King Kong (1976)


King Kong (1976)I wanted to watch this merely out of interest to see how the classic ape of Hollywood translated to a mid 1970’s audience, made just over 40 years since the original hit the big screen, it was in need of being updated for a more sophisticated audience. Even the basic plot of King Kong (1976) is different from the original, instead of a director wanting to make his next epic adventure on skull island, it’s now all about oil with tycoon Fred Wilson (Charles Grodin), far more plausible than the now farcical idea which has heavily dated and shows a lack of original thinking on the film-makers part.

The biggest change is modern man that stows-away on the ship that is in search of the oil, in the form of Jeff Bridges as Jack Prescott who slows everyone down and bringing them back to reality, grounding everyone, a professor who looks beyond the scent of greed to see the bigger picture.

The most important role to fill – the girl, a role made famous by Fay Wray, now in the hands of Jessica Lange as Dwan the classic role that helped define an era in film. It seems not much has changed in 40 odd years since when you look at both Wrays and Langes roles, both scream their lungs out. However there is more heart in Lange who overtime forms an emotional connection to the beast that is Kong.

There just was no time to really explore such themes in the original, with a running time of around 90mins that focused more on the pacing of events that lead up to the iconic finale. Here we have issues surrounding the culture that is on the island, whose religion is questioned and shook up by the invasion of the foreigners who capture the beast.

The once monster ridden island is now reduced to just a laughable giant snake which shows how much of the budget was spent on special effects. Which focused on Kong who was more of a man in a complex costume and a mechanical arm. It seems that stop-motion animation was either too expensive or seen to not be in tone with the film. We do have a more human Kong instead of the meticulously animated beast of Willis O’Brien. There is still a great amount of time devoted to Kongs soften over the duration of the film, expanded more so even.

The key events are still there, just changing locations to make is look fresh and more exciting. Of course it’s a remake, which is concious of what it’s doing, wanting to preserve the original, taking it’s own spin on events for a new generation who may not have seen the classic film that created it’s own genre. It’s not a better film, it’s different, nothing can take away from the original, not that it ever wanted to. I wonder now, looking on to Peter Jackson’s take on the classic is like?

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2 responses

  1. Yeah, but Faye could REALLY SCREAM. I mean, NO one screamed like her. She out-screamed everyone for decades. But I like the later version too 🙂

    October 27, 2013 at 2:25 am

    • Oh Of course, Faye Wray owns it on the screaming. thanks for the comment.

      October 27, 2013 at 4:47 pm

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