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Old 06-12-2005, 22:29   #1
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King Kong (1976)

Is this really that bad? Both 'Empire' and 'Total Film' have retrospectives of this version this month as part of their blanket Kong coverage and the official line is that it's an abomination. Not that I'm accusing them of having an agenda or anything.

I watched it earlier this year out of curiosity and I can't say I didn't enjoy it. Rick Baker's gorilla suit comes in for a lot of flak but I found it very effective -- and it did win an Oscar for Special Achievement in Visual Effects. Both the 1933 and 1976 Kongs give me a chill down the spine and CGI will never do that.

That's not to say Peter Jackson's film won't almost certainly be a lot better that John Guillermin's but I think people are judging it a little harshly. As a spectacle, it works pretty well I think.
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Old 06-12-2005, 22:34   #2
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Naw; it's got Charles Grodin - no film with Charles Grodin can ever be considered a complete wipeout. And a great John Barry score, and Jessica Lange, and Jeff Bridges.

But no matter how well done 'Bloke in Ape Suit' was, ultimately, the big let down when I saw it on the big screen and it remains so it in a home environment IMHO.

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Old 06-12-2005, 22:44   #3
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Pauline Kael gave it a rave review at the time - making her just about alone amongst contemporary critics - and I think I sort-of agree with her. It's a bit of a mess but the cast is wonderful and the script is often (intentionally) very funny. And, unlike Mr Jackson's version, it manages to come in at under three hours.
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Old 06-12-2005, 22:58   #4
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Wasn't this supposed to have a fully mechanical Kong but Rambaldi never got it to work properly?
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Old 06-12-2005, 23:12   #5
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Yep, it became part of the Universal ride.
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Old 07-12-2005, 06:29   #6
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Like Mike above, I think this has been unfairly treated and doesn't deserve its rep - only a miserly one star in Radio Times, which is generally over-generous. The movie is beautifully paced, has a great score, superb effects and some marvellous location footage on the Hawaiian island of Kuaui which later become Jurassic Park. The 1933 version fairly brutalises Ann Darrow - she's picked up off the street like a harlot (perhaps she is?) and pretty much used as bait. The remake inevitably became a sort of satire on the feminist movement but it also functions as a parable about the exploitation of the Third World by oil interests, symbolised of course by the World Trade Center, the presence of which gives the film a poignancy quite unintended in 1976.
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Old 07-12-2005, 08:41   #7
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I find the big monkey's sexy teasing of Jessica Lange fairly hilarious, mind.
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Old 07-12-2005, 08:41   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dene
Is this really that bad? Both 'Empire' and 'Total Film' have retrospectives of this version this month as part of their blanket Kong coverage and the official line is that it's an abomination. Not that I'm accusing them of having an agenda or anything.
Well I think any reasonably intelligent person would completely ignore the arslikan ramblings of both those magazines.
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Old 07-12-2005, 10:58   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Summerisle
Well I think any reasonably intelligent person would completely ignore the arslikan ramblings of both those magazines.
And still it continues -- in their official review of Peter Jackson's version, 'Empire' refers to "John Guillermin’s ’76 monstrosity". They also call it -- once again -- a flop even though it wasn't.

Last edited by Dene; 07-12-2005 at 11:00.
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Old 07-12-2005, 11:04   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anephric
Wasn't this supposed to have a fully mechanical Kong but Rambaldi never got it to work properly?
should have called Jack Bristow?
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Old 07-12-2005, 11:06   #11
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what's terrible about the '76 Kong is Jeff Bridges beard/long hair combo ... he looks like Jesus Christ, if he was in the Beach Boys circa 1973 ...
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Old 07-12-2005, 11:40   #12
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I'm quite partial to Bridges' hippie look myself - The Dude in his lean years.
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Old 07-12-2005, 12:05   #13
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I remember my dad taking me to see the '76 version when I was a wee nipper. Don't think I've seen it since. All I have is vague memories of Jessica Lange going topless and a big snake. I'm a little worried if that means I want to sleep with my mum or something.

I think I'll give the film another go, just for old times sake. I think I'm coming down with a serious case of Kong fever. I'm even tempted to watch King Kong Lives again.
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Old 07-12-2005, 12:10   #14
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Originally Posted by cure
All I have is vague memories of Jessica Lange going topless and a big snake. I'm a little worried if that means I want to sleep with my mum or something.

Hee, that tickled me. Kong is full of phallic symbols, obviously enough. I remember some twonk at my uni droning on for ages about them in the '33 and '76 versions.
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Old 07-12-2005, 12:16   #15
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I quite enjoyed it. The man in the suit isnt that bad at all and Id challenge anyone not to have a manly lump in their throat by the end!

...and if anyone's interested there's a version that DOES run close to 3 hours long. It seems its avaialable at a french 2-disc set.

Ive not seen it myself but I know it exists.
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Old 07-12-2005, 12:26   #16
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I've just checked dvdcompare and there's a French two-disk that features 16mins of deleted scene, but on a second disk. It seems the movie is the same? IMDB does list 45mins of extra scene shown in the 3-hour tv version. Would like to get that if it's out there!

Deaks.

Last edited by Deaks; 07-12-2005 at 12:28.
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Old 07-12-2005, 15:23   #17
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Sorry, you're right Deaks - the French version only has 16 minutes of new scenes out of the 45 mins and it has burned in subtitles on the english track so I'll avoid that one.

Here are some more details of the TV version -

Extended Television Version
When King Kong made its network TV debut on NBC in 1982, a number of scenes deleted from the theatrical version were reinstated to make the film longer. Most fans of the remake agree that the extended version of the film works much better than the original truncated release. The newly added sequences included:

1. Jack drugs one of the Petrox Explorer's crew in a bar in Surabaya and steals his uniform.
2. The sailors playing cards on deck when Captain Ross calls them to the meeting with Fred Wilson and Roy Bagley.
3. A scene showing Jack, shirtless, in the brig of the Petrox Explorer.
4. Timmons and Garcia spy on Dwan showering, and are caught by Jack who causes Garcia to fall overboard into the sea.
5. When Kong escapes from Shea Stadium, a Petrox Corp. representative yells at Wilson for his incompetance.
6. After Kong steps on Wilson there is an extra shot of Wilson's crushed hat.
7. Kong picks up a Cadillac Fleetwood and throws it into the side of a building, where it explodes.
8. A plan by the military to send jets after Kong is scrapped and they decide on helicopters instead.
9. Jack tries, without success, to hotwire a Chevrolet Corvette while he and Dwan are fleeing.
10. An extra sequence showing Kong walking down the street with Dwan in his hand.

Here's hoping a re-release is on the way (probably not mind you otherwise it would be out NOW).
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Charles Grodin, Christian Ferry, Dino De Laurentiis, EDGAR WALLACE, Federico De Laurentiis, James Ashmore Creelman, Jeff Bridges, Jessica Lange, King Kong, Lorenzo Semple Jr., Merian C. Cooper, Rick Baker, Ruth Rose

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