The Valley of Gwangi

Starring: James Franciscus and Gila Golan
Warner Home Video
RRP 12.99
Certificate: U
Available now

When the members of a travelling Wild West Show hear of a forbidden Mexican valley where mythical creatures are rumoured to exist, they attempt to capture something which they can exhibit at their show. What they find is a valley untouched by time for millions of years. They capture a huge dinosaur which the locals call Gwangi, or "Terrible One". The creature escapes and terrorises the local population who flee to the nearby cathedral - but when this refuge proves insufficient, the townspeople have a dramatic plan to bring down Gwangi once and for all...

It's safe to say that without The Valley of Gwangi modern movies like Jurassic Park would be very different. In fact, there are several scenes in Jurassic Park that pay homage to Gwangi almost frame for frame.

However, without Harryhausen's beautiful stop-motion animation it's doubtful that this 1969 film would still be remembered today. The scene where Gwangi is captured is still an impressive sight to behold - especially when you consider that it took weeks to film, as every rope held by the real actors had to be perfectly aligned with those on the animated model.

The acting can't be faulted and Jerome Moross's music adds that essential Western feel to the movie, as well as a slight twist of a menace on the rampage.

Extras on the disc include a short featurette on the making of the movie's special effects, and a hidden Easter Egg - which is worth searching out as it is quite comical.

Still as entertaining now as you remember it being when you were a kid.

Ray Thompson

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