For those of you who are interested, this is the movie that cemented John Wayne’s image as Hollywood’s personification of the All-American war hero (despite his never serving a day in the military). The former Marion Michael Morrison had made a handful of war movies between 1941 and ’45, but it is Sgt. John Stryker that still forms the public’s perception of Wayne’s tough guy persona.
It took them sixteen years, but they finally made a real sequel to the original King Kong. Okay, Mighty Joe Young is not technically a sequel to the 1933 classic, but they definitely share the same DNA. Like Kong, Joe Young was produced by Merian C. Cooper and directed by Ernest B. Shoedsack from a screenplay by Ruth Rose. Stop motion animation pioneer Willis H. O’Brien is still around, supervising his young protégé, Ray Harryhausen. From the cast, Robert Armstrong is back as nightclub owner Max O’Hara, who has a lot more ideas than sense. While he’s not playing Carl Denham, it’s easy to imagine O’Hara as Denham still living under an assumed name to evade the lawsuits stemming from the problems he had with the last big ape he ran into.