When a research ship is sent to explore an island thought to be rich in oil, paleontologist Jack Prescott sneaks aboard, having heard strange rumors about the island. En route, the crew rescues Dwan, the sole survivor of a shipwreck. When they arrive, they find native people living in fear of a monster called Kong. The natives kidnap Dwan and sacrifice her to what turns out to be an enormous ape. Dwan is eventually rescued, and the ape captured for a gala exhibit.Written by
Hammer had also intended to remake the movie a few years earlier, but it was scrapped after a few test reels were shot. However, some of the Hammer footage was used in a Volkswagen commercial. See more »
(at around 1h 9 mins) When Kong holds Dwan under the waterfall to clean her off, Kong's hand is moving around a lot, but Dwan is not, revealing that she is not actually in his hand, but "screened" into the shot. See more »
OK, Boan, how much you got here?
About eighteen hundred.
Eighteen hundred? What's going on?
Hey, Mr. Bagley! Something's haywire. They only loaded me enough pipe to push one test hole. Less than two thousand feet.
Yeah, that'll be enough.
Are you kidding? On Bagatan, we didn't come until we were past twenty-six thousand feet.
You take my word, fellas. This hole proves out within two thousand, or it's a write-off.
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Opening credits prologue: SURABAYA INDONESIA See more »
Additional scenes include the following:
A lengthy scene in a Surubaya bar showing Prescott drugging a Petrox crewman.
A scene of Joe & Boan playing cards & being interrupted by a Captain Ross on the loudspeaker calling all hands to assemble in the mess room. Boan wisecracking about Petrox bought by Howard Hughes & working for the CIA.
A scene of a Mexican crew member named Garcia spying on Dwan while she's showering,ends with Jack tossing Garcia overboard with a life preserver.
A scene showing the crew watching an old movie on TV. Roy Bagley observing the oil-like substance under a microscope, he swigs some wine & calls for a boat to take him ashore.
Longer battle between Kong & the gigantic snake,ends with an alternate and less gory take of Kong killing the snake & beating his chest.
Extra footage of Kong breaking through the wall.
Before Jack enters Dwan's dressing room he is confronted by a security guard.
Additional dialogue between Dwan & Wilson.
During Kong's rampage a Petrox head executive tells Wilson he's fired.
After Kong steps on Wilson,the camera pulls back to reveal that all that's left in Kong's footprint is Wilson's hat.
A scene of Dwan & Jack talking & running down a street trying to hot-wire a Chevrolet Corvette.
A scene of a car running in front of Kong, Kong picks it up (the car used was a 1974 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham) & throws it against a building, where it explodes.
"King Kong" was one of my all-time favorite movies when I was a teenager. It was the big 'event' movie of 1976 and showed on two screens in most multiplexes. It might have been the first movie to get that treatment. With a production cost of $24 million it was the most expensive movie ever made at that time.
Promotional material offered for sale dwarfed anything that had been done in that area before. A fast-food joint offered King Kong collectible glasses (I still have a set). And you could find posters, T-shirts and a 'Making Of King Kong' book.
I very much enjoyed 'King Kong' as a 17-year-old high school senior, but not so much later as an adult. The romance between Dwan and Jack seemed contrived once I got older. Other aspects of the film struck me as just dumb. Like the ship's radar being able to pick up Kong when he was walking around the island. Or the SUNNY aerial shot of the people walking on the allegedly fog-shrouded island. Or Jack's theory that the fog was produced not by a huge supply of crude oil near the surface, but by 'animal respiration.' As if King Kong's breathing caused the fog bank. Give me a break!
Yet there's something about movies one enjoyed as a youth that makes them special for the rest of one's life, no matter how bad they really are.
But 'King Kong' had it's good points, too. First of all, it was funny. Charles Grodin's portrayal of the greedy, desperate oil company executive is scenery-chewing at its best. For years after, I watched in vain for Grodin to play a similar character, but everything else he has done is nothing like his work in 'King Kong.' (Nothing as good either, I might add.)
Speaking of singular performances, you won't recognize René Auberjonois if your frame of reference is his work on 'Benson' and 'Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.' The voice he uses in 'King Kong' is nothing like the gravely voice we're used to hearing.
Jeff Bridges is perfect in the role of Jack Prescott. His long hair is a nice touch, although it probably turned off some of the older people in the theater. Jeff has a way with a sarcastic line that few actors can equal.
Jessica Lange comes off worse than any other actor in the film. Not because of her performance, which is fine, but because her character is an airhead who is only there to be protected (and rescued when that doesn't work) from Kong. The fact that her costumes were chosen for their ability to showcase her body and that her breasts are briefly visible when Kong undresses her has got to make the actress cringe nowadays when she thinks about this movie.
I'll close by noting that John Barry's score of 'King Kong' was terrific. Twenty-six years after the movie debuted and I can still remember the title tune.
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