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. --Sean Axmaker
A slick nightclub owner (King Kong veteran Robert Armstrong) discovers the giant ape frolicking in Africa as the beloved pet of a young girl (Terry Moore). He brings both to Hollywood as a floor-show sensation until some no-goods ply Joe with booze and the blitzed behemoth goes bonkers. Highlights such as Armstrong's henchmen trying to lasso Joe cowpoke style Joe playing tug-of-war with musclemen and plenty of Joe-to-the-rescue action make Mighty Joe Young mighty fine entertainment.Running Time: 94 min.Format: DVD MOVIE Genre: DRAMA UPC: 053939725322
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