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King Kong [DVD]

84 customer reviews

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Product Description

The classic monster movie following a magnificent beast who falls in love with a woman. Director Carl Denham (Robert Armstrong) and actress Ann Darrow (Fay Wray) arrive on the prehistoric Skull Island to shoot a film. While there, they encounter a giant ape known as King Kong, who is 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.

From Amazon.co.uk

"Now you see it. You're amazed. You can't believe it. Your eyes open wider. It's horrible, but you can't look away. There's no chance for you. No escape. You're helpless, helpless. There's just one chance, if you can scream. Throw your arms across your eyes and scream, scream for your life!" And scream Fay Wray does most famously in this monster classic, one of the greatest adventure films of all time, which even in an era of computer-generated wizardry remains a marvel of stop-motion animation. Robert Armstrong stars as famed adventurer Carl Denham, who is leading a "crazy voyage" to a mysterious, uncharted island to photograph "something monstrous ... neither beast nor man". Also aboard is waif Ann Darrow (Fay Wray) and Bruce Cabot as big lug John Driscoll, the ship's first mate. King Kong's first half-hour is steady going, with engagingly corny dialogue ("Some big, hard-boiled egg gets a look at a pretty face and bang, he cracks up and goes sappy") and ominous portent that sets the stage for the horror to come. Once our heroes reach Skull Island, the movie comes to roaring, chest-thumping, T-rex-slamming, snake-throttling, pterodactyl-tearing, native-stomping life. King Kong was ranked by the American Film Institute as among the 50 best films of the century. Kong making his last stand atop the Empire State Building is one of the film's most indelible and iconic images. --Donald Liebenson, Amazon.com

On the DVD: Although a little light on extras, this is happily the Director's Cut, restoring scenes that were censored after the film's original 1933 run, including Kong peeling off Fay Wray's clothes like a banana, and our hirsute hero using unfortunate natives as dental floss. The ratio of 4:3 is correct for a film of this age; the picture and (mono) sound are perfectly acceptable without being revelatory. The 25-minute "making of" documentary from 1992 is a 60th anniversary tribute to the film, which details all of Kong's many ground-breaking contributions to cinema, from Willis O'Brien's use of stop-motion and rear projection effects to Max Steiner's music score. There are contributions from film historians, modern admirers of the film including composer Jerry Goldsmith--who admits that Steiner created a template that Hollywood composers are still following--and a few surviving participants such as sound effects man Murray Spivak. Apparently, director Merian C. Cooper's original idea was to capture live gorillas, transport them to the island of Komodo and film them fighting the giant lizards! Thanks to Willis O'Brien's pioneering effects work good sense prevailed and a cinema classic was born. --Mark Walker

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Marc Van Kerschaver on 13 Mar. 2011
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
I can't add much to that what's already known: King Kong is still one of the best adventure/fantasy/monster movies in the history of filmmaking. It is simply amazing that a movie of almost eighty years old is still a true joy to watch and to watch again. Now the gem is finally on bluray and it is something for the real filmlover and collector to own. Its packed in a great hardcover book with the story behind the film, the film itself is restored to its maximum and the disk is also packed with fantastic documentaries...Like I said, this is what a bluray version of a classic should look like. Highly recommended. Oh by the way. It's an American import, but it's region free so it can be played without any trouble on region 2 players.
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42 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Paul D. Maher on 1 Dec. 2005
Format: DVD
I've just read the previous reviewers comments that this film is outdated. That may be because its SEVENTY TWO YEARS OLD! This film would have been terrifying at the time, the stop action animation was state of the art and the audience would have bought it. The story is an absolute classic and still stands up today although film structures have changed and it may seem rushed. I would recommend anyone to see it before the Peter Jackson film just to get an idea of how some elements of films have changed but the important ones have stayed the same.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By tony mac on 2 Oct. 2004
Format: DVD
King Kong is one of those genuinely iconic movies that transcend classification and time. This is not to say it isn't dated; as an early talkie - and a special effects driven one at that - it inevitably is. Yet its primitivism actually adds to its enjoyment. By the standards of any generation 'Kong', once it gets going, is still pretty much the most sustained, fast-paced and imaginative action adventure ever made.
Examined against modern CGI monster movies, the stop-motion techniques of Willis O'Brien may now look jerky and crude, but the sheer scale and ambition of them is still way ahead of anything done since. Think about it, in all the Jurassic Park's and Godzilla's of the last generation, it's more the conviction and naturalism of the monsters themselves that we admire rather than what they actually get up to. A triumph of muscle and tissue co-ordination, they run around a bit and attack people and let out deafening surround sound-roars, but do any of them manage the kind of big scale action Kong does? Within an hour of screen time our great ape fights three separate monsters, brings down a native village, rips up New York and becomes a cinematic martyr atop the Empire State Building. Beside this the activities of our snorting, sweating, salivating CGI creatures seems quite passive.
Its this giddy ambition of the film that still keeps it ahead of the pack. Despite all the money chucked around, no recent monster movie has ever delivered quite so much. If we can see beyond the squeaky soundtrack, the dodgy acting and fuzzy monochrome we can still shake our heads and marvel at the fact that it was even attempted, let alone done.
And lets not ignore the other aspects that make Kong great.
Read more ›
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Casey62 on 25 April 2012
Format: Blu-ray
KING KONG is one of those rare films that just gets better and better with age. We watch it now as a 1930's fable that's transcended its own time, attaining mythical status. The undiminished, primordial energy it generates derives from all aspects of production; from Willis O'Brien's masterly stop-motion effects and Murray Spivack's innovative early sound mix, to Max Steiner's brilliantly evocative music score.

The performances too are in perfect sync with the larger than life premise of this adventure/fairy tale classic. Fay Wray's iconic portrayal of the beauty who kills the beast set the standard for every damsel in distress that followed. Most amazing of all is Kong himself, who projects such a distinctive personality, we dismiss the fact that he's just a visual effect. Who can forget those blinking eyes of his at the hotel window when he recognizes Fay Wray?

But even beyond all the indelible imagery, the film also boasts a deceptively simple story which has a subtext based on the real life exploits shared by co-directors Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack in making expeditionary films. This essential, autobiographical approach is what drives the first third of KONG, and serves as build-up to the wild fantasy that takes over. The film is as much a personal work as is anything by Charlie Chaplin or Erich von Stroheim. Consider: The "Old Arabian Proverb" following the opening credits was written by Cooper, the intrepid filmmaker Carl Denham, played with 30's style, two fisted gusto by Robert Armstrong, was fashioned after Cooper, and the pilots machine-gunning Kong in the famous finale are actually Cooper and Schoedsack.

KONG interweaves fact/fiction with such clever subtlety, that audiences are still largely unappreciative of this unique aspect of the film. It's a great, shrewdly conceived piece of escapism that endures, inviting repeated viewings so that in the end we realize there's only one KING KONG.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By roderick.hall@telia.com on 14 Jun. 2001
Format: VHS Tape
As a budding movie historian and lover of all films, King Kong was unmissable. I collect all kinds of classic films but this is one that I think all movie fans should enjoy. The picture is in itself an historical landmark in the history of celluloid, featuring groundbreaking special effects, a star performance that would become a household name and one of the iconic images of American popular culture and the definitive 'damsel in distress'. This film gave a deafening roar that echoes today. But as a work of art, it is not to be missed. Being that we have all been reared in the post-Kong days of cinema, the idea of a giant ape stalking his prey is hardly shocking, we say 'oh that's just King Kong', but the first shot of the beast is still utterly gripping. Political correctness and liberalism tell us to look at Fay Wraye's performance as a symbol of the dark days when women were treated as dolls and weak creatures, but she portrays a classic role to perfection, and political incorrectness was never this good. Kong and his prehistoric pals are brought to life by stop-motion animation, some of the movements are rather jerky and the effects themselves are primitive by today's standards, but the effect that they generate has never been lost. Kong was in reality a metal skeleton with sponge-rubber muscles covered in rabbit fur, but 30s audiences and the 30s cast found it realistic, and that movement provides one with a feeling it would take more than a computer to beat this. The famous wall and door, behind which Kong resides was first used in Cecil B. De Mille's King of Kings, and was later used as a burning backdrop in the doomed city of Atlanta in Gone With The Wind. This film is packed to bursting point with breathtaking action and wonderful work all round, as a landmark and as a film, this one is truly special.
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