Impressive FX for the era, Gorgo (1961) was Eugene Lourie's third dinosaur-attack film, beginning with The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953).
Fathoms had splendid Ray Harryhausen stop-motion special FX which were painstaking & expensive.
That first film of the trilogy inspired the "man in rubber dinosaur suit" method with the first Godzilla (1954). The rubber suit approach was quicker & cheaper than stop-motion animation.
So coming full circle, the Japanese method inspired Gorgo, which seems only fair, & then the "dinosaur stomp" was truly an international dance.
In between the black & white Fathoms & the technicolor Gorgo, Lourie did another stop-motion version, Behemoth the Sea Monster (1959), usually regarded as the least exciting of the trilogy, though the dinosaur-dominated sequences by Willis O'Brien were delightful.
In the first scripted version, Gorgo stomped Japan, but somewhere along the line it was decided not to make it so obviously a Godzilla imitation. As Gorgo begins, a salvage ship is nearly destroyed as an undersea volcano roils the waters.
Crippled & in need of provisions, the mariners hobble into the cove of an obscure Irish island (called "Nara Island" still with the Japanese nfluence showing).
Islanders have that reticent manner that just screams without sound "something's going on around here."
The bay is a ships' graveyard & there's a chap not native to island who is recovering ancient gold & doesn't want word to get off the island about riches to be gained.
But all that becomes rather beside the kpoint when a guy in a Godzilla suit, with the same screaching-roar of Godzilla, but named Gorgo, rises up in the bay. It's scared back to its underground lair by islanders throwing torches.
With some undersea photography mixed with a diving-bell model FX, we're treated to visions of the aquatic dinosaur in its own environment. Nice stuff.
The salvage ship uses its specialized gear & a big net to capture the critter & soon Ireland is claiming it for their museum, except the salvage crew would rather sell it for a great profit & so spirits it away to sell a London carnival.
Gorgo causes problems in his carnival display but, fearing fire, is controlable with flame throwers.
Turns out, though, despite Gorgon's size, he's the baby. And Ogra, Gorgo's 200 foot tall mommy, is on her way to stomp all over London & knock down the Tower of Big Ben. It has a happy ending of Ogra rescuing Gorgo, uninjured by modern weaponry as they return to the sea.
Transiently a big fad, Gorgo inspired toys, a novelization, & comic books which accumulated twenty-six issues. A sample of these novelties are pictured with this review.
The paperback (shown up top) issued weeks ahead of the film was credited to Carson Bingham, one of the numerous pseudonyms of pulp writer & editor & old time radio scriptwriter Bruce Cassiday (1920-2005).
For another dinosaur, see:
Phantom Empire (1986)
copyright © by Paghat the Ratgirl