“Far as I know there’s a couple a gorillas around here and one of them’s a killer.”
The main attraction at Cyrus Miller’s (Raymond Burr) carnival is the giant gorilla Goliath. When he is shown the crowd goes wild with fear. To add to the suspense trapeze artist Laverne Miller (Anne Bancroft) swings above the brute just out of reach. Laverne thinks the act is getting stale and wants to add a new feature.
Joey Matthews (Cameron Mitchell) is a carnival barker at the circus. Laverne wants to add him to her act. He’s an ex-marine and strong. At a pivotal moment in her act she wants the have Goliath replaced by Joey in a gorilla suit. Joey would then catch Laverne when she drops on a leg catch from the trapeze. In the arms of what the crowd thinks is a gorilla she would then be hoisted over the fake gorilla’s head enthralling the crowd. The only one that can control Goliath is his handler Kovacs (Peter Whitney).
Unfortunately there are some nefarious things going on at the carnival. Concessionaire Morse (John Kellogg) has been dipping into the till. He ends up dead outside Goliath’s cage with a broken neck. Assigned to the case is detective Garrison (Lee J. Cobb). He suspects Joey. Then Owens (Charles Tannen) tells Garrison that he has information. Owens ends up dead with a broken neck.
Garrison has a lot of suspects that include a gorilla and a guy in a gorilla suit and a surprising confession. Now with two murders on his hands Garrison has to sort out the good guys from the bad guys but he’s going to need help. Help comes from the one he suspects the most.
“Gorilla At Large” was released is 1954 and was directed by Harmon Jones. It is a 3-D film. For your basic low budget gorillasploitation movie this has got quite a few stars in it. Cameron Mitchell, Anne Bancroft, Lee J. Cobb, Lee Marvin, and Raymond Burr to name a few.
This movie ended up being so much better than I thought it would be. It was actually really good. I expected a lame plot-less campy gorilla movie. The movie surprised me. Yes, the acting was good. You can’t get away from that with so many stars and character actors.
What I also admired was the plot and the production values. The sets were well done and the plot was intricate enough to add suspense but, at least to me, not over done. I’ve seen it called a crime movie, a mystery movie and a film noir. Although film noir may be pushing it I agree on the crime and mystery aspects of the film.
The gorilla is played by George Barrows. It is the second 3-D film from 20th Century Fox. It is technically an independent film but released in co-operation with 20th Century.