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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Gorgo [Blu-ray]

 

(Eugene Lourie, 1961)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: MGM

Video: VCI Video

 

Disc:

Region: 'A' (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:16:49.855

Disc Size: 42,825,371,179 bytes

Feature Size: 16,466,810,880 bytes

Video Bitrate: 21.99 Mbps

Chapters: 12

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: March 19th, 2013

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-2 Video

 

Audio:

LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit
LPCM Audio French 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit
Music and Effects: LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit

 

Subtitles:

English, none

 

Extras:

"Ninth Wonder Of The World: The Making Of Gorgo" a new documentary by Daniel Griffith (31:08)
Gorgo - Video Comic Book and Comic Book Cover Gallery (32:05)
Extensive Lobby Card & Poster Gallery (5:41)
Photo Gallery (2:12)
Gorgo Toys & Collectibles Gallery (2:57)
Production Notes (2:05)
Original Theatrical Trailer (2:29)
Pressbook Gallery (1:51)
Star Ciné Cosmos - French-language "fumetto" (comic book) (40:41)
Restoration Video – Before & After (2:52)

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: A volcanic eruption in the North Atlantic brings to the surface a 65-foot prehistoric monster. Two treasure divers capture the creature and take him to London where he made the star attraction at a circus. A scientist is thoughtful enough to point out that the sailors’ bonanza is only an infant, and that a full-grown specimen would be over 200 feet in height. Sure enough, Gorgo’s mama comes thundering ashore, reclaims her offspring and heads back to sea — but not before, she trashes a generous portion of London.

 

 

The Film:

Gorgo is an attempt to make a Japanese-style "giant reptile" flick in an English setting. The story begins when underwater volcanic activity in the Irish Sea brings forth a 65-foot monster called Gorgo. Enterprising Joe (Bill Travers) and Sam (William Sylvester) capture the beast and transport it to London, where Gorgo is put on display as a seaside carnival attraction. This proves to be a major mistake when Gorgo's even larger mother lumbers to the surface in search of her cute li'l baby. In short order, London is trampled and trashed.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

Not many monster movies have as original or inventive a storyline as Gorgo. Under Lourié's direction, the film's credited writers John Loring and Daniel Hyatt (actually the blacklisted Robert L. Richards and Daniel James) concocted a tale in which a defiant Mother Nature triumphs over human greed and folly. Lourié had noted that his young daughter loved the original Beast, and was unhappy to see it meet the traditional fate indicated for classic movie monsters. Lourié decided that his new monster would not only live, but also prevail. This idea reportedly met with the King Brothers enthusiastic approval. When trying to get the British censor to allow children to see the movie, they claimed it to be a testimony to Mother Love. As finished, the show definitely communicates an emotional proto-ecological message.

Excerpt from TCM located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Gorgo arrives on Blu-ray from VCI.  The image quality is fairly unremarkable but does show some grain interspersed with the digital noise.  It has a reasonable bitrate but uses the MPEG-2 encode as opposed to the more popular (and superior) AVC. I suspect this might have helped the image in terms of contrast - and hence, detail. The 1080P resolution makes a few of the effects transparent but we should realize this was a modestly budgeted flic. One thing I will say is that it looked significantly better in-motion than the static screen captures are indicating. It is in the bastardized 1.78:1 aspect ratio. If you go by the split-screen restoration demo in the extras you might tend to be more lenient with the visual quality. It was, at least, consistent, heavy, thick, but soft although colors (explosions) were vibrant.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

We get a linear PCM stereo at 1536 kbps that isn't without some ups and downs. It does exports the effects (Gorgo roars) with some nice depth. Angelo Lavagnino's typical and totally suitable score benefits from the lossless rendering. There are options for a French DUB or an isolated music and effects track. There are optional English subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.

 

Extras :

There are plenty of supplements. Beyond the Galleries (Lobby Card & Poster, Photo, Toys & Collectibles, Comic Book Cover and Pressbook) there is a new (2013) 1/2 hour documentary by Daniel Griffith entitled "Ninth Wonder Of The World: The Making Of Gorgo". It has Bob Burns, C. Courtney Joyner and Ted Newsom discussing the film's production and effects. What I thought was cool were two 'Video Comic Books' - a 1/2 hour one of a well-drawn Gorgo comic (page by page viewing) and another, 40-minutes of a Star Ciné Cosmos - French-language "fumetto" (comic book). There is a 2-minute restoration demonstration, theatrical trailer and scanned production notes.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Gorgo was fun - and kind of unique. There was a lot put into this story from the creature-feature aspect to the exploitation-of-the-monster moral angle - and lastly the triumphant rescue of the baby Gorgo. It's no masterpiece but fans of the sci-fi genre should find enough to make it one part of a Home Theatre Double Feature night (I might choose THEM! as the 'A' picture). The Blu-ray isn't stellar but so much effort was put into the package with the cool menu animations, entire digital comic book, and documentary to give it a lot of value. If you are even remotely into this genre - you probably won't regret a purchase. 

Gary Tooze

March 27th, 2013

 

About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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