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Poster of the film.

1976 remake of King Kong.

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The first official remake of King Kong.

  • May 19, 2009
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King Kong was producer Dino De Laurentis . He threw a lot of money at this turkey. The movie wasn't the mega blockbuster he thought it would be. It made twice as much money it cost to produce at the box office but ol' Dino didn't make out like a bandit at the box office.In an effort to cut down on production costs, Dino tried to get Mario Bava to do the special effects (Bava is a master at using smoke and mirrors) but he declined and with with his protege Carlo Rambaldi.  But in the end he used a young Rick Baker to not only handle most of the effects but he wore a gorilla suit when all of the stop motion miniatures cost too much.  But it wound up costing even more for the complex suit that Baker designed.

The direction was ham fisted, the special effects were terrible (they should have stuck with stop motion puppets instead of some clown in a gorilla suit) and the finale was a joke. To top it off, the running time was well over two hours (the bad direction and pacing made it feel like five hours). The changes to the original plot and story were unnecessary (that's what ruins a lot of these remakes, don't fix what ain't broke people). You expect a movie that has the special effects crew of Rick Baker would have better effects than the ones on display.

A shame really, after all that money they threw at this production you'd think they would have put on a better show. The only thing cool about this movie was the original theatrical poster. It shows stuff that has nothing to do with the movie. If it did this movie would have been watchable. Instead it's an example of what happens to a production when you have a lot of money and no discernible talent behind the camera. Like Hollywood productions today.

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May 25, 2009
I share you opinion, wholeheartedly. I've been a movie buff since I was about 19, and if I saw any mainstream magazine that had an article about a movie, I'd pick it up (though I never read any movie-industry magazines).  De Laurentis' King Kong was so hyped,  it got a spread in Time magazine.  I can be susceptible to hype sometimes, and back in those days, I was a real sucker for it.  So I was in line early for this turkey.  One of the more insulting moments in the film came when the camera zoomed in for a look at a radar screen, and as the beam swept around, a gorilla-shaped blip ominously appeared.  That showed me where their head was.  Now, while how radar really works might not be what you'd call common knowledge, I'm sure I'm not the only one who picked up on this bit of cartoonish absurdity.  I didn't know De Laurentis' name up until then, but after that, I noticed anything with his name, and my reaction to it is kneejerk negative. 

My friends and I walked out of the theater that night, and as we gathered on the sidewalk out front to figure out what we'd do next, we all tossed in our opinions of the movie.  Mine was a wet blanket. 

On the other hand, I consider Peter Jackson's version the definitive version, and it's a modern masterpiece of adventure. 
May 25, 2009
I'm less enthused than you about Jackson's version, possibly because no film could ever have matched what I expected him to deliver. I think he needed to edit a good half hour off that film and instead his special version ADDS more footage. (I would have suggested loosing the dinosaur stampede for starters. To me it seemed like video game fodder as did the fight on the vines with the 2 T-Rexes. Exciting to be sure, but dare I say, cheesey? That's a word I've never used before.)
May 25, 2009
I'm afraid you've made a grievous error here. Carlo Rambaldi DID in fact do the mechanical Kong effects which (in spite of being so heavily tauted by De Laurentiis) were such a dismal failure they wound up appearing in no more than 40 seconds of the actual film. Poor Rick Baker on the other hand who designed and wore the suit was not given the freedom he was promised when he signed onto the project. (For one thing he was forced to walk upright rather knuckle-walk.) As a result you can see a gorilla named Dino in KENTUCKY FRIED MOVIE which is also Rick Baker expressing his opinion of De Laurentiis, in a very convincing ape suit.
May 25, 2009
I know precisely the scene you're talking about, too, that features the mechanical thing. And I do remember it being tauted by De Laurentis in the Time magazine article I mentioned in my own response.  I thought it was going to be some modern marvel.  There it was, this stiff thing, about as convincing as a mechanical Santa Claus in someone's front yard. 
May 25, 2009
It was embarrasing. Baker had to fight to get his name even mentioned in the credits and Rambaldi's name is all over them. Oddly enough in another film of De Lauerntiis' called ORCA it was exactly the other way around; he claimed that all the footage of the orca's was realed but most of it was not.
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Joseph Ulibas ()
Ranked #30
I have been working on my web series Fine Feather Friends.
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About this movie


King Kong is the first remake of the 1933 film of the same name.
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Director: John Guillermin
Genre: Action, Romance, Thriller, Adventure
Release Date: 1976
MPAA Rating: PG
Runtime: 134 minutes
Studio: Dino De Laurentis Company
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