This listing is for Mighty Joe Young VHS Video Tape Lot.
* Mighty Joe Young [VHS] 1949 RKO Collection (New Sealed)
He may only come up to King Kong's shin, but Joe makes up in heart what he lacks in size. This sweet tale of a girl and her pet/best friend, an African gorilla with the soul of a kitten, pulls on a different set of heartstrings than the giant ape classic. Robert Armstrong practically repeats his role from King Kong as a Broadway producer who lures Jill Young (Terry Moore) and Joe, an ape she raised from baby (a splendidly realized stop-motion character created by Willis O'Brien, the creator behind Kong), to New York as the star attraction at his new nightclub. Caged in a cramped basement holding cell, the unhappy Joe finally goes berserk after a trio of drunks ply him with alcohol, and the city rules him a menace. In a desperate attempt to save Joe from execution, Jill rounds up her friends and confidants (including beefy love interest Ben Johnson) for a jailbreak. This human-scale drama is more subdued than its inspiration, but the nightclub rampage remains a terrifying scene in its mad destruction; and the climax, involving a raging fire at an orphanage (have these filmmakers no shame?!), still impresses.
* Mighty Joe Young [VHS] Disney Edition
Charlize Theron is the latest stunning blonde to be hanging around some big ape in a Hollywood movie, this one a remake of the 1949 semi-classic with echoes of the superior King Kong. Theron plays the daugher of an American researcher killed by poachers in Africa. The baby gorilla left in her care grows up to become a hugely tall and broad specimen named Joe, living in the mountains as a mostly unseen legend among people who live there. Along comes an eco-minded emissary (Bill Paxton) from a California sanctuary, who talks the jungle girl into providing safe haven for Joe at the L.A. facility. The transition is not without discomfort, but everything is aggravated via a conspiracy of poachers to get Joe into their own greedy hands. Director Ron Underwood (City Slickers) uses a combination of special-effects techniques to give Joe life and personality, and he succeeds quite effectively. The requisite giant-ape-goes-amok scenes are all in place--a couple of them pretty intense--as is a conclusion that finds the simian hero performing a stunning feat of escalation. Underwood attempts to give a little modern spin to some classic Hollywood conventions regarding wild hearts lost in civilization, and the results are pretty agreeable family fare.
The Original Mighty Joe Young (also called Mr. Joseph Young of Africa and The Great Joe Young) is a 1949 American black-and-white fantasy film from RKO Radio Pictures made by the same creative team responsible for King Kong (1933). Produced by Merian C. Cooper, who wrote the story, and Ruth Rose who wrote the screenplay, the film was directed by Ernest B. Schoedsack and stars Robert Armstrong, who appears in both films, Terry Moore, and Ben Johnson in his first credited screen role. Mighty Joe Young tells the story of a young woman, Jill Young, living on her father's ranch in Africa, who has raised the title character, a giant gorilla, from an infant and years later brings him to Hollywood seeking her fortune so she can save the family homestead. In the Disney remake, Mighty Joe Young is a 1998 American adventure film based on the 1949 film of the same name and directed by Ron Underwood. It stars Bill Paxton and Charlize Theron, and in the film's version, the ape is much larger than in the original. The movie grossed $50,632,037 million with a production budget of $90 million.
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