Wednesday, June 19, 2013

1976 - KING KONG, first remake.

Long and kind of lame remake of the original film.  The writer Lorenzo Semple Jr. the guy who created the Batman TV series with Adam West wrote a semi spoofy version of the original film.  John Guillermin a director the studio could push around was hired.  The producer was the eccentric Italian Dino De Laurentis who had worked with Fellini on La Strada and Nights of the Cabiria along with Orca, The White Buffalo, Lipstick and Death Wish.

The cast had competent actors like Jeff Bridges, Rene Auberjonois, John Randolph, Ed Lauter and Charles Grodin.  But the film also had the De Laurentis discovery, model turned actress Jessica Lange who De Laurentis hired because she had "big boobs."  Lange is pretty hopeless in this film, she plays her character like she is channeling another "big boob" actress Marilyn Monroe. 

This is a very 70's film, the bad guy is the evil oil company and there is an overall campy tone that pervades the entire film.  The special effects are the old Toho studios trick of sticking a guy in a monster suit (in this case a monkey suit) and having him stomp around miniature jungle and New City sets.  De Laurentis played fast and lose with the production facts claiming that a 40 foot robotic gorilla would play Kong.  In fact an actual full scale replica was built but barely worked and never looked like the guy in the monkey suit.

What entertainment there is in this film pretty much comes from Charles Grodin as the snarky oil executive trying to exploit Kong.  The film has some good photography from the cinematographer Richard Kline.

134 minutes.

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