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I'm King Kong!: The Exploits of Merian C. Cooper (2005)

This documentary explores the incredible life of Merian C. Cooper, from his time as a soldier and pilot in three different wars, to his exploits in Hollywood, as a director, producer and cinematic innovator.
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Narrator (voice)
Merian C. Cooper ...
Himself (archive footage) (archive sound)
David Strohmaier ...
Himself - Interviewee
James D'Arc ...
Himself - Interviewee
Himself (archive footage)
Paul M. Jensen ...
Himself - Interviewee
Ted Curtis Jr. ...
Himself - Interviewee
Herbert Hoover ...
Himself (archive footage)
Herself - Interviewee
Carl Denham (archive footage)
Jack Driscoll (archive footage)
Himself (archive footage) (archive sound)
Haile Selassie ...
Himself (archive footage)
Marguerite Harrison ...
Herself (archive footage)
Himself - Interviewee


A chronological celebration of the life and contributions to movies of Merian C. Cooper (1893-1973), adventurer turned filmmaker. Tossed from the Naval Academy and wanting to make his father proud, he becomes a bomber pilot in World War I, assists the Polish resistance, escapes from a Soviet prison, and becomes a documentary filmmaker. He brings his camera close to stampeding elephants and lunging tigers. With "King Kong," he used stop-motion animation. Other innovations include his use of aviation in movie making and his embrace of Technicolor and Cinemascope. Archival interviews of Cooper and his partner, Monty Schoedsack, add to the soundtrack. Talking heads also comment. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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Release Date:

3 September 2005 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs



Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


This documentary was released on DVD in the King Kong (1933) Two-Disc Special Edition the same day it was aired on Turner Classic Movies, Nov. 22 2005. See more »


Edited from The Dawn Patrol (1930) See more »

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User Reviews

Parts are obviously missing--as if the film was rushed into production.
11 September 2011 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

Although this biography of Merian C. Cooper was originally included as a special feature for the DVD release of "King Kong", it was recently shown on Turner Classic Movies. I am glad, as Cooper was a producer/writer and director about which few talk about today--and I've never heard of a biography of him other than this one.

The first portion of the film was about Cooper's life before he began making films. I was very surprised how exciting and wild his life was--and his life sounded like it could have made an exciting movie on its own! He was a WWI pilot, fought in Poland against the Russians after the war, escaped from a Soviet prison some time after his plane crashed and THEN began traveling the world having various adventures. Only after all this occurred did he begin making wonderful documentaries in very exotic locales--such as the wonderful "Chang: A Drama of the Wilderness"--one of the best silent films I've ever seen.

Then, it entered his years as the executive producer of a ton of films with RKO, such as the iconic "King Kong" as well as films like "Flying Down to Rio". Then, later in life, it discusses his collaborations with John Ford as well as his work on starting the Cinerama process. Then, inexplicably, the film just ends....even though Cooper lived for another 20 years and went on to make a few more films. Because it skipped so much and told very little about his personal life beyond his early exploits, I felt quite disappointed--like it was a biography only about a small portion of his life. Good and quite interesting--but woefully incomplete.

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