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Category:    Home > Reviews > Action > Adventure > Dinosaurs > Western > Valley Of Gwangi (1969/Warner Archive Blu-ray)

Valley Of Gwangi (1969/Warner Archive Blu-ray)

Picture: B+ Sound: B+ Extras: C+ Film: B

PLEASE NOTE: This Blu-ray is now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive series and can be ordered from the link below.

Obviously an inspiration on the lackluster 'flop that could have been amazing' Cowboys and Aliens (2011), the 1969 western fantasy Valley of Gwangi takes a wild west movie formula and mixes it with supernatural beings, in this case, Prehistoric creatures, including dinosaurs including flying Pterodactyls, Triceratops, and of course a vicious T-Rex that goes by Gwangi (executed by Hollywood Special Effects Innovator Ray Harryhausen), and other sights beyond imagination.

Warner Archive presents the film in a well-remastered version on Blu-ray disc with an eye popping transfer, making a film shot so many decades ago looking brand new, even more than you would expect. If you're a fan of goofy Western B-Movies and (then-groundbreaking) stop motion animation, this is a film that is worth revisiting in this release. In many ways, this is a good example of what Jurassic Park would have looked like had it been made in the late 1960s, in such parts.

Valley of Gwangi stars James Franciscus, Gila Golan, Richard Carlson, Laurence Naismith, Freda Jackson, and Gustavo Rojo. The film is directed by Charles H. Schneer who also collaborated with Harryhausen on 1955's It Came From Beneath the Sea (reviewed elsewhere on this site) among their other fantasy collaboration Schneer produced.

Then there's the story. It's known as ''The Forbidden Valley'' - a place in the old west where creatures long thought to be extinct roam. When a beautiful young cowgirl named T.J. (Golan) inherits an unusual miniature horse from the Valley, her rich yet reluctant man Tuck Kirby (Franciscus) thinks it could be the ticket to save her struggling Wild West Live Show. Tuck decides to lead a group to see where the horse came from and ignoring the warnings of a blind Gypsy Woman, the group travels into the scenic wild west and into The Forbidden Valley, where a monstrous T-Rex named Gwangi is at the top of the food chain. When the group use their resources to capture the creature, they take it back to the Wild West show and it opens to a huge crowd. However, when Gwangi escapes - all hell breaks lose!

Presented in 1080p high definition with a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.85:1, the image on the disc is quite impressive with highly rich colors, amazing depth, fine detail and obviously sourced from great 35mm materials. The special effects look fantastic and appear to have been touched up a tad. Too bad Harryhausen isn't around to enjoy this disc. Along with the superb image is a lossless DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono track with a score by Jerome Moross that is epic and genre appropriate.

Special Features...

- Retrospective documentary ''Return to the Valley''

- Original Trailer in HD

- Gwangi and Vanessa (DVD easter egg)

While the story borrows elements from King Kong, The Valley of Gwangi is B-Movie fun and a fascinating time capsule in the art of special effects. One can only imagine that Spielberg was inspired by this in some way for the first two Jurassic Park films. I wouldn't be surprised if this gets eyed for a remake in the wake of Kong: Skull Island's success, which could be interesting.

To order this Warner Archive Blu-ray, go to this link for it and many more great web-exclusive releases at:


- James Lockhart



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