Gorgo (1961)

78 mins | Horror | 10 February 1961

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HISTORY

Although John Loring and Daniel Hyatt were given credit for the screenplay when the film was initially released, according to official Writers Guild of America (WGA) records, Loring was a pseudonym for writer Robert L. Richards and Hyatt was a pseudonym for writer Daniel James. The WGA later changed the screenplay credit to read: "Screenplay and Screen Story by Robert L. Richards and Daniel James."
       Herman King, brother of producers Frank and Maurice King, was involved with the picture, according to an article in the 17 May 1959 LAT. Gorgo, which cost an estimated $2 million, was said to be independently financed by King Brothers Productions, as noted in items in the 25 Sep 1959 DV and 1 Jun 1960 Var. According to the 17 May 1959 LAT, the King brothers initially planned to set the film in Paris, France. However, the locale was changed to London, England, and principal photography commenced on 14 Sep 1959 at the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) studio facilities in Elstree, England. Location shooting was also set to take place in London and in Ireland. A 26 May 1960 DV article claimed that 10,000 extras were used throughout filming. A fifty-eight-day shooting schedule was planned, making it the King Brothers’ most ambitious effort, to date, as noted in the 25 Sep 1959 DV. Principal photography ended shortly before 16 Dec 1959, as indicated in a news item published in that day’s DV.
       Gorgo was said to be the first production to use Eastman Fastcolor film stock. The production also utilized a new visual effects process called ... More Less

Although John Loring and Daniel Hyatt were given credit for the screenplay when the film was initially released, according to official Writers Guild of America (WGA) records, Loring was a pseudonym for writer Robert L. Richards and Hyatt was a pseudonym for writer Daniel James. The WGA later changed the screenplay credit to read: "Screenplay and Screen Story by Robert L. Richards and Daniel James."
       Herman King, brother of producers Frank and Maurice King, was involved with the picture, according to an article in the 17 May 1959 LAT. Gorgo, which cost an estimated $2 million, was said to be independently financed by King Brothers Productions, as noted in items in the 25 Sep 1959 DV and 1 Jun 1960 Var. According to the 17 May 1959 LAT, the King brothers initially planned to set the film in Paris, France. However, the locale was changed to London, England, and principal photography commenced on 14 Sep 1959 at the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) studio facilities in Elstree, England. Location shooting was also set to take place in London and in Ireland. A 26 May 1960 DV article claimed that 10,000 extras were used throughout filming. A fifty-eight-day shooting schedule was planned, making it the King Brothers’ most ambitious effort, to date, as noted in the 25 Sep 1959 DV. Principal photography ended shortly before 16 Dec 1959, as indicated in a news item published in that day’s DV.
       Gorgo was said to be the first production to use Eastman Fastcolor film stock. The production also utilized a new visual effects process called Automotion, developed by special photographic effects man Tom Howard. An item in the 17 Dec 1959 DV described Automotion as a method that entailed “traveling matte and split screen devices combined with a special technique.” Around three months were spent on visual effects work, according to the 19 Aug 1960 DV, which stated that visual effects filming had just been completed.
       A 22 Dec 1960 DV brief announced that Gorgo would premiere two days later in Hong Kong, a month prior to its U.S. premiere. On 23 Dec 1960, DV reported that the film would be advertised in the U.S. with twenty-four television spots, a “record number” for MGM, touting the film as a family picture. Nearly two months later, the 15 Feb 1961 Var noted Gorgo’s recent domestic debut at Philadelphia, PA’s Fox Theatre on 10 Feb 1961. Threatrical release followed in New York City on 29 Mar 1961, as noted in the following day’s NYT review. The film was shown in multiple theaters there, on a double bill with The Amazing Transparent Man (1960, see entry).
       The picture was predicted to be a box-office success in a 25 Jan 1961 Var review. A 24 Mar 1961 DV news item subsequently quoted Herman King as saying that a $6 million worldwide gross was anticipated. Several months later, the 8 Nov 1961 Var reported that the King brothers were “irate” over the British film censor’s decision to rate the film “X,” which barred children under the age of sixteen from seeing it. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
19 May 1959
p. 4.
Daily Variety
27 May 1959
p. 11.
Daily Variety
25 Sep 1959
p. 6.
Daily Variety
25 Sep 1959
p. 9.
Daily Variety
16 Dec 1959
p. 2.
Daily Variety
17 Dec 1959
p. 23.
Daily Variety
26 May 1960
p. 2.
Daily Variety
17 Aug 1960
p. 3.
Daily Variety
19 Aug 1960
p. 17.
Daily Variety
20 Oct 1960
p. 2.
Daily Variety
13 Dec 1960
p. 3.
Daily Variety
22 Dec 1960
p. 13.
Daily Variety
23 Dec 1960
p. 2.
Daily Variety
24 Mar 1961
p. 3.
Los Angeles Times
13 May 1959
Section A, p. 11.
Los Angeles Times
17 May 1959
Section B, p. 5.
Los Angeles Times
16 Dec 1960
Section A, p. 13.
Los Angeles Times
13 Mar 1961
Section C, p. 13.
New York Times
30 Mar 1961.
---
Variety
15 Jul 1959
p. 4.
Variety
23 Sep 1959
p. 3.
Variety
1 Jun 1960
p. 7.
Variety
25 Jan 1961
p. 6.
Variety
15 Feb 1961
p. 8.
Variety
8 Nov 1961
p. 13.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
1st & 2nd asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
Exec prod
Assoc prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
SOUND
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog eff
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
Prod secy
Prop buyer
DETAILS
Release Date:
10 February 1961
Premiere Information:
World premiere in Hong Kong: 24 Dec 1960; Philadelphia opening: 10 Feb 1961; Los Angeles opening: 15 Mar 1961; New York opening: 29 Mar 1961
Production Date:
14 Sep--late Nov or early Dec 1959
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Technicolor
Widescreen/ratio
Automotion
Duration(in mins):
78
Countries:
Ireland, United Kingdom, United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Following an undersea volcanic explosion off the coast of Ireland, a gigantic sixty-five-foot monster is released from its underwater home. After terrorizing the mainland, the beast is captured in a steel net by two salvage boatmen, Joe Ryan and Sam Slade, who decide to ignore the wishes of Irish paleontologists from the University of Dublin and take the creature to London, England, for exhibition in the Battersea Funfair. They are accompanied by a young orphan boy, Sean, whom they have befriended. Though the little boy takes pity on the curious beast, now named Gorgo, he is prevented by Joe from setting it free. Word is received that Gorgo is merely an infant and his 250-foot tall mother is heading toward London in search of her offspring. Destroyers, flamethrowers, missiles, and jet airplanes all fail to halt the monster's progress, and the terrified London populace takes flight. Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, the Houses of Parliament, the Thames' huge Tower Bridge, and Piccadilly Circus are left in ruins by the mammoth beast's rampage. Only when it reaches its infant's side does the havoc subside. Peace returns as the two creatures make their way back to the depths of the ... +


Following an undersea volcanic explosion off the coast of Ireland, a gigantic sixty-five-foot monster is released from its underwater home. After terrorizing the mainland, the beast is captured in a steel net by two salvage boatmen, Joe Ryan and Sam Slade, who decide to ignore the wishes of Irish paleontologists from the University of Dublin and take the creature to London, England, for exhibition in the Battersea Funfair. They are accompanied by a young orphan boy, Sean, whom they have befriended. Though the little boy takes pity on the curious beast, now named Gorgo, he is prevented by Joe from setting it free. Word is received that Gorgo is merely an infant and his 250-foot tall mother is heading toward London in search of her offspring. Destroyers, flamethrowers, missiles, and jet airplanes all fail to halt the monster's progress, and the terrified London populace takes flight. Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, the Houses of Parliament, the Thames' huge Tower Bridge, and Piccadilly Circus are left in ruins by the mammoth beast's rampage. Only when it reaches its infant's side does the havoc subside. Peace returns as the two creatures make their way back to the depths of the sea. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.