THE BEAST OF HOLLOW MOUNTAIN
(directors: Edward Nassour/Ismael Rodriguez; screenwriters: story idea by Willis O’Brien/Robert Hill/Jack DeWitt; cinematographer: Jorge Stahl Jr.; editor: Holbrook Todd; music: Raul Lavista; cast: Guy Madison (Jimmy Ryan), Patricia Medina (Sarita), Carlos Rivas (Felipe Sánchez), Julio Villarreal (Don Pedro), Pascual García Peña(Pancho), Mario Navarro (Panchito), Edward Noriega (Enrique Rios), Lupe Carriles (Margarita); Runtime: 81; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: William and Edward Nassour; UA release; 1956)
“A dull film”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A dull film that is beautifully shot in CinemaScope, in Mexico, and as a novelty combines a cowboy story and monster horror story, using the trite conventional formulas of each genre.Co-directors Edward Nassour and Ismael Rodriguez rely on a ridiculous but eye-popping climax, of a pre-historic dinosaur emerging from the titled mountain to spread fear among the locals while a stampeding herd runs through the village during a wedding celebration. The stop-motion special-effects (using the new animation process “Nassour Regiscope”) for creating the Tyrannosaur-Rex monster, who is tamed in the swamps, might only thrill school children but it did add some pep to a routine cattle rancher rivalry story and makes things watchable as the film wavers between fantasy and reality filmmaking.
The pic is based on an idea by Willis O’Brien, and his story was re-filmed a second time in 1969 as Valley of Gwangi. Robert Hill and Jack DeWitt are responsible for the screenplay.
Texas cowboy Jimmy Ryan (Guy Madison) partners with his Mexican amigo Felipe Sánchez (Carlos Rivas) in a northern backwater Mexico ranch that borders Hollow Mountain, where legend has it there lives a giant dinosaur. The struggling ranchers are experiencing cattle rustling and assume their hot-tempered rich rival rancher Enrique Ríos (Carlos Rivas) is responsible and laugh off the idea of the superstitious locals that it’s the monster living in the mountain that’s taking their cattle. The mountain goes unexplored because there’s an unpassable swamp on its grounds.
Another rich Mexican rancher, the generous Don Pedro (Julio Villarreal), befriends Jimmy and tries to prevent a fight between Enrique and the Americano. Don Pedro’s attractive daughter Sarita (Patricia Medina) is set to marry Enrique in a few days, but has a change of heart when falling in love with the hunky deep-voiced Jimmy. This drives the treacherous Enrique crazy with jealousy and he hires two goons to stampede the American’s cattle as it’s brought to market for sale. In the meantime, a 7-year-old (Mario Navarro) combs the mountain looking for his widowed father (Pascual García Peña), who vanished when entering the swamp to search for the monster. This brings all the participants to the mountain in a rescue effort, as Jimmy rescues the kid and finds a way to deal with the monster and win the girl.
REVIEWED ON 6/28/2013 GRADE: C+ https://dennisschwartzreviews.com/