961
  • France - August 30, 1961  [view poster]French poster
  • Finland - October 27, 1961
  • United Kingdom - October 27, 1961  [view poster]British poster
  • Sweden - November 20, 1961
  • Denmark - January 15, 1962
  • Ireland - March 30, 1962
  • Turkey - September 19, 1963
  • Iceland - May 13, 1965
  • Spain - 1972  [view poster]Spain poster
  • Italy  [view poster]Italian poster


A 141-page paperback tie-in novelization of Gorgo was published by Monarch Books in 1960 and was written by Bruce Cassiday under the pseudonym Carson Bingham. Charlton Comics also published a 23-issue Gorgo comic book series from 1961 to 1965. While the first issue was an adaptation of the film itself, subsequent issues revolved around the adventures of the titular Gorgo, with his mother Ogra and various other monsters also making appearances. Gorgo later made crossover appearances in two of Charlton's other comics: the 24th and final issue of Konga in 1966, which was renamed Fantastic Giants for the occasion, and Fightin' Five #41 in 1967.

Video releases

VCI Entertainment DVD (2000)

  • Region: 0
  • Discs: 1
  • Audio: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: None
  • Special features: "Making of" featurette (10 minutes), cast and crew biographies, photo gallery, theatrical trailer, unrelated trailers, liner notes by Tom Weaver
  • Notes: Aspect ratio is 1.66:1.

VCI Entertainment DVD (2005)

  • Region: 1
  • Discs: 1
  • Audio: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: None
  • Special features: "Making of" featurette (10 minutes), cast and crew biographies, photo and poster gallery, theatrical trailer, unrelated trailers
  • Notes: Aspect ratio is 1.85:1.

CMV Laservision DVD (2006)

  • Region: 2
  • Discs: 1
  • Audio: English, German (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: None
  • Special features: "Making of" featurette (10 minutes), photo slideshow, American and German theatrical trailers, unrelated trailers, "book recommendation" promo
  • Notes: Aspect ratio is 1.66:1.

VCI Entertainment DVD/Blu-ray (2013)

  • Region: 1 (DVD) or n/a (Blu-ray)
  • Discs: 1
  • Audio: English (LPCM Mono), French (LPCM Mono), music and effects track
  • Special features: Theatrical trailer, English and French video comics, galleries of lobby cards, posters, collectibles, press books and photos, "Ninth Wonder of the World – The Making of Gorgo" featurette (31 minutes), production notes (2 minutes), "Restoration Video – Before and After" featurette (3 minutes).
  • Notes: Aspect ratio is 1.78:1.

Renown Pictures DVD (2016) [The Renown Pictures Monster Collection]


Theatrical Gorgo trailer
West German Gorgo trailer
VCI Entertainment documentary on the making of Gorgo
Clip from the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode featuring Gorgo


  • Numerous sequences outlined in the screenplay and novelization were cut from the film, likely for runtime and budgetary concerns. These include Sam and Joe being menaced by an octopus and a killer whale while treasure diving, only to be accidentally saved by Gorgo; Ogra demolishing a lighthouse in a manner similar to the Rhedosaurus in The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms; and Gorgo battling a loose circus elephant.[4]
  • Like King Kong in his debut film, Gorgo is billed by the Dorkin Circus as the "8th Wonder of the World."
  • Gorgo was featured on Season 9 of the movie-mocking television series Mystery Science Theater 3000, with the unfortunately-named Dorkin Circus, the omnipresent radio reporter at the end of the movie and the complete lack of female characters becoming especially rich targets for parody. However, the episode was only aired twice, both times on July 18, 1998, due to rights issues.[5] It was released on DVD in 2013 by Shout! Factory, as part of the box set Mystery Science Theater 3000: 25th Anniversary Edition.
  • Waiting for Gorgo, an unofficial 18-minute sequel, was released in 2009. VCI Entertainment tried to include it on their 2013 DVD and Blu-ray releases of Gorgo, but director Benjamin Craig rejected their offer.[6]
  • Though not an official remake, the 1967 Nikkatsu film Gappa closely follows the plot of Gorgo, with two city-smashing parent kaiju instead of one trying to rescue their captive baby.

External links


This is a list of references for Gorgo (film). These citations are used to identify the reliable sources on which this article is based. These references appear inside articles in the form of superscript numbers, which look like this: [1]

  1. Science Fiction Film Directors, 1895-1998 by Dennis Fischer
  2. 2.0 2.1 Keep Watching the Skies: American Science Fiction Movies of the Fifties by Bill Warren
  3. "Director of Dinosaurs" by Tom Weaver, Starlog #193 (August 1993)
  4. Cooke, Bill (27 March 2014). Gorgo. BearManor Media. p. 23. ISBN 978-1593934996.
  5. Episode guide: 909- Gorgo
  6. Waiting for Gorgo ... the wait is over - Monster Kids Classic Horror Forum


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