Gorilla at Large Film Details
Overview: At a carnival called the Garden of Evil, a man is murdered, apparently by a gorilla…or someone in a gorilla suit.
Tagline: Get out of his way – Before it’s too late!
Review: Gorilla at Large is directed by Harmon Jones and jointly written by Leonard Praskins and Barney Slater. It stars Cameron Mitchell, Anne Bancroft, Lee J. Cobb, Raymond Burr and Charlotte Austin. Out of Panoramic Productions and filmed in Technicolor, the music is by Lionel Newman and cinematography is by Lloyd Ahern. An amusement park/circus is rocked when a freshly sacked employee is found brutally murdered inside the cage of the star attraction, Goliath the Giant Gorilla. The evidence points to it being the short tempered beast, but many of the human employees also had reasons to commit the crime… Well it sounds like a Z grade picture, both in title and synopsis, and with it originally released in 3D during the short lived 3D boom of the mid 1950s, it was hardly going to be the Citizen Kane of Schlocky Horrorville. Yet it’s a picture that is far better than it has any right to be, oozing a fun vibe coupled with the “who done it?” mystery element, pic doesn’t lack for effort or genuine intrigue. Yes it’s unintentionally funny at times, and there was never going to be a time when a man in a Gorilla suit (George Barrows) wasn’t going to be corny, but it’s a very good production (lovely Technicolor) and boasts a super cast of actors into the bargain. Is it scary? Well no, not really, that is unless you suffer from Agrizoophobia? Yet there’s enough suspense and iffy character shenanigans to more than lift this above the ridiculous. Anne Bancroft spent the rest of her career denouncing the film, like many others who were tied into studio contracts back in the day, thus “having” to do films they would rather not do, she forgot that this type of film still had many fans. She looks a picture here, very slinky and shapely, OK so she’s not pulling up any acting trees as the central lady character, but it’s a nice performance that sits well with the tone of the story. Burr files in for one of his imposing “possible” villain roles, and Mitchell is at home in the genre. There’s much fun to be had with Cobb’s performance as cigar chomping Detective Sergeant Garrison, mainly because he seems to be the only male actor taking it seriously! Unlike Lee Marvin, who in a secondary supporting cop role plays it with tongue in cheek and appears to be enjoying himself into the bargain. Nice to see the chiselled features of Warren Stevens (Forbidden Planet) on board as well. Filmed at Nu Pike Amusement Park in Long Beach, California, Harmon Jones (The Pride of St. Louis) makes good use of the funfair location. With rides and stalls colourfully forming the backdrop, there’s a big sense of fun and adventure as the bustling public carry on about their business oblivious to the murder, love ratting and suspicion that’s going on behind the scenes. It also allows the director to slot in some staple (good) funfair sequences, namely the Room of Mirrors and the Roller Coaster. While Newman’s score isn’t found wanting as it builds up a head of steam for the more dramatic periods. As for the outcome of this murder mystery? Well it’s a doozy, nigh on impossible to figure out because it’s suitably bonkers. And that’s just one of the many beauties of Gorilla at Large. 7/10
Duration: 83 min
Genre: Crime, Film-Noir, Mystery, Thriller
Also known as: Panique sur la ville,La bestia negra,Gorila scapata,Gorilla na svobode,Paniek over de stad,Huvipuiston hirviö,Горилла на свободе,El gorila asesino,The Gorilla,Gorilla at Large,Gorillaen er løs,Gorilla op de Vlucht,Горила на свобода,Der Würger von Coney Island,A Besta Negra,Goryl atakuje,Gorilla in fuga,O Gorila à Solta,Gorilla lös!,Eglima sto tsirko