Review: ‘King Kong’

Faithful in substantial degree not only to the letter but also the spirit of the 1933 classic for RKO, this $22 million-plus version neatly balances superb special effects with solid dramatic credibility.

Faithful in substantial degree not only to the letter but also the spirit of the 1933 classic for RKO, this $22 million-plus version neatly balances superb special effects with solid dramatic credibility.

In the original, documentary producer-promoter Robert Armstrong took aspiring actress Fay Wray on an expedition to a lost Pacific island. A gigantic humanoid gorilla was found, then brought back to civilization where he wasted part of NY searching for Wray.

In Lorenzo Semple’s literate modernization, Charles Grodin is the promoter, this time a scheming oil company explorer.

Rick Baker is acknowledged for his ‘special contributions’ to the Kong character; this means that Baker did virtually all of the perfectly-matched and expertly-sized closeups, in which the beast’s range of emotions emerges with telling effect.

1976: Honorary Award (visual effects).

Nominations: Best Cinematography, Sound

King Kong

Production

Paramount. Director John Guillermin; Producer Dino De Laurentiis; Screenplay Lorenzo Semple Jr; Camera Richard H. Kline; Editor Ralph E. Winters; Music John Barry; Art Director Mario Chiari, Dale Hennesy

Crew

(Color) Widescreen. Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1976. Running time: 134 MIN.

With

Jeff Bridges Charles Grodin Jessica Lange John Rudolph Rene Auberjonois Julius Harris
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