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Mighty Joe Young (1949)

Two giants in the field of special effects came together 75 years ago for the only film for which either would win a competitive Oscar. Willis O’Brien had pioneered in stop-motion animation with pictures like The Lost World (1925) and King Kong (1933). The younger Ray Harryhausen had worked on George Pal’s Puppetoons when his work caught O’Brien’s eye. Together, they created another giant ape for Kong’s original producers and co-directors, Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack. Raised in Africa by a female rancher (Terry Moore), the title character is brought to the U.S. as a nightclub attraction, only to be driven to violence by brutish humans. That premise sets the stage for some spectacular set pieces that question the difference between man and beast. 

d. Ernest B. Schoedsack, 94m, 35mm