Gorgo (1961)

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Credits for Gorgo (film)
Gorgo (film) soundtrack


Monster Movie
The British poster for Gorgo
Gorgo
Directed by Eugène Lourié
Produced by Wilfred Eades, Herman King
Written by Robert L. Richards, Daniel James,
Eugène Lourié (story), Daniel Hyatt (story)
Music by Angelo Francesco Lavagnino
Distributor British Lion-Columbia DistributorsUK
Metro-Goldwyn-MayerUS
Rating Unrated
Budget $650,000[1]
Running Time 78 minutes
(1 hour, 18 minutes)
Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
Rate this film!
3.94
(18 votes)

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, 1961.

Plot

Sailors visiting a remote Irish island for repairs learn of a legendary sea monster menacing the villagers there. They manage to capture the creature and sell him to a London circus, where he is christened Gorgo. His even larger mother, Ogra, soon awakens and goes looking for him, leaving death and destruction in her wake.

Staff

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, Eugène Lourié (story), and Daniel Hyatt (story)
  • Produced by   Wilfred Eades and Herman King
  • Executive Producing by   Frank King and Maurice King
  • Music by   Angelo Francesco Lavagnino
  • Cinematography by   Freddie Young
  • Edited by   Eric Boyd-Perkins
  • Assistant Directing by   Douglas Hermes
  • Special Effects by   Tom Howard

Cast

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


Appearances

Monsters

Vehicles


Development

After the great success they had distributing Rodan in the United States, 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 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 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.

Production

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 London scenes were being filmed in September 1959, and 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.

Gallery

Main article: Gorgo (film)/Gallery.

Soundtrack

Main article: Gorgo (Soundtrack).

Alternate Titles

  • Monster Gorgo (怪獣ゴルゴ,   Kaijū Gorugo, Japan)

Theatrical Release

Perhaps in a nod to the country where it was originally set, Gorgo premiered in Tokyo, Japan, on January 10, 1961. It played in American and British theaters later that year.

Adaptations

A 141-page paperback 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 making appearances.

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, pressbooks, and photos, Ninth Wonder of the World – The Making of Gorgo featurette (31 minutes), productions 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]

  • Region: 0
  • Discs: 3
  • Audio: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: None
  • Special Features: "Film Breaks: Man Or Beast" featurette (8 minutes), Robert Ross interview with actress Vera Day (13 minutes)
  • Notes: Aspect ratio is 1.66:1. Packaged with The Giant Behemoth, Womaneater, Beast from Haunted Cave, The Giant Gila Monster, Monster from Green Hell, The Strange World of Planet X, The Crater Lake Monster, and The Killer Shrews.

Videos

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

Trivia

  • Like King Kong in his debut film, Gorgo is billed by 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. However, the episode was only aired twice, both on July 18, 1998, due to a rights issue.[4] It was released on DVD in 2013 by Shout! Factory, as part of the Mystery Science Theater 3000: 25th Anniversary Edition set.
  • "Waiting for Gorgo," an unofficial 18-minute sequel, was released in 2009. VCI Entertainment attempted to include it on their 2013 DVD and Blu-ray releases of Gorgo, but director Benjamin Craig rejected their offer.[5]
  • 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 striving to rescue their captive child.
  • The unmade American Godzilla film Godzilla: King of the Monsters 3-D would have taken inspiration from the plot of Gorgo, with the adult Godzilla attacking San Francisco to find a juvenile Godzilla whose corpse was recovered by the U.S. military.

External Links

References

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]


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Comments

Showing 8 comments. Remember to follow the civility guidelines when commenting.

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avatar

DeltaSquad5

4 months ago
Score 0
I would love for this film to one day get a remake (as long as they did it right).
avatar

Gojira2014

6 months ago
Score 0

had a dream were ogra was fighting yongary.

had a very gory ending. yongary ripped off ogra's arm then did a king kong style jaw breaker.


then godzilla apppeared, but i woke up before i saw him fight the knockoff. sad.
avatar

DeltaSquad5

3 months ago
Score 0

I would say the outcome of Ogra and Yonggary fighting would be very different depending on the version of Yonggary. If it was the original Yonggary, I don't think that would happen as he's only 30m and Ogra is 76m.

If it's the Yonggary from the 1999 remake ("Reptilian"), he was just over 152m so that be more likely to see him killing Ogra like that.
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ShodaiMeesmothLarva

7 months ago
Score 1
Done watching this film, I might upload more screenshots of Ogra's rampage in London from the film itself.
avatar

Lamango

19 months ago
Score 1
Anyone got the Gorgo, Konga, and Reptilicus comics?
avatar

Astounding Beyond Belief

19 months ago
Score 1
They're all on a site called Comic Book Plus.
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Toa Hydros

19 months ago
Score 1
Yup. Or rather I have the collected editions. Got the hardcover Gorgo and Konga "Ditko Monsters" collections from IDW, and a paperback collection of the Reptilicus comics. Weird thing though; the Reptilicus collection was retitled "Scarysaurus the Scary". Badass name, I know.
avatar

Toa Hydros

20 months ago
Score 2

My Thoughts: Gorgo

One of the best kaiju films to come from outside Japan.

The costumes and miniatures are very well done for an early 60's creature feature. I especially love Mama Gorgo's rampage through the city (keeping track of the monsters' names gets confusing, so I just call the adult "Mama Gorgo"). She just shrugs off every attempt to slow her down and stays the course like a force of nature, completely demolishing everything and everyone that gets in her way.

These destruction scenes are easily on par with the very best of the Toho films of the same period. The ending is also a pleasant surprise: Gorgo and Mama Gorgo just wade back into the sea. It's not very often when it's the monster that gets the happily-ever-after.

The human aspect of the story isn't overly interesting, and the characters aren't particularly memorable, but at least they don't weigh the film down like in other films, such as "Gappa". They're serviceable as far as monster movie characters go, just not very engaging.

Overall, this film is easily as good as anything the Godzilla or Gamera series' were putting out at the time, and deserves a watch.

Now since there's no page for it, I'll just leave my comment about the comics here.

The Charlton Comics Gorgo stories were also very entertaining.

It was mostly an anthology series, with the human characters and their story changing up with ever issue, with Gorgo and his mother as the only established characters. My personal favorite story was an issue where Gorgo is enslaved by a petty dictator and his advisor, who soon learn why controlling giant monsters to carry out your bidding never works out.

With many of the stories sporting art by Steve Ditko (co-creator of Spider-Man), the illustrations are colorful and imaginative, though a bit rough compared to his later work.

Overall, highly entertaining.