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Gorilla at Large
Directed by Harmon Jones
Produced by Robert L. Jacks)(Producer)
Leonard Goldstein (Executive Producer)
Written by Leonard Praskins
Barney Slater
Starring Cameron Mitchell
Anne Bancroft
Lee J. Cobb
Music by Lionel Newman
Cinematography Lloyd Ahern
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date(s) May 1954
Running time 83 min.
Country United States
Language English

Gorilla at Large is a 1954 horror mystery B-movie made in 3-D. The film stars Cameron Mitchell, Anne Bancroft, Lee J. Cobb, Charlotte Austin, and Raymond Burr. Lee Marvin and Warren Stevens have supporting roles. The film was made by Panoramic Productions, and distributed through 20th Century Fox in Technicolor and 3-D.

Contents

Plot

A beautiful acrobat - A menacing gorilla - A gruff animal keeper - An unscrupulous side show owner - A tough barker - A jealous girlfriend. Anyone could be the killer of an ex-employee found brutally murdered inside the tent of the "Goliath the Giant Gorilla" side show attraction.

Cast

For an independent production, Gorilla at Large wasn't lacking for talent, including both seasoned actors and upcoming stars. Cameron Mitchell had already been nominated for an Oscar for his portrayal of Happy Loman in the 1951 screen version of Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman. For Anne Bancroft, Gorilla was her fifth film under contract to 20th Century Fox. Lee J. Cobb had a prolific screen career and received two Oscar nominations, the first for On the Waterfront, made the same year as Gorilla at Large. Raymond Burr's imposing height, stature and dark brooding looks often landed him the role of the villain. Lee Marvin had begun his film career in Hollywood in the early 1950s playing mainly crooks or cops, as in Gorilla.

George Barrows played the gorilla "Goliath", one of many gorilla roles in his film and TV career. The most infamous of these was as the alien "Ro-Man" in Robot Monster (1953), also a 3-D production, in which he wore a gorilla suit with a diving helmet on his head.

Production

Production for Gorilla At Large took place at Nu Pike Amusement Park in Long Beach, California. The crew had the use of the amusement park from midnight until morning for approximately a week.

Although released through 20th Century Fox, the film was actually made by Leonard Goldstein's Panoramic Productions. The idea behind the deal that was made between the two companies was that Fox would focus and release primarily CinemaScope films, and Panoramic would be their supplier of Academy and flat widescreen ratio films. The only other 3-D production released or produced by Fox was the previous year's Inferno, with Robert Ryan and Rhonda Fleming.

Rather than make different posters for the 2-D and 3-D release of this film only a flat (non 3-D) poster was made. Poster snipes with "3-D" were furnished to use on the posters for theatres showing the 3-D version. This was common practice at the point that the film was released, because fewer theaters were booking 3-D films in their stereoscopic form.

Reception

Bosley Crowther of the New York Times called "Gorilla at Large" a "straight scoop of melodramatic muck about murder and other odd distractions at an outdoor amusement park."
TV Guide said "This often hilarious 3-D thriller stars Bancroft as a trapeze artist at an amusement park, where the top attraction is a ferocious gorilla".
Matt Singer of Rogue Cinema thought that "Even with the numerous goofs and gaffes, there’s something genuinely beautiful about "Gorilla at Large".

Trivia

  • Billy Curtis, one of the Munchkins from The Wizard of Oz had an uncredited role as midget clown/carnival worker.
  • According to Hal Erickson in Allmovie: "Whenever Mel Brooks wanted to get a rise out of wife Anne Bancroft during their joint talk-show appearances of the 1970s, Brooks would bring up the subject of Gorilla at Large. Easily the low point of Ms. Bancroft's movie career...."
  • Thought to be the inspiration behind the name Bananas at Large

Availability

  • A dual projection polarized 3-D print of "Gorilla at Large" was screened at both The World 3-D Expos, most recently at the Second World 3-D Expo on September 17, 2006 at the American Cinematheque's Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, Ca. and at the "3-D at the Castro" film festival October 17, 2006 at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco, California.
  • The trailer can be seen here courtesy of Sabu Cat Productions.
  • Gorilla at Large was released on DVD, September 11 2007 , and does occasionally play on the"Fox Movie Channel" on cable television.

External links

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