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KING KONG TURNS 70!!!
A LOOK AT THE WORLD'S GREATEST MONSTER MOVIE

 

In an age where much ado is made about computer animated creatures like The Hulk and Gollum, one forgets that sixty years ago, a fantastic giant monster movie was made with painstaking frame by frame animation of an 18 inch model!  Despite its age, King Kong still stands out as one of the most fantastic and thrilling monster movies ever made, setting the stage for giant monster movies for decades to come.

When Kong was first released in 1933, it had the most successful opening weekend of the time.  Bear in mind, this was in an age when you didn't have 2000 theaters ready to show it at once.  In fact, when Kong premiered at TWO of New York's biggest movie houses, it was considered extravagant.   The film grossed $90,000.  The amount seems a pittance, but when you consider the average ticket price was a mere 15 cents at the time, that would translate to a $5.4 Million opening in with today's $9 average cost.  And again, this was the gross from TWO THEATERS!

FUN FACT: One interesting logic flaw in King Kong was the giant wall built to hold him away from the native village on Skull Island.  Why on earth did they even bother making that big door, anyway?

Kong also holds the distinction of being the first film successful enough to be re-released.  Prior to that, "older" films never saw the light of day again in first run theater.  Its also one of the first films to get censored to appease conservative studio bosses, fearful that Kong was a bit too shocking and gruesome with his behavior.  Here's a look at the scenes that were cut from rereleased versions of Kong that were not restored until nearly 40 years later, and even then many versions shown on TV failed to bring them back.

When Kong first escapes from his holding pen on Skull Island, he decides to chew up a few natives like luscious bits of popcorn.

Another cut scene featured a native getting stomped by Kong's giant foot, and smashed into a pulp!

   
click thumbnails to see the full sized image

Kong certainly had a way with the ladies, but the censors felt that this scene where he actually strips pieces of clothing off Fay Wray was a bit too racy.  In one hilarious bit, he actually tickles her breasts, then SNIFFS HIS FINGER! 

     

Surprisingly, this scene where Fay swims away from Kong was not cut, even though freeze frames clearly show her breasts hanging out in plain site.  Of course, DVDs were about 7 decades in the future, so perverts like me had a hard time catching it.

Once Kong decides to visit New York, he continues his man chewing rampage, grabbing this poor soul and chewing him to bits, despite his Botany 500 wardrobe.

Of course, Kong wasn't the only beast that wanted to munch the hapless humans.  This dinosaur chewed up an unfortunate adventurer and tossed him around like a ragdoll (it was a ragdoll!) long before the director of Jurassic Park was even born.

 

Probably the most disturbing scene that was cut also took place in New York, in which Kong picks the wrong lady out of a window, then chucks her several stories to her doom when he realizes its not Fay Wray.

A rare still photo from the never found removed "giant spider" scene from King Kong, which was cut after the 1st test screening was performed.

Though these scenes have since been restored, there's one sequence that was removed after the 1st screening, and has been lost forever.  When Kong shakes people off a giant log and they fall into the valley below, the original print featured giant crabs and spiders waiting below who proceeded to make a meal of them.  The director saw that the audience found this to be so shocking, they forgot all about the menace of Kong himself, so he proceeded to cut it out the next day.

It's funny that despite all the technical advances in filmmaking through the years, every attempt to remake King Kong has resulted in a laughable failure.  The 1976 Dino DeLaurentis remake resorted to using a guy in a gorilla suit and generally made audiences laugh out loud. 

But the encouraging news is that Peter Jackson, who has impressed the hell out of everyone with his Lord of The Rings work, is going to soon tackle a King Kong remake using computer animation.  Though the film was rather dumb, the strides made with Disney's Mighty Joe Young remake shows there's promise.

But in the meantime, I'll take the simple charm of the original.  Now if Turner Entertainment would get off of their asses and get a remastered special US DVD out, I'd be in heaven.  The DVD I used to get screen captures for this article was a UK version that was still quite scratchy.  Certainly no way to treat a legendary movie of this nature, eh?

-Robert
robertberry@retrocrush.com


For a SUPERLATIVE King Kong website visit THE EIGHTH WONDER OF THE WORLD, where I got many of these great facts from!

 


 


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