KING KONG is the extraordinary remake of the legendary tale of beauty and the beast. Heading out to a remote island, a film producer and his crew are anything but prepared for what awaits. When their lead female is taken captive and offered as a sacrifice to a 25 foot gorilla the rest of her brave men will have to brave confrontations with dinosaurs, 3 ft insects, and of course, the King himself. Taking him captive, the gorilla is subject to a mercenary New York where his fate lay in the hands of a fragile 5 foot beauty, Ann Darrow.
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This review is from: King Kong (Two-Disc Special Edition) (DVD) For anyone who knows anything in regard to what cinema is supposed to be all about, the 1933 KING KONG still ranks among the greatest films ever made. A film's greatness is ultimately measured, not by how many Oscars it may have garnered in its day, but rather by the influence it left on audiences and filmmakers for generations to come. Certainly Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack's fantastic fable of the gigantic, lovestruck gorilla has that going for it and much more. It has an audacity that wouldn't work in another movie yet is so appropriate here because of the primal nature of the story. KING KONG is among the handful of films that happened to have all the aesthetic and narrative elements gel to form a seamless 100 minutes of pure, unabashed entertainment. It pulsates with a raw, primordial energy that seems to defy the passage of time. In the 70 plus years since the film's release, Kong himself, Fay Wray, and the Empire State Building have gone on to dwell forever in our collective pop-culture consciousness. In fact, the character King Kong is so famous that many today have the misconception he existed in fiction even before the film that introduced him was made!KING KONG was unquestionably an innovative film in so many ways, and has even more cinematic flourish than it's usually given credit for. Actually, it isn't exaggerating to describe it as avant garde for that time. Well deserved plaudits go to Willis O'Brien's amazing, tour de force visual effects, Murray Spivack's groundbreaking sound mix, and Max Steiner's highly evocative, even operatic music score. Not only was this the first time audiences saw such a motion picture, it was the first time they heard one like it as well. One of KONG's greatest assets is its uncanny ability to involve the viewer. This is accomplished through the clever narrative and through the fluid cinematography, which employs a generous amount of subjective camera shots. The next time you watch the film take note of how often the action (close-ups, zooms, tracking shots) is directed from your point of view, in effect, manipulating you into absorbing what you're seeing. One is hard pressed to think of another film from the period - and for some time after (1947's DARK PASSAGE with Humphrey Bogart is one) - that made such bold, liberal use of this technique, and it's handled so expertly in KONG that the viewer is unaware of it; yet he can't resist being drawn in right from the start when the main title zooms up from the background and fills the screen. The filmmakers knew in 1933 that they were breaking the mold with this picture, and audiences must have been totally unprepared for it.When we look at KING KONG more as a film and less as a legend, we find that all of its excelling components are held together by the ingenious screenplay which was written by Schoedsack's wife, the unsung Ruth Rose. This sometimes gets overlooked in discussions about the film in which its technical innovations are chiefly praised, whereas the story is regarded as "simple". Yet, this is exactly why KONG works so brilliantly. The story is simple on the surface, but there is a sophisticated subtext at work that gives the film a remarkable depth which many people don't expect it to have. We suspend our disbelief and get lured in because the script follows a natural sequence of events that unfold in a smooth, storybook fashion we don't see too often in films. KING KONG basically and very cleverly presents the premise of how an idea for a movie unexpectedly attains a life of its own when the protagonists are forced to play it out in real life with staggering consequences. Quite effectively, Carl Denham's imaginary "Beauty and the Beast" movie plot becomes everyone's - but especially Ann Darrow's - living nightmare. Other outstanding films set within a movie making context are Josef von Sternberg's THE LAST COMMAND (1928), Federico Fellini's 8 1/2 (1963), and Jean Luc-Godard's CONTEMPT (1963). One essential point they botched in both the '76 and '05 versions is that, in Cooper's own concept of the story, Kong is totally misunderstood by all - including Ann Darrow. Rather than wanting to be friends with Kong (as in the remakes), she only wants to escape his clutches the first chance she gets and, in true fairy tale fashion, be rescued by her handsome hero. Some recent critics just don't seem to get this; they want her to warm up to Kong. They're forgetting it's precisely because of Ann Darrow's rejection of Kong that the final epitath, "It was Beauty killed the Beast" is totally appropriate in the original film. After all KING KONG is, at its core, a story about unrequited love. It wasn't conceived to be the traditional "Beauty and the Beast" treatment where Beauty comes to accept and understand her Beast. Instead, in this take on the timeless tale, Kong remains to the end a lonely, tragic victim as Cooper had intended. It is we the audience, not the characters in the film, who come to sympathize with Kong, and therein lies the film's magic. There is a brief but crucial moment snuck in where Kong plucks a tiny white flower, sniffs it, and is about to present it to Ann but is interrupted from doing so by an eel-like dinosaur. Blink and you'll miss it, but freeze frame the DVD and it's there. It makes one wonder: what would Ann Darrow's reaction have been if Kong was allowed to complete this tender gesture toward her? It's much more enigmatic to leave this question unanswered as Cooper did in his film, and this is part of what contributes to KONG's mythical status. The film touches something primal in us, and at the same time it addresses certain social themes in its own unique, proverbial way. Like their film's alter-ego Carl Denham, Cooper and Schoedsack were both adventurers in real life who knew first hand what it was like to go on expeditions to remote, exotic parts of the world. They brought their experiences to KING KONG so that the film, although a fantasy, still manages to convey a certain reality of plot that is apparent to the viewer. Those who like the film strictly for its fantasy aspects don't realize they're only grasping half of what it has to offer. Genuine KONG aficionados appreciate the film on deeper, more mature levels. For example, there are the strong, autobiographical elements of the story regarding the film's creators which give KONG a documentary atmosphere that is truly unique in cinema. Then there's the film's relevance to the time it was made and released which was in the depths of The Great Depression, when audiences needed a film like KING KONG to thrill and amaze them. Finally, it is a film that is just very well thought out in terms of its pacing. Like a roller coaster ride, it starts out leisurely and gradually builds momentum until it takes off and never lets up until the end. It has a three-act structure beginning in New York and the voyage to Skull Mountain, then the longer mid-section on the island with Kong and the other pre-historic creatures, then back to New York for the final climax. When Kong climbs the Empire State Building both islands - Manhattan and Skull Mountain - are united in this single, unforgettable image, and the interplay of fact and fiction this larger than life tale has been unfolding all along before us is given grandiose closure. Thus, from its fictional, opening "Old Arabian Proverb" to its famous, final line (both contributions by Cooper), the film comes full circle and is firmly grounded as a documentary/fairy tale.Like all great films, KING KONG's themes are timeless ones, and in this case even mythic: civilization's ruthless take-over of nature, and how love's transforming power can sometimes be destructive. These themes resonate and help make up the backbone that supports this outlandish, full scale adventure. Many theorists, however, like to go beyond this, insisting that the film is subconsciously racist and overtly sexual. Merian Cooper firmly rejected these notions, maintaining to the end of his life that "KING KONG was never intended to be anything more than the best damned adventure picture ever made. Which it is; and that's all it is." Summing up, KING KONG stands as eloquent testimony to the dedication and craftsmanship of all who were involved in its making. Now with Warner's spectacular DVD set, this wonderful classic looks and sounds better than ever and can be enjoyed by audiences right on into the 21st century.
Jackson hasn't realized just his own dream but the collective dream of everyone who sees the movie screen as a window into the fantastic.
God bless my uncle Frank this was his favorite film and when I askhim why it was he would tell me it's everything you could want in amovie. The "ultimate thrill" ride he would say. He had the pleasureof seeing King Kong when it premired in 1933 as a child and severaltimes after that until his mother would have to come and collect myuncle from the theatre herself. This Collector's editon tin will bethe pride of any true fan of Kong young or old. The image transferis nothing less than perfect and although I'm not a sound major theaudio track sounds decend enough to hear all the talk,sound effectsand that rousing Max Steiner film score. The extras on the disc arethe same as the non tin disc with include the Cooper Documentary,RKO 601 (which by bravo to Peter Jackson and the spx gang at Wetafor their spider pit outtake is nothing less a flawless labor of love.) The tin edition does include the extra mini poster set anda replica of the original 1933 theatre book which shows that thepeople at Warner bros do make an effort to give you your dime's worth. King Kong is just one of those films that works and givesback to viewer what they expect to be..entertained. What my Unclesaid before will always hold true "It's the ultimate thrill ride"
Overlong by half, hedonistically animated and decadently self-indulgent King Kong is beastly to be sure, but there is little beauty here.
In 1933, the bold and successful filmmaker Carl Denham (RobertArmstrong) travels by ship with a large crew, his friend Jack Driscolland the starlet Ann Darrow (Fay Wray) to an unknown island to shoot amovie. The local natives worship a huge gorilla called Kong and theyabduct Ann to offer her in a sacrifice to Kong. Jack Driscoll, who isin love with her, Carl Denham, who aims to capture the animal for anexhibition in New York and part of the crew hike into the jungle, wheredinosaurs live, trying to rescue Ann. King Kong falls in love for Annand protects her against the dangers. But the gorilla is captured andbrought to New York. In the middle of a show in Broadway, King Kongescapes, bringing panic to the Apple city.Two days ago I saw Peter Jackson's unnecessary remake of thismasterpiece, and to recover my love for cinema, I decided to watchagain the original version. "King Kong" is a fantastic movie, with aspectacular story with action, adventure, fantasy, horror, sci-fi andthriller; the special effects are amazing for a 1933 movie, with veryfew resources and equipment; and the use of sound, a few years afterthe silent period, and the powerful screams of Fay Wray, are awesome. Ido not know the intention of Peter Jackson, but he was absolutelypretentious expecting to remake such a wonder. People who love theSeventh Art will certainly prefer this version, no matter how young heor she may be. My vote is ten.Title (Brazil): "King Kong"
It HAS been a while since I've seen this, a good 20 years perhaps, andthis was fun to observe again. I was watching the fluidity of thespecial effects this time out. Not bad, except for a few shaky models,but the transition between live model and animation is really quitewell done for it's time. Kong looks alright here in animation (but Icould have done without that stupid model head). This movie believe itor not DOES create quite a bit of suspense on the Skull Island chases,though it does get somewhat repetitive (Pick Ann Darrow Up, walk a bit,encounter big monster, put Ann Darrow down, fight monster, repeat) andI liked all the performances here, especially Robert Armstrong as CarlDenham.
OK, so everyone knows this father-of-all monster movies, so I'll justtalk about a few aspects. Fay Wray is HOT, HOT, HOT!!! I bet that thetitle character's sex drive must have really gotten going once he laideyes on that babe (well duh; why do you think that he pulled herclothes off?). Every second that she's on the screen, you just gottawonder how she looks under that dress.I guess that overall, the movie is looking at the problems with allsocieties: we try to take someone/something out of its normal habitatand expect no trouble once we displace it. It seems that we stillhaven't learned our lesson. As it is, we used to be wild, but thecreation of societies has messed everything up.Obviously, the 1976 version has as its main strength making a star outof Jessica Lange; otherwise, it was kind of silly. I intend to seePeter Jackson's version soon.And once again, Fay Wray is one hot chick, especially when she fallsinto the water wearing a skimpy dress. I bet that Bruce Cabot andRobert Armstrong liked being on the set with her; I would have likedit. Hubba hubba. All in all, "King Kong" will rule forever!
The unrelenting computer-animated action suffocates what seems to have been the movie's main purpose, to expand on the Kong-Ann relationship.
Recently, my dad and I went to go see King Kong at a theater in Anaheim. Itmade me only appreciate more just how great of a movie this is, and that'sconsidering I must have seen it at least half a million times before.Of the dinosaur movies that came before and after King Kong, Kong is stillthe best one. The Lost World (1925) even today has impressive visual effectsand is highly entertaining. It's only problems are a poorly written lovestory and the fact not everyone enjoys silent movies. The Godzilla films,while entertaining, had cheaper special effects and often times the plotswere not as good. Jurassic Park (1993), which some consider the bestdinosaur movie, has spectacular Special Effects and is very entertaining.But it is slow at times. King Kong, however, is both highly entertainingand, more importantly, is able to tell the film without a wasted scene ordialogue. I felt as if I was in the theater for only half an hour! If onlyall movies could do that. But no film is made perfect by accident. This film had a top-notch technicalcast made up of the best in the world at that time: Production designerMario Larrnagia, Film Composer Max Steiner, Marcel Delgado, who built thedinosaur models and Willis O'Brien, who animated them.Some have questioned as to why plant-eating herbivores like the Stegosaurusor the Brontosaurus would attack humans. Perhaps, the humans weretrespassing into their territory and would you defend your property ifsomeone tried to invade it? Also, how many humans living today have seen alive dinosaur in the wild? Then again, some might say this was done by theproducers to provide entertainment and suspense. I can agree with that. Butdo not criticize King Kong for this. It's an adventure movie, not adocumentary. While the film is largely about Kong and the dinosaurs on Skull Island, therest of the film is able to avoid being overshadowed. While I have seenmovies that have better acting, this film's cast isn't too bad. At leastthey are able to conceive realistic characters. Even Jack Driscoll, thefilm's hero, gets afraid when he talks to Fay Wray. Some also find itannoying that Fay Wray only screams in the scenes where she is in Kong'spresence. Well what would you do instead? Tell Kong in a polite, calmenglish voice to let you down? King Kong is easily worth 10 stars, a masterpiece that will be enjoyed forcountless generations to come.
Peter Jackson's KONG comes out tomorrow. I'm sure millions will love itand it'll make a fortune. Good for him, I have nothing against the guy,but every clip I see from the new movie makes me want to see it less.The ape jumps around like Spiderman, the camera swoops and divesmercilessly, and every single frame seems calculated to remind you thatthe whole thing is FAKE. When Cooper, Shoedsack and O'Brien made theoriginal in 1933 they were men who knew what real adventure was likeand they busted their collective asses to bring that sense of adventureto the screen, and they succeeded admirably. The whole movie has analmost documentary feel (many of the incidents were in fact taken fromreal life) as if the filmmakers had actually discovered an island whereprehistoric beasts roamed and simply set down their cameras to recordit. Even the dialogue, much maligned by those too naive to know better,is an accurate reflection of the way people really felt and spoke whenthe picture was made. The original (the only) KING KONG is a timelessclassic in the truest sense of the word, and all others (byDeLaurentis, Jackson, and any other posers to come) can only be paleimitations. You can only make a classic once. Hail to the King.
082: King Kong (1933) - released 3/2/1933, viewed 1/09/07.The 20th Amendment goes into effect. An attempt on Franklin Roosevelt'slife by Guiseppe Zangara instead kills Chicago mayor Anton J. Cermak.Newsweek magazine hits the stands for the first time. The Blaine Actends Prohibition in the U.S. The Reichstang Fire Decree is passed inGermany.BIRTHS: Kim Novak, Yoko Ono, Nina Simone.KEVIN: Before 'Star Wars,' before 'Lord of the Rings,' 'King Kong' wasthe ultimate geek movie and the mother of all high-concept genre films.This is the movie that 'Island of Lost Souls' wished it had been.Today, films like this are made literally all the time. But in 1933,with the technology available, such entertainment was exquisitely rare,and never, EVER this good. You really have to appreciate how dementedCooper and Schoedsack must have been to even come up with this movie.The idea of seeing giant monsters and dinosaurs interacting withlive-action elements was a pipe-dream back then, but the makers of thisfilm knew it just HAD to be done. It is not that strange that thetitular monster doesn't appear until halfway into the movie. Unlike thehumanoid Universal monsters, you really can't just come right out witha creation like Kong; you've got to start firmly in the real world,work up to him, and build the anticipation until things explode intounrelenting excitement. Fortunately for us, the human actors do allthey can to hog the screen before Kong crowds them out. RobertArmstrong is so deliciously hammy as Carl Denham, especially duringthose exposition scenes ("Have you ever heard ofÂ Kong?"). And let's notforget Bruce Cabot's lumbering chauvinist skipper Jack Driscoll. Whenwe watched this movie with a class, Driscoll's admission to Ann, "Hey,I think I love you," got the biggest laugh of the semester. I oftenthought, "I could probably write more interesting dialogue, butÂ why?"After they've had their fun, Kong muscles his way in, and the actionnever stops for a second. Although Willis O'Brien's legendarystop-motion techniques give Kong his unmistakable emotional richness,Kong is still essentially a monster that needs to be put down. Herampages through the city killing and eating innocent people whiledestroying everything in sight. Unlike the 2006 remake, Ann doesn'tsympathize with him, but is instead just like every other damsel of theday and wants to be far away from the danger (but never quitesucceeds). No one in the movie feels any real sympathy for him, exceptfor us in the audience, which is what's so brilliant about it; we arethe ones who know he's not real, and we're the only ones who feel badwhen he dies.DOUG: 'Kong Kong' is the 82nd film on the Odyssey, and historically itis probably the most famous one thus far (Frankenstein and Dracula comeclose). 'King Kong' is best remembered, and deservedly so, for itstitle character, a new plateau of special effects in 1933. This has themost extensive special effects we've seen since The 'Thief of Baghdad.'Willis O'Brien was the brains behind making Kong move. Stop motion wasstill a very experimental process, and trying to animate a livingcreature had never been done on this level. Besides Kong, many othermonstrous creatures (mostly dinosaurs) appear on film in protractedspecial effects sequences (some, like a carnivorous Apatosaurus, aredepicted inaccurately from pending archaeological findings). Likewise,the music by Max Steiner was extremely pivotal and groundbreaking,composed and synchronized to match the action very specifically (theycalled it "Mickey Mousing" because it was only done in cartoons at thattime). Up to this point, the music we've seen in the movies we'vewatched is either generic or nonexistent. Viewers unfamiliar with thefilm's significance may miss the music when they watch it here. Allthese fond memories and pivotal advances in technology allow the filmto shine in spite of its flaws in other areas. The characters are flat,and most of the dialogue is just terrible. When Jack turns to Ann earlyin the movie and is like, "Hey, I think I love you," my whole classerupted with laughter. It's all mostly just setup for the action andthe effects. Kong ends up being the most interesting character, andhe's a stop-motion puppet. When watched cold, the special effects arequite hokey and campy. When watched in context, the effects are reallyextraordinary, combining all manner of stop-motion, rear projection,and trick photography; the fight between Kong and the T-Rex still holdsup. Even if it is seven decades dated, Kong himself is a marvelousexample of special effects; you actually feel for him. Anything thatcan be done with CGI today is useless if it can't measure up to theemotional weight of the original Kong. The "relationship" between Kongand Ann is an exercise in primal animal magnetism. Scenes such as whenKong curiously peels off Ann's clothes, or drops an innocent woman outonto the street when he finds that she isn't Ann, are some deliciouspre-Code delights. I can't decide if the best human performance belongsto Robert Armstrong's Carl or Fay Wray's Ann. I think Armstrong turnsin the superior performance; he has a lot more dialogue, most of itexpository, and he has to pretty much sell the movie to the audience.Wray has a lot of scenes with Kong, and has to do a lot of screaming(which she's very good at). On the DVD features, Peter Jackson and therest of the gang are on hand to gush about the movie and break downnearly every special effects shot. One thing becomes clear in thesefeaturettes: before 'Star Wars' came out 44 years later, the UltimateGeek Film was 'King Kong.' Last film: 42nd Street (1933). Next film: Gabriel Over the White House(1933).
It's obvious to me that the original 1933 movie is the best out of the other 2 versions. The recent version is really good, but it's doesn't much the oringinal. I seriously don't think the first one will ever be topped in my lifetime. Even for 1933, the movie totally rocks with it's great introductions to the characters and the fact that once Kong makes his appearance, the rest of the movie is pull action and excitement. No wonder this movie is one of the greatest movies ever made. The second disc is a great historical piece on Cooper and advancements of movie cimena. If you are a huge movie history or classic movie buff, this is a MUST have to your collection.
Particularly bearing in mind that this film is nearly 70 years old, i wasstunned. Ok, the scenes with the dinosaurs on skull island were a littlecheesy (I loved them) and there is some over-acting by today's standards,but let's remember that they were still trying to hash out what the"talkie"thing was all about. The shots of the walls around the village arestunningas are the views of the NY skyline. As silly as the ape may seem to oureyes, i have to believe that the action sequences must have been stunningtothe 1933 audience. In short I watched this film having only seen itsexceedingly poor revisit from the 70's and expected a fun, campy film. Iwaswrong. This film is a heavy hitter that will affect you even today. Youcannot consider yourself a fan of monster films withoutit.
This is the greatest movie in the history of mankind!!! The special effects were out-standing and O'Brian really outdid himself on this classic. It was the first movie that was in stop-motion that had sound and music. The acting was okay but who really cares? Whoever dislikes this movie is on drugs. Don't waste precious time renting it, buy it and you will be able to charish it forever!
This review is from: King Kong (DVD) I was really happy @ how quick I ordered this movie, and how fast it came. It played great to.
Saturday afternoons were made for great adventure yarns, and serials dating all the way back to the silent era played upon our love of a rousing good jungle story, filled with danger and the thrill of discovery, with just enough romance thrown in to suggest love sprung from such exciting endeavors. RKO would make the most supreme adventure of all time and in 1933 change the expectations of moviegoers forevermore once the lights dimmed and their logo adorned screens across America. A new bar for adventure was set, and the film which raised it was King Kong. Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Shoedsack helmed this fabulous RKO film from an idea by Cooper and Edgar Wallace.King Kong was much more than a girl screaming as a huge ape held her in his palm, just as Fay Wray was much more than a "B" icon with one great sound film to her credit. She had graced many silent productions, including Coast Patrol, Street of Sin, The Wedding March, and Paramount's last silent, The Four Feathers, where she worked with Merian C. Cooper. She made an easy transition to sound, her lovely presence and vulnerability boosting many early talkies from average to worth watching. Her importance to the success of King Kong is often not given its full due due to the staggering technical achievements behind the camera, often overshadowing everything else. Wray is simply wonderful at the beginning of King Kong, making viewers fall in love with her Ann Darrow long before Kong appears. If this was only an extraordinarily polished jungle adventure, it would be a film classic simply on the basis of Wray's performance and a timeless 1930's sense of style and adventure. With the added element of King Kong, a fearsome beast protective of something too beautiful to allow harm to come to it, it became one of the greatest films ever made.Robert Armstrong is Carl Denham, a filmmaker known for his exciting tales of adventure. A ship bound for a mysterious location only known to Denham to make a film needs only a bit of romance to satisfy the studio. Finding the lovely Ann Darrow about to pass out from hunger during the depression is a stroke of luck for the brash director. Ann is suspicious of Denham's proposal at first, but hunger and his enthusiasm, and his assurance that there are no strings attached, give Ann hope that her luck has changed. Fay Wray is wonderful in these early moments, which often get forgotten amidst the thrilling adventure encountered in the later half of the story. She endears herself to the audience early on and cements our affection for Ann once onboard. Bruce Cabot is excellent as John Driscoll, weary of having a woman onboard but soon falling in love with Anne just as viewers have. Their romance is sweet, filled with the innocent love of the era that has a timeless appeal.It has been breezy fun for the viewer until the ship is west of Sumatra. Denham reveals a map he has obtained in Singapore pinpointing an uncharted island where legends of a high wall and a beast called Kong are said to exist. As they approach Skull Island adventurous fun gives way to fog shrouded waters and jungle drums. The high wall does indeed exist, and after a scrape with natives enamored of Ann they find themselves confronted by a world untouched by time. Great beasts from prehistoric times roam the jungles of the island, Kong the most fearsome of all, ruling his kingdom from a high cliff where he will take Ann. Harrowing action and thrills ensue as Jack tracks his love after Kong disposes of everyone else but Carl to protect his lovely prize. The special effects still offer excitement but it is the story which makes this film such a classic. We are rooting for Jack to rescue Ann just as in the best serials, only this is no serial, but rather a topflight production creating an astounding adventure heretofore unseen in theatres.A gripping escape over a cliff edge will lead to Kong's demise when he follows Ann and is captured by Carl. Billed as the Eighth Wonder of the World, the flash of cameras perceived by Kong as an attack on his Ann creates chaos in the streets when he breaks free, leading to perhaps the most famous ending in film history. High above the New York skyline, atop the Empire State Building, Ann will find herself in the arms of the man who loves her when Kong faces down dangers he never had in the jungle. It is both romantic and bittersweet. Max Steiner's score, a screenplay by James Ashmore Creelman and Ruth Rose which perfectly balances romance and adventure, and sterling photography from Eddie Linden, Veronica Walker, and J.C. Taylor make this a memorable experience. The Nostalgia Merchant print here is one of the many I've owned over the years and is very good. If you have a combo player it is an inexpensive way to pick up a true screen classic.Though Fay Wray is terrific in this film, it is a shame that many viewers only know her from King Kong. Born in Canada but raised in the United States, she was a big supporter of events held at the Empire State Building over her lifetime, and after her passing, the lights of that landmark were dimmed for fifteen minutes in her memory. King Kong is perfect viewing for a Saturday morning and if you haven't seen it in awhile, or perhaps never seen it, it is much more than you might have imagined. A lovely way to remember Fay Wray.
Peter Jackson's remake is as much a tribute to the old, seat-of-the-pants spirit of early motion pictures as it is an exercise in technological bravura.
This review is from: King Kong (Two-Disc Special Edition) (DVD) No matter how much the special effects may have dated by now, there's no question they get you to believe in the story. When watching the MAKING OF documentary and realizing each minute of Kong represented some 1,200 micro movements, you can't but feel thankful.There are, however, a handful of things that left me wondering after watching this DVD:1) Denham refering to Ann Darrow as the "bravest girl you'll ever meet" when she spends the whole film screaming and passing out.2) When one of the sailors climbs into a three with just the right height for him to become the easiest of lunches for a dinosaur.3) When you notice Kong changes size all througout the film.4) When you notice Kong miniature and real-size don't look alike at all.5) When you notice the human characters, usually in a "small window" of the frame staring at Kong, are constantly looking up or down too much as the actors didn't know with precision where he'd be standing.6) When you wonder why in heck the natives build a convenient large door in the wall for Kong to punch through.Small quibbles all but still interesting to find.
Jackson's dangerous decision to do a period remake of King Kong, a classic long established as part of modern folklore, has, on the whole, paid off.
This review is from: King Kong [Blu-ray Book] (Blu-ray) Revised review date: June 6th, 2012KING KONG (1933), is one of those rare films that just gets better and better with age. This is because we watch it now as a 1930's fable that has transcended its own time and has become an American myth. The undiminished, primordial energy it continues to generate derives from all aspects of production; from Willis O'Brien's tour de force special effects and Murray Spivack's innovative early sound mix, to Max Steiner's brilliantly evocative music score.The performances as well are in perfect sync with the larger than life premise of this adventure/fairy tale classic. Fay Wray's iconic portrayal of the beauty who kills the beast set the standard for every damsel in distress that followed. Her lusty screams are the female equivalent of Johnny Weismuller's celebrated Tarzan yell. Most impressive of all is Kong himself, who projects such a distinctive personality that we willingly dismiss the fact that he is only a visual effect. Who can forget those expressive, blinking eyes of his at the hotel window when he recognizes Fay Wray?But even beyond all the indelible imagery, the film also rates high marks for its wholly original screenplay, which has a subtext that is based on the real life exploits shared by co-directors Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack in making expeditionary films. This essential, autobiographical approach drives the first third of KING KONG and serves effectively as build-up to the wild fantasy that ultimately takes over. The film is as much a personal work as is anything by Erich von Stroheim or Charlie Chaplin, and this explains in part why the remakes fall far short of the original. Consider: The "Old Arabian Proverb" that follows the opening credits and has since become a part of popular folklore was written by Cooper, the intrepid filmmaker Carl Denham (played with 30's style, two fisted gusto by Robert Armstrong) was fashioned after Cooper, and the pilots machine gunning Kong in the famous finale are actually Cooper and Schoedsack. KING KONG interweaves fact and fiction with such clever subtlety that audiences are, perhaps, still largely unappreciative of this unique aspect of the film. It's a great, shrewdly conceived piece of escapist entertainment that endures, inviting us back for repeated viewings so that in the end we realize there will always be only one Kong.Warner's Blu-ray Book Edition is unquestionably the most definitive presentation of KING KONG possible. The video/audio quality edges out the previous DVD, and for serious Kongphiles upgrading is a given. The 1080p resolution looks like film; deep blacks, rich grays and sparkling whites, so that whatever should be seen is seen in crisp detail. The powerful mono soundtrack has an immediate presence that really comes across in this restoration. We can now savor better than ever before the magnificent craftsmanship that went into every frame of this truly amazing cinematic landmark.The extraordinary special features include an engaging commentary by stop-motion legend Ray Harryhausen and effects artist Ken Ralston, a fascinating profile on Merian C. Cooper, a 7 part documentary that is one of the most thorough ever done on the making of a movie, the original test footage for Willis O'Brien's abandoned CREATION project, a re-construction of the famed Lost Spider Pit Sequence (the holy grail of all lost movie scenes), and a re-issue theatrical trailer. The profusely illustrated book with liner notes by historian Rudy Behlmer is the best one Warner has done to date, and should be stored in the cool collector's tin from the previous DVD release that has the souvenir program and poster reproductions, as it all makes for a killer Kong collection indeed.This glorious edition of "The Eighth Wonder of the World" gets my unreserved, highest recommendation.Long live the King.