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The Beast of Hollow Mountain

The Beast of Hollow Mountain(1956)

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teaser The Beast of Hollow Mountain (1956)

It was the 1950s, the era of I Love Lucy, big cars, and movies about giant monsters, like The Beast of Hollow Mountain (1956), hailed in its theatrical trailer as "Unforgettable excitement! [...] A new high in motion picture thrills, a new high in terror!"

The Beast of Hollow Mountain was a joint US-Mexico collaboration by Nassour Productions and Peliculas-Rodriguez S.A., and released through United Artists. Produced by William and Edward Nassour, the film was shot at the Nassour Studios in Hollywood and at the Churubusco Studios in Mexico City, with location shooting in the mountains near Cuernavaca and Tepoztlan, Mexico from mid-January to late March 1955. Filmed in CinemaScope, the film introduced what the trailer called "the new "Regiscope Process," which author Roy Kinnard described as feeding "actuating impulses via computer to a mechanical figure (in this case the film's dinosaur monster), thus bringing it to life for the camera.

Inevitably, there was not one word of truth to Nassour's extravagant claims, and "Regiscope," was, in fact, nothing more than a brazen attempt by the producer to deceive a gullible public." What is true is that an English and a Spanish version were filmed back-to-back, and that famed stop-motion animation veteran Willis O'Brien wrote the original treatment, which was about a giant lizard and ranchers. However, O'Brien was supposedly badly treated by producer/director Edward Nassour and did not animate the film, which was done by Jack Rabin and Louis DeWitt. The final screenplay, which deviated significantly from O'Brien's treatment, was by Robert Hill, with additional dialogue by Jack DeWitt.

The unlikely plot starts off as a typical Western, with American rancher Jimmy (Guy Madison) living in Mexico, who finds his cattle disappearing at a rapid rate. The locals tell him that it is the work of a mysterious beast that lives in a swamp, but Jimmy suspects nefarious cattle baron Enrique Ros (Eduardo Noriega) who is engaged to the woman Jimmy loves, Sarita (Patricia Medina). When his friend Pancho (Pascual Garca Pea) disappears in the swamp, Jimmy must rescue his son, Panchito (Mario Navarro), who goes into the swamp to find the monster that killed his father, and Sarita, who has gone to rescue Panchito. The monster turns out to be a dinosaur.

The Beast of Hollow Mountain was released in the United States in 1956, and in Mexico under the title El monstruo de la montaa hueca on April 18, 1957.

SOURCES:The AFI Catalog of Feature Films
http://www.afi.com/members/catalog/DetailView.aspx?s=&Movie=51753
Berry, Mark F. The Dinosaur Filmography
The Internet Movie Database
Kinnard, Roy Beasts and Behemoths: Prehistoric Creatures in the Movies Warren, Bill and Thomas, Bill Keep Watching the Skies!: American Science Fiction Movies of the Fifties https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ar2HCSAPsiU

By Lorraine LoBianco

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