Seeking a backer for his movie, Merian C. Cooper approached a top Hollywood mogul. "You know what a 50-foot gorilla would see in a five-foot girl?" the mogul asked. "His breakfast!" The studio chief wasn't buying but the p... more »ublic was. King Kong saved RKO from bankruptcy and became an all-time classic, ranking 43rd on the American Film Institute's list of Top-100 American Movies. King Kong teems with memorable moments: a moviemaking expedition on a fantastic isle filled with dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures; the giant simian's lovestruck obsession with the film shoot's blonde starlet (scream queen Fay Wray); Kong's capture; his Manhattan rampage; and the fateful finale atop the Empire State Building, where Kong cradles his palm-sized beloved and swats at machine-gunning airplanes. "It was beauty killed the beast." But in these and other great scenes, Kong lives forever.« less
I do not need high tech special effects---it could just be my longing for nostalgia, but I believe hands down that this beats either of the remakes.
An RKO classic!
2 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Finally on DVD 11/22/2005
new yorker | NYC | 08/06/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"From the Warner's press release Three editions: The King Kong: Two-Disc Special Edition (SRP $26.99) will include the 104-minute restored and remastered B&W film on video in its original full frame, with Dolby Digital 2.0 mono audio and English, French and Spanish subtitles. Extras will include audio commentary (by Ray Harryhausen and Ken Ralston, with Merian C. Cooper, Ernest B. Schoedsack, Ruth Rose, Fay Wray and Robert Armstrong), the 2005 I'm Kong: The Exploits of Merian C. Cooper documentary, a gallery of trailers for other films by director Merian C. Cooper, the new RKO Production 601: The Making of Kong, Eighth Wonder of the World documentary by Peter Jackson (featuring the following featurettes: The Origins of King Kong, Willis O'Brien and Creation, Cameras Roll on Kong, The Eighth Wonder, A Milestone in Visual Effects, Passion, Sound and Fury, The Mystery of the Lost Spider Pit Sequence and King Kong's Legacy) and Creation test footage (with commentary by Ray Harryhausen).
The King Kong: Two-Disc Collector's Edition (SRP $39.98) will include all of the above in limited tin packaging that also features a 20-page reproduction of the original 1933 souvenir program, King Kong original one-sheet reproduction postcards and a mail-in offer for a reproduction of a vintage theatrical poster.
The King Kong Four-Disc Collector's Set (SRP $39.92) will include the King Kong: Two-Disc Special Edition along with The Son of Kong and Mighty Joe Young. It will NOT include the extras in the Collector's Edition tin.
Fortunately, The Son of Kong and Mighty Joe Young will also be available separately (as will The Last Days of Pompeii, also by Kong directors Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack) for an SRP of $19.97 each.
The Son of Kong will include the 70-minute restored B&W film on video in the original full frame, with Dolby Digital 2.0 mono audio and English, French and Spanish subtitles. Extras will include the theatrical trailer.
Mighty Joe Young will include the 94-minute restored B&W film on video in its original full frame, with Dolby Digital 2.0 mono audio and English, French and Spanish subtitles. Extras will include audio commentary (by Ray Harryhausen, Ken Ralston and Terry Moore), 2 new featurettes (Ray Harryhausen and The Chioda Brothers and Ray Harryhausen and Mighty Joe Young) and the film's theatrical trailer."
WHICH WILL BE THE BEST DVD OF THE YEAR? KONG OR OZ?
Eric | Columbus, OH | 08/29/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Warner is without a doubt, the finest home video label in the industry. No doubt about it. Not even the commendable, but ultimately conventional Criterion label comes close.
So now, 8 years into DVD-dom, WB is finally giving us KING KONG. One of the greatest motion pictures ever made. One of the most popular. One of the most successful.
So why hasn't it been on DVD all this time?
Because Warner wanted to do it right.
Warner owns the RKO library (although the previous owner, General Tire (no I'm not kidding) sold of foreign rights for several years in various countries for various periods of time) and although the foreign labels that have rights to these films quickly released them, Warner didn't.
They knew the RKO library was in terrible shape, and with their near-perfect record of perfection on every release, they sought to find the best original film negatives and create the best extra material.
Many RKO films have finally started to be available from Warner over the last two or three years. In every instance, the Warner RKO DVDs have been heads-and-tails better than those released by the international companies who hold rights in their respective countries. I say this only because I've seen comparisons online between what WB has dome, and what was out previously overseas.
Looking at WB's track record, we can expect a magnificent Kong transfer, the 8th wonder of the world! But there is more, this "collector's tin" comes with something I have always dreamed of seeing, but never have. A reproduction of the lavish opening night souvenir program from the premiere at Grauman's Chinese back in 1933. I read about it and the cover was reproduced in Ronald Haver's great book about David O. Selznick. Also, the tim comes with postcard sized renderings of original Kong posters, and best of all, you get a mail-in card that gets you a true theatrical-sized (27x41) reproduction of one of the original 1933 posters. Yes, these are reproductions, but considering the original Kong poster goes for I think 100K, an authorized, full-sized repro will look cool in my house.
I am also excited to see the special features I've heard about. Apparently, Peter Jackson (who has remade KONG for release at Xmas) is the original's biggest fan, and contributed to the special features. In addition, Kong's creator, Merian C. Cooper, is also given his own documentary here, and although he may not be a household name(by a longshot!), this guy not only created KING KONG, but also collaborated with John Ford on some of the greatest films ever made, and then went on to be the chief architect of Cinerama. The Cooper documentary has been made (so I've read online) by none other than Kevin Brownlow, who is, without question, the finest cinema documentarian of all time.
The wait is over. Now we just count the days. This tin is mine!
I'll also be buying the other related Cooper movies like LAST DAYS OF POMPEII, THE SON OF KONG, and the original MIGHTY JOE YOUNG (with a tounge in cheek, and a very beautiful Terry Moore).
So the ultimate question is, what will be the greatest DVD classic of 2005. This seemingly magnificent uber-KONG from Warner, or the new Ultra-Resoltion 3 Disc mega set on WIZARD OF OZ. Likely it will be a tie. Admittedly, I'm a huge fan of Warner. 3 years ago, there were very few Warner DVDs on my shelf, as they seemed to ignore their library. Since then, it's been Xmas almost every month. Those folks sure do a great job, and I'm sure their KING KONG, in that irresistable tin, will be worth the wait.
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST...
Lawyeraau | Balmoral Castle | 06/05/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As a young child in the nineteen fifties, I used to watch this film whenever it appeared on TV on "Million Dollar Movie". I loved it then. I love it now. Time has not diminished the capacity of this film to mesmerize and hold the viewer in its thrall.The story line is basic. Carl Denham (Robert Armstrong), a filmmaker and entrepreneur, leads an expedition to Skull Island where he discovers its deep, dark secret. It is a land where time has stood still, and prehistoric monsters still hold sway over the island and its inhabitants. There, the natives pay homage to the one whom they revere as "Kong", and who is, indeed, king of the island.Denham, together with his beautiful, budding starlet, Ann Darrow (Fay Wray), as well as with the crew of the ship that brought him to Skull Island, investigates the strange ritual being performed on the island by its native population. Before she knows it, Ann finds herself captured by the natives. She is to become the bride of the mysterious "Kong". When Ann discovers who the mysterious "Kong" is, she starts screaming and doesn't stop. The ship's first mate, Jack Driscoll (Bruce Cabot), who happens to be in love with Ann, manages to rescue her from the clutches of "Kong". Notwithstanding the fact that "Kong" has taken a shine to her, Ann is relieved to have been rescued by the man whom she loves. Denham then arranges to capture the creature, whom he calls "King Kong" and takes him back to New York with them on the ship that brought them to Skull Island. There, King Kong makes his debut, one that movie lovers will long remember. The special effects of this film were superlative for its time and still pass muster today. The relationship between the beauty and the beast still makes the viewer sit up and take notice. This is an attention grabbing film that is as exciting today, as when it was first released over seventy years ago. It is a truly timeless, cinema classic. Bravo!"
Most Innovative Movie of its Time
C. A. Luster | Burke, VA USA | 09/09/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"People that did not grow up watching this on Sunday TV matinees may not appreciate this movie as much. Anyone born in the last twenty years probably thinks Star Wars, Blade Runner, or some other SciFi is the best of the Century. I myself must vote for King Kong. My reasons are simple. I have probably seen about every SciFi movie made in the last seventy plus years, and none were so well done for their time as King Kong. This movie influenced many people in the industry to strive for their best in the genre.
Ray Harryhausen who was the best stop motion animator was greatly influenced by Willis O'Brien's work in this movie. Ask directors like Peter Jackson, George Lucas, and Steven Spielberg and they will tell you it had a profound impact on them. Everything seemed to come together in this 1933 movie. The acting although a little corny has a nice appeal. The music is a nice touch of glitz in the city and foreboding danger in the jungle. It's the adventure the movie takes us on that we love most. The sets were done masterfully and the big ape himself was remarkable. The creatures truly frightened people many years after it's original release in the theater.
This set includes many extras like a theater guide, poster, documentary, et cetera. I am very pleased with the care Warner took in the reproduction of King Kong. The picture and sound quality are excellent. I have complained for many years that this movie should have been put on DVD. I am glad to see it is finally released. The last remake of King Kong was not very successful, it will be interesting to see if the Peter Jackson remake becomes a classic."
Peter Jackson will never top the Original King Kong
MGA | Dallas, TX | 04/21/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have always loved the 1933 King Kong for its life-like special effects created by Willis O'Brien. It would be very difficult to reproduce a period piece such as this, yet that's exactly what Peter Jackson is attempting to do. I hope he succeeds, I really do, but...
You just can't beat the original. And it's not just the FX (spectacular for its day), but the slow build up to Kong and Kong's appearance in NYC...all just fantasic.
Here is some important news below! Warner and HP are digitally restoring King Kong for a new theatrical release followed by a multiple DVD release. This couldn't be better news for Kong fans! Since I'm sure Warner wishes to cash in on Peter Jackson's new magnum opus, we'll probably be seeing the DVDs at Amazon within the near future.
Warner Bros. Studios and HP breathe new life into classic motion pictures
Warner Bros. Studios and HP also announced that they have teamed to restore the 1933 classic motion picture "King Kong." One of the American Film Institute's 100 most beloved films and named to the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress, the original camera negative of "King Kong" has long been destroyed, leaving only elements and prints that have been deteriorating over the years.
Warner Bros. Studios has brought the best elements and prints from all over the world and has scanned them into a 4K digital file. Using HP's "dirt and scratch" technology, which was developed by HP Labs, the 72-year-old classic will be digitally restored to its 1933 brilliance. A new camera negative as well as new archival elements will be created so that the film will be saved for generations to come. This new, restored version of "King Kong," as it was originally released, will be screened theatrically and broadcast on television, as well as released on Warner Home Video."