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  Yeti: The Giant of the 20th Century AbominableBuy this film here.
Year: 1977
Director: Gianfranco Parolini
Stars: Antonella Interlenghi, Mimmo Craig, Jim Sullivan, Tony Kendall, Edoardo Faieta, John Stacy, Stelio Candelli, Loris Bazzocchi, Donald O'Brien, Aldo Canti, Francesco D'Adda, Giuseppe Mattei, Claudio Zucchet, Stefano Cedrati, Agostino Scuderi
Genre: Trash, Fantasy, Adventure
Rating:  4 (from 1 vote)
Review: Professor Henry Wasserman (John Stacy) may be officially retired, but that hasn't stopped his former boss, the multimillionaire businessman Morgan Hunnicut (Edoardo Faieta) from dropping in on him as he tries to prepare a meal at his countryside retreat - literally, as Morgan is hanging from a helicopter. He has a proposition for him, which is to return to work to oversee a new project after a huge block of ice was found washed up in Newfoundland. What's so special about that? There's a frozen yeti (Mimmo Craig) encased in it, that's what.

The Dino de Laurentiis produced remake of King Kong of the seventies spawned a few imitators, mostly from those movie industries outside the grasp of his lawyers, which the British Queen Kong was unlucky enough to fall foul of. This Italian production, on the other hand, was able to get released around the time it was made, to general disbelief among those hardy few who shelled out to see it at the cinema, managing to escape the Dino movie factory's attentions by not putting the gorilla head on their gorilla suit. Nope, you could see the actor's face in this one, making him assuredly not a giant ape but a giant apeman - big difference.

If you were looking for comparisons with a rather better known work, this Yeti (which the characters distractingly call "Yay-tee" in the English dub) closely resembled Oddbod from Carry On Screaming, only even taller: it's difficult to make out exactly how much taller, but he's about thirty feet in height, give or take ten feet either way, depending on what the shot's like and the according special effects. Using superimposition and even some very large props such as a massive hand or an enormous pair of feet, the illusion is complete - completely unbelievable, that was, which made for some true hilarity, not least due to the sympathy-pleading expressions mute star Craig pulled, puppy dog eyes and all.

Every giant ape - even those giant not quite apes - needs a Fay Wray or appropriate substitute, so the big guy here got a teenage Italian actress called Antonella Interlenghi, who played Morgan's daughter Jane. She was not alone, as her younger brother appears too, also mute, and they get a pet dog for maximum tearjerking potential. It takes a while (after Yeti is defrosted with some decidedly unscientific flamethrowers) but this trio do get to like the ancient visitor from the Himalayas, and the feeling is mutual, therefore when the bad guys make their move it's the cue for him to embark on the expected rampage, through the not often bothered with monsters city of Montreal. Morgan's not such an evil sort, really, simply crassly commercial, which the film hypocritically criticises him for.

That indicates there are other, better hidden bad guys around, and they do come from a surprising place in that the apparent leading (human) man Tony Kendall looks to be set up as boyfriend material for Jane. Except his cynical comments reveal him as not on Yeti's side, and evidently director Gianfranco Parolini (better known for his Westerns, only they were falling out of favour by this stage and he was attempting a failed branching out in another direction) did not wish anything to get in the way of the platonic romance between the girl and the apeman. The trademarks of Italian cash-in cinema are all there in such scenes of dubious taste as Jane riding in the hero's hand and tweaking his nipple in surprise (getting a handful of icky hair in the process), the infamous fish comb, or the violent, not exactly family friendly deaths which included a man strangled by a sizeable pair of toes. Absolutely ridiculous from beginning to end, particularly in its tries at emotional resonance, this was essential for the bad movie buffs. Carmina Burana-sounding music by Sante Maria Romitelli.

Aka: Yeti - il gigante del 20. secolo
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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