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A Few Words About A few words about... King Kong

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Robert Harris, Nov 14, 2005.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    For the uninitiated, let's place the production of King Kong in historic perspective.

    One of the greatest adventure films in the history of the cinema, was a 1932 production, released early in 1933.

    Film stock was panchromatic, but duping materials were the same as used in the late 1920s, and the generational loss was easily noticeable.

    I use one other milestone when I consider the look and texture of what essentially is an antique film.

    I place the film in the center of a time period. As an example, Rear Window fits neatly between modern cinema and the first films created by D.W.Griffith and Abel Gance.

    King Kong is positioned equally between our present cinema and...

    the period when Abraham Lincoln was president; the civil war had not yet begun; slavery was the norm in the United States; and women were decidedly treated as second class citizens.

    There was no electrical power, and the cinema would not be born for another 35 years.

    I'm mentioning these things as a basis for my comments about the new DVD of King Kong, for which no reels original negative are known to exist, nor are we aware of any original lavenders. Everything is derived from third generation elements at best.

    Decades ago, if one wished to own a copy of Kong, the best possible examples were imported from the UK as 16mm prints which were considered by cinephiles to be the finest representation of the film that we were likely to find.

    Warner Brothers has taken these elements, combined them with others, properly restored the film, and as a final result, is about to release the film on DVD in the finest incarnation that I have personally ever seen.

    Shadow detail, missing for decades, has been at least partially returned, and grain structure is absolutely proper.

    The new DVD of King Kong is a joy to behold, which receives the highest possible recommendation of these set of eyes.

    There is obviously much more to this set, and those elements, inclusive of the newly created "stand-in" for the mythic spider sequence will follow shortly in another message.

    As for the film itself...

    Run. Do not walk to your local purveyor of DVDs.

    King Kong is an absolutely thrilling experience.

    Unless something totally unscheduled appears, which I doubt...

    It is not too early to say that King Kong will be the classic DVD of 2005.

    RAH
     
  2. Larry Sutliff

    Larry Sutliff Well-Known Member

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    This is my most anticipated DVD this year. Thanks for the excellent review, Mr. Harris.
     
  3. John Hodson

    John Hodson Well-Known Member

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    Where have you been Robert? [​IMG] I've been waiting for your comments...
     
  4. DustinPizarro

    DustinPizarro Well-Known Member

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    Thanks again Mr. Harris!! Having already made some shelf space, I'm eagerly awaiting for this important film. I'm also interested in reading your opinion regarding the spider sequence.
     
  5. Bob Furmanek

    Bob Furmanek Insider
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    Yet another marginal release which is now truly worth owning!

    Thank you again Mr. Harris for your insightful comments, inclusive of your spider sequence reference.
     
  6. Paul Anthony

    Paul Anthony Well-Known Member

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    Can-not wait, this is going to be cool! [​IMG]
     
  7. oscar_merkx

    oscar_merkx Well-Known Member

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    it's going to be a BLAST

    [​IMG]
     
  8. Darrell S.

    Darrell S. Well-Known Member

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    Mr. Harris,

    Can you tell us a little more about the quality of scenes that were pieced together from the best surviving elements that were previously poor quality because of being excised i.e. the strip scene and violent scenes. Were they able to lighten them since I understand they had also been darkened to hide the gore.

    Also, as far the extras, how much Fay Wray do we get as far as her input in this set?

    You are the best,
    Thanks!
     
  9. Jeff_HR

    Jeff_HR Well-Known Member

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    I can hardly wait!!!! [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  10. Mike Williams

    Mike Williams Well-Known Member

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    I'm not Mr. Harris, but there is a review up on digitallyobsessed that says Ms. Wray's comments (in the commentary at least) are only a couple and -- sadly -- nearly irrelevant. The reviewer says the commentary is an enormous disappointment, but the film itself and the extras are exceptional.
     
  11. TravisR

    TravisR Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like it's been worth the wait. Hopefully the remake will get a few more people to see the original and WB's efforts to restore it.
     
  12. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    What an absolute treat this is going to be! [​IMG]
     
  13. Tim Glover

    Tim Glover Well-Known Member

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    Wonderful seal of approval. Looking forward to finally seeing this film in it's entirety for the first time. [​IMG]
     
  14. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Well-Known Member

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    Now the hard part is deciding which to buy, the collectable Tin box of the original film, or the 3 pack with the sequel and Mighty Joe Young. My guess, and someone please correct me as I've never seen the sequel or Mighty Joe Young, is that King Kong is by far the best of the 3 and the other 2 films are pretty weak and for the diehard fans. Of course this is strictly subjective and not intended to diminish those 2 films and fans.
     
  15. John Hodson

    John Hodson Well-Known Member

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    'Son of' is the weakest IMHO, but I love Mighty Joe Young. Although it's a more family oriented movie than 'Kong', it's a delight from start to finish (must be my age, but I still shed a tear...) - I've ordered the collection, but when Amazon dropped the tin to $20.95 I must admit I weakened and ordered that as well.

    Would have been rude not to...
     
  16. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    As an addendum to my earlier notes, there is quite a bit of interview with Ms. Wray in the documentary portion of the second disc.

    Be aware that the second disc contains the new Merian Cooper documentary from Photoplay, as well as the seven part Turner produced documentary on the history of Kong.

    As far as packaging goes, the tin is beautifully designed and Kong lovers will want the miniature version of the included premiere program, but if one is going for a single purchase, it would be the three film set.

    RAH
     
  17. Ed St. Clair

    Ed St. Clair Well-Known Member

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    Agree. Looking forward to the poster offer as well!
     
  18. Jim Peavy

    Jim Peavy Well-Known Member

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    Probably my most anticipated DVD release... ever. I've considered laying out of work on the 22nd.

    Woo-hoo - bring it on!!
     
  19. Cees Alons

    Cees Alons Moderator
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    Back already! [​IMG] Pre-ordered (the tin, of course).


    Cees
     
  20. CraigF

    CraigF Well-Known Member

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    ^ Me too, I disobeyed Robert [​IMG]

    Haven't seen this since I was a kid, but the rec is very high so...

    Any comments on the sound quality?
     

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