Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The Making of King Kong, Part 1

King Kong!
The Eighth Wonder of the World!
And the making of King Kong in 1933 was a wonder of movie-making as well!
Orville Goldner and George E. Turner takes us behind the scenes and deep into Kong's jungle so we can see what it took to make this classic. . . .*
[Miss Maven hopes they're watching the same version as she is!]
. . . There are valid reasons why none of the dozens of imitations [of King Kong] has succeeded in duplicating its grasp upon the imagination of the public. One is that, however fantastic and implausible the film may be, it convinces because it is built upon solid biographical fact. It is as personal a statement of its guiding geniuses--Marion C. Cooper, Ernest B. Shoedsack, Rush Rose and Willis H. O'Brien--as is anything by Chaplin or Stroheim. This underlying reality is sensed by the viewer.
Carl Denham, the daredevil producer who seeks and finds Kong, is a personality composite of Cooper and Shoedsack. He possesses the same courage and intentness of purpose that made possible the filming of Grass, Chang and Rango under incredibly difficult conditions. He accepts hardship and danger willingly as the price of the game. He knows he must avoid the monsoon because he ran afoul of it in Thailand, cranks his won camera because his cinematographer in Sumatra was rendered helpless by a fear of wild animals, seeks a girl to appear in his new film because exhibitors complained that if Chang only had "love interest" it would have made twice as much money. It is said that if Denham wants a picture of a lion he just walks up and tells it to look pleasant--an approach no more brazen than Schoedsack's method of provoking tigers into charging his camera.
Miss Maven suspects that Carl Denham may have headed the Internal Revenue Service in another lifetime!
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*The Making of King Kong, Ballantine Books, New York, 1975, page 7 - 9 Foreward).
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