A SMALL CAVEAT BEFORE PURCHASE,
This review is from: King Kong [Blu-ray]  [US Import] (Blu-ray)
The movie itself is an unmitigated masterpiece: a spectacular story conceived by a man Kong-sized in spirit, one incredible real-life hero and adventurer Merian C. Cooper, with impeccable, flawlessly paced direction by Cooper and his also astounding associate Ernest Shoedsack, with a hand-in-glove masterful Max Steiner music score, a Gustave Dore-inspired jungle unlike any other jungle ever filmed, graced by a true Beauty in Fay Wray as Ann Darrow and a Beast that gives one of the Top 10 greatest screen performances ever - and does so despite being an 18" rabbit fur-covered, metal ball-and-socket puppet! The man behind the movement, though, was Willis O'Brien, an authentic American genius unfortunately not given enough opportunities to gift us with his wares. He is somewhat like Welles. Both artists reached the tops of their own Empire State Buildings under the auspices of RKO. Welles, of course with CITIZEN KANE and O'Bie with KING KONG: both films ironically two word titles, both are names preceded by adjectives, both with the hard 'K'. And both men, Welles and O'Brien, toppling from the heights due to the vagaries of popular taste and monied interests and personal demons.
Anyway, speaking of monied interests, I was surprised to see the blatant, huckster's lie in the advert for the Blu-ray Book version of KONG. The list of Special Features says: THE LOST SPIDER PIT SEQUENCE IN ITS ENTIRETY.
But this is an outright lie. What is on the disc is NOT the actual and seemingly truly lost spider pit sequence. What it really is is Peter Jackson's imaginative recreation of the actual and lost sequence. This recreation is a segment of the multi-part documentary "RKO Production 601: The Making of Kong." Yet in the pitch it is made to seem like a separate special feature and NOT merely a part of the long documentary already listed as being on disc two. I know many folks may be fooled by this false advertising, therefore this review.
Despite the lie, white or otherwise, the movie is magnificent magic, all the way. The second disc extras are all to be found on the DVD release. The Making of documentary is wonderful, even with a bit too much of Peter Jackson's input. The other documentary is a rich and rewarding one on the incredible Merian C. Cooper who was the real-life model for Carl Denham, searcher for Skull Island and captor of Kong. Ten lives or more lived in one! I have the 2005 release in the tin box special edition. Not sure if it is available anymore, but it is a beauty.
Anyway,I never tire of watching this Monster Masterpiece because it is so rich and dense in detail that something new may be found in it with each viewing. One example: I was always aware of the boat - The Venture - way in the background in the scene where Bruce Cabot and Fay Wray are escaping from Kong via a vine hanging down the face of Skull Mountain. But only recently did I also spot the actual giant wall just visible in the dense jungle foliage. It is a wonderful detail in a wonderfully detailed film. It gives one a visual sense of just how deep into the jungle Kong's mountain lair actually is - and how far Jack Driscoll has come to rescue Ann Darrow.
KING KONG was a Thanksgiving TV tradition for many, many years here in the NY area. With those nostalgic memories in mind I will settle down into my armchair this Thursday and book passage on The Venture and get lost in the wilds of Skull Island yet again, looking to spot yet another jewel in that fearsome and fantastic jungle.