Posted by: Ken Hulsey on June 1st, 2010
Warner Brothers presents…
KING KONG (1933) — Fully Restored Blu-ray Book Special Edition (with 32-page booklet of rare photography and trivia)
— Available September 28
On September 28, 2010, the original 1933 RKO classic KING KONG makes its long awaited debut on Blu-ray Disc. Suggested retail price is $34.99.
Presented by Warner Home Video, the newly remastered King Kong features extensive bonus content, including a collectible Blu-ray Book written by renowned film historian Rudy Behlmer; a feature length documentary on Kong creator Merian C. Cooper, directed by acclaimed filmmakers Kevin Brownlow and Christopher Bird; commentary by Ray Harryhausen and Ken Ralston with Merian C. Cooper and Fay Wray; and a seven-part documentary that delves deeply into just about every aspect of the making of the film (see detail list of extras below).
With 32 pages of rare photography and trivia, the captivating Blu-ray Book, written by Rudy Behlmer, centers around the vision of director, Merian C. Cooper and his larger than life persona that brought the story of King Kong to the screen. A prolific film researcher and historian, Behlmer personally interviewed Cooper and has written numerous books and contributed to a wide variety of documentaries, videos, DVDs and LaserDiscs about Hollywood’s Golden Age.
In this very special Blu-ray release, the newly remastered film is presented in its 1933 entirety and includes scenes that were originally considered too shocking for the 1938-1956 re-releases. With equal parts adventure, horror and old-fashioned romance, King Kong is a milestone of movie-making that has endured for more than seven decades.
Named as one of the “100 Best Films of All Time” by Time Magazine, King Kong premiered in New York City in 1933. The film was an instant success, breaking box-office records to become one of the top moneymakers of the 1930s.
King Kong’s state-of-the-art visual effects, entertaining story and touching conclusion captivated audiences and started a worldwide love affair with the giant ape. The film has also been included in seven of the American Film Institute’s Top 100 lists, including the “100 Years…100 Movies” list.
A film ahead of its time, King Kong defied the technological limitations of the 1930s. Special effects pioneer Willis O’Brien’s revolutionary stop-motion animation was not only technically brilliant but also highly imaginative and continues to impress even in today’s era of computer-generated wizardry.
Directed and produced by Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack, with a rousing score by Max Steiner (who also scored Gone with the Wind), King Kong stars Robert Armstrong, Bruce Cabot and Fay Wray, whose memorable performance as damsel in distress Ann Darrow cemented her place in pop culture and earned her the nickname “The Queen of Scream.”
“It wasn’t the airplanes. It was beauty killed the beast.” —Carl Denham (Robert Armstrong)
In addition to its Blu-ray debut, King Kong will be available On Demand from cable and satellite providers, and for permanent download and digital rental through iTunes, Amazon Video On Demand, PlayStation Store and Xbox LIVE Zune Video Marketplace.
Blu-ray Book BONUS FEATURES:
• Commentary by Ray Harryhausen and Ken Ralston, with Merian C. Cooper and Fay Wray
• Merian C. Cooper Movies Trailer Gallery
• I’m King Kong! The Exploits of Merian C. Cooper (2005 documentary)
• Creation Test Footage with Commentary by Ray Harryhausen
• RKO Production 601: The Making of Kong, Eighth Wonder of the World –
a. The Origins of King Kong
b. Willis O’Brien and “Creation”
c. Cameras Roll on Kong, The Eighth Wonder
d. A Milestone in Visual Effects
e. Passion, Sound and Fury
f. The Mystery of the Lost Spider Pit Sequence
g. King Kong’s Legacy
EXCERPT: At first blush “King Kong” may seem outmoded, with its exaggerated histrionics, its stilted dialogue, and its wooden acting, but then there’s Kong, and how can you not still love him? When he falls from the Empire State Building, he takes us all with him. Yet we know, thanks to the magic of movies, that he’ll be back, again and again, better than ever, whenever we want to see him once more. He wasn’t called “King” for nothing.
—> Visit Warner’s Official KONG site »
(currently contains details on the DVD editions)
“The joy is seeing the 1933 original, complete with Max Steiner’s classic score and once-censored scenes.”
—Peter Travers (Rolling Stone)
“It’s still the quintessential pulp saga, capable of popping eyeballs 70-odd years later without the help of computers.”
—Michael Atkinson (Movieline’s Hollywood Life)
“The black-and-white granddaddy of beast-on-the-loose movies… The movie looks improved over earlier video and TV copies, and still packs a wallop.”
—Steve Daly (Entertainment Weekly)
“What makes KONG unique is its mix of hokum, horror, and peculiar poetry.”
—Glenn Kenny (Premiere)
A Monster of creation’s dawn breaks loose in our world today!
The legendary classic about a giant ape that is brought to New York City, and wreaks havoc!
A masterpiece and one of the top moneymakers of the 1930s. Fortune-hunters travel to Skull Island in search of the fabled giant ape “King Kong.” Enticing him with the lovely Fay Wray they capture him and bring him back to New York where he escapes and ransacks the city searching for her.
Film director Carl Denham and actress Ann Darrow arrive on a prehistoric island in the hope of capturing a giant ape, worshipped as a god by the local inhabitants. The mighty Kong shows his sensitive side by falling for Ann, and, after his transportation to New York, rampages across the city in search of his new love.
Robert Armstrong stars as movie producer Carl Denham who travels to a mysterious, uncharted island in search of material for his next film. Also aboard are unemployed actress Ann Darrow (Fay Wray) and adventurer Jack Driscoll (Bruce Cabot).
Once the crew reaches Skull Island they discover it is home to prehistoric beasts including Kong, a giant ape who becomes obsessed with the crew´s blonde starlet.
King Kong teems with memorable moments, from the audience´s first glance at the giant ape to his last stand atop the Empire State Building.
Theatrical release: March 2, 1933 (New York).
KING KONG was added to the Library of Congress National Film Registry in 1991. The story originated with writer Edgar Wallace, who died before the film’s 1933 release.
Despite Kong’s apparent death at the end of the 1933 classic, the tale of a giant ape set loose on the modern world has been retold many times since. The quickie sequel, SON OF KONG, was released in 1933 and shared director Ernest B. Schoedsack, special effects man Willis O’Brian and star Robert Armstrong with the first film. Armstrong joined Helen Mack and Victor Wong on a trip back to Skull Island, where they discover Kong’s young son.
In 1949, Schoedsack, O’Brian, and Armstrong went back to the well once more and retrieved MIGHTY JOE YOUNG, about another giant monkey. O’Brian shared effects duties with Ray Harryhausen this time out and Armstrong was joined in the cast by Terry Moore, Ben Johnson, Frank McHugh, and “Mr. Joseph Young.”
Japanese director Inoshira Honda produced a pair of mid-1960s KONG movies, KING KONG ESCAPES and KING KONG VS. GODZILLA. Dino de Laurentiis produced an extravagant and largely unsuccessful remake of KING KONG in 1976. It was directed by John Guillermin with effects by Rick Baker. Jeff Bridges, Charles Grodin, John Randolph, and Rene Auberjonois starred in the film, which also featured the film debut of model Jessica Lange.
De Laurentiis and Guillermin also produced a 1986 sequel that was aptly titled KING KONG LIVES, which starred Brian Kerwin, Linda Hamilton, John Ashton, and Peter Michael Goetz. In this film, a pair of scientists find the resurrected gorilla a giant mate and battle those who would destroy the beast.
Before KING KONG, Willis O’Brian worked on the 1925 film THE LOST WORLD. Based on the Arthur Conan Doyle tale, this silent classic tells the story of a group of scientists who stumble on a prehistoric world of dinosaurs and other presumably extinct creatures while on a museum outing. It was directed by Harry Hoyt and starred Bessie Love, Wallace Beery, and Lewis Stone.
Stop-motion animation was used to create the 50-foot Kong out of six 18-inch models. These models were constructed out of rubber and rabbit fur over a metal skeleton. For close-ups, the filmmakers created a full-scale hand and 20-foot model of Kong’s head and shoulders and covered them in bear hides.
See Also: The Top Ten Hottest Monsters Of 2009 / “Kong: King Of Skull Island” – New Artwork For The Graphic Novel / Kong: King Of Skull Island – The Mighty Ape Sequel / 3D Animation Bonanza – King Kong And Killer Beans / Steve Bissette Creates Special Artwork For New Hampshire Screening Of King Kong vs Godzilla / King Kong And Godzilla Invade The London Subway / King Kong vs Godzilla (1962)(Toho) / Nerdoh Is Producing Movie Inspired T-Shirts In The UK / King Kong, Godzilla And The Creature From The Black Lagoon At The Rose Parade / King Kong vs Godzilla: Trailer / Universal Fire: King Kong & Godzilla Up In Smoke? / Kingukongu no gyakushu / King Kong Escapes (1967)