KING KONG (1976)

THREE GUYS AND… A MOVIE

series created by Marvin Mercer and Nick Stephenson

“KING KONG” (1976)

written by Dominick Cappello

POSITIVE:

John Barry’s fantastically haunting score and maybe also Charles Grodin’s performance. That’s it.

– Dr. Jelly

NEGATIVE:

Everything else. Its tagline was that it was the most exciting original motion picture event of all time. Original? How could a remake be advertised as original? How? What kind of sick and twisted world are we living in? It’s better than “King Kong Escapes”, but that’s not saying much. Trust me.

We all love Jeff Bridges. He’s The Dude, but in this movie he’s just some self-righteous hippie jackass. Jessica Lange was a vision of beauty. Damn you AMC for always cutting her shower scene. Hell, she’s in silhouette, so it’s tastefully done and not in anyway exploitative. But, her performance was a bit ditzy. I don’t now how much of that was the character and how much was her. Even she admitted that she needed acting lessons after this movie.

I’ll give the movie some credit for the suspenseful buildup to King Kong’s reveal, but all of that is undone once we actually see King Kong because its just a guy in a gorilla suit. Rick Baker of all people. You know that I’m an admirer of his. I’ve said before that I love an “American Werewolf in London”, but the way in which King Kong is shot in this movie doesn’t do the gorilla suit any favors.

They try to compensate by using an animatronic monkey’s paws in some shots, but it’s unintentionally comical. Don’t get me started on the scene where King Kong blows on Jessica Lange. Was that suppose to be romantic? The transitions from scenes shot on location to scenes shot in a studio were so obvious, which for me ruined the recreation of my favorite scene from the original where the sailors are shaken off a log and fall to their deaths.

Unlike every other incarnation of King Kong, there are no dinosaurs in this movie, but he does fight a giant rubber snake after fondling Jessica Lange with a creepy grin on his face. As per usual, King Kong is captured and taken in chains to New York City. He eventually escapes and carries his blonde love interest to the top of the World Trade Center instead of the Empire State Building.

King Kong, a hopeless romantic at heart, is then mercilessly gunned down by helicopters. Footage of these helicopters would be recycled in “The Running Man” of all movies. He falls to his death only to be resurrected in “King Kong Lives” which sucks beyond words. Jeff Bridges and Jessica Lange aren’t even reunited in the end as they are separated in the final scene by reporters. So, it wasn’t beauty killed the beast? It was the media? What the hell was this movie trying to say? I don’t know, but it failed.

– Dr. Frisbee

Author: Dominick

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