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A few words about... King Kong


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58 replies to this topic

#1 of 59 Robert Harris

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Posted November 14 2005 - 04:04 AM

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

"All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. This I did." T.E. Lawrence


#2 of 59 Larry Sutliff

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Posted November 14 2005 - 04:14 AM

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

#3 of 59 John Hodson

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Posted November 14 2005 - 04:15 AM

Where have you been Robert? Posted Image I've been waiting for your comments...
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#4 of 59 DustinPizarro

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Posted November 14 2005 - 04:24 AM

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 of 59 Bob Furmanek

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Posted November 14 2005 - 04:33 AM

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.

Bob Furmanek

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#6 of 59 Paul Anthony

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Posted November 14 2005 - 04:54 AM

Can-not wait, this is going to be cool! Posted Image

#7 of 59 oscar_merkx

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Posted November 14 2005 - 05:51 AM

it's going to be a BLAST

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#8 of 59 Darrell S.

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Posted November 14 2005 - 06:10 AM

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 of 59 Jeff_HR

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Posted November 14 2005 - 06:34 AM

I can hardly wait!!!! Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image
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#10 of 59 Mike Williams

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Posted November 14 2005 - 06:38 AM

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 of 59 TravisR

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Posted November 14 2005 - 06:49 AM

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 of 59 Mike Frezon

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Posted November 14 2005 - 07:06 AM

What an absolute treat this is going to be! Posted Image

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#13 of 59 Tim Glover

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Posted November 14 2005 - 07:16 AM

Wonderful seal of approval. Looking forward to finally seeing this film in it's entirety for the first time. Posted Image

#14 of 59 Nelson Au

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Posted November 14 2005 - 07:38 AM

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 of 59 John Hodson

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Posted November 14 2005 - 07:52 AM

'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...
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#16 of 59 Robert Harris

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Posted November 14 2005 - 08:11 AM

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

"All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. This I did." T.E. Lawrence


#17 of 59 Ed St. Clair

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Posted November 14 2005 - 10:56 AM

Quote:
This is my most anticipated DVD this year.

This is my most anticipated DVD, period!!!
Quote:
Thanks for the excellent review, Mr. Harris.
ditto
Quote:
Everything is derived from third generation elements at best.

So thats why KK has always looked 'dreamy' (soft) to me!
Thanks Mr. Harris. You maded my day with this thread.
Quote:
Kong lovers will want the miniature version of the included premiere program

Agree. Looking forward to the poster offer as well!
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#18 of 59 Jim Peavy

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Posted November 14 2005 - 11:01 AM

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

Woo-hoo - bring it on!!
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#19 of 59 Cees Alons

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Posted November 14 2005 - 12:08 PM

Quote:
As for the film itself...

Run. Do not walk to your local purveyor of DVDs.
Back already! Posted Image Pre-ordered (the tin, of course).


Cees

#20 of 59 CraigF

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Posted November 14 2005 - 12:13 PM

^ Me too, I disobeyed Robert Posted Image

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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