Dir. by Jim O’Connolly
This is one straight from the good old days of the Saturday afternoon monster movie. It stars the animated creations of Ray Harryhausen, a menagerie of carnivorous dinosaurs, belligerent pachyderms, and a mighty cute lil’ prehistoric pony. Oh yeah, there are some actors too.
A down-on-its-luck Wild West show hits a small Mexican town, the lady boss, T.J. (Gila Golan) is looking for the Next Big Thing. She’s pretty sure it’s not her ex, Tuck (James Franciscus) who has also hit town. Rather it’s a prehistoric horse the size of a housecat. An English paleontologist (Laurence Naismith) recognizes this as the find of the century. The business is complicated because Carlos (Gustavo Rojo), the chap who found the itty-bitty horsy, is from a Gypsy band ruled by his crazy old one-eyed mom (Freda Jackson). She is determined that mini-Dobbin must go back. Pretty soon the cowboys and the paleontologist track down the mysterious valley where the beastie came from. In a thrilling sequence the buckaroos rope, throw, and brand them a meat-eating Allosaurus known as Gwangi.
Pretty soon Gwangi is slated to be star of the show. But one should never cross an eye-patch wearing Gypsy granny lightly, especially when she has a midget sidekick! Gwangi escapes and after dining on an elephant and a dozen or so ticket holders (from the cheap seats, thank God!) he’s gunning for Tuck and T.J. The fastest hand will survive!
Now a cynic might say this is just King Kong in Mexico (if we took care of the dinosaur problem, immigration reform would be a snap). But this has COWBOYS and DINOSAURS, for crying out loud! Who could not love it? Gwangi is rousing good fun and classic special effects from the master of stop-motion.