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Robert Harris

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Robert Harris
Viewing John Guillermin's Dino De Laurentiis produced 1976 King Kong had me wondering what a modernized CGI effects version might look like.

As for the 1976 version, while it's essential viewing for fans of the genre, it does not stand the test of time. Actually, it probably wasn't very good in 1976.

Jessica Lange does her best, but screenplay, dialogue...

I won't go there.

Scream Factory continues to do its best in offering studio material in a quality form, along with some interesting extras, inclusive of new interviews - a task, I presume was made a bit more difficult due to Covid.

Image quality is interesting. Color and densities seem fine, but grain appears a bit on the rough side - nothing offensive, just a bit grainy. Image stability is fine, which brings one to the question of precisely how old or new the master might be.

Sit at a normal distance, and like other releases, any potential problems, and I quite honestly don't recall what the grain structure looked like in 1976, disappear.

Scream offers two versions of the film, the theatrical scope cut at 134 minutes, and a TV cut, also at 2.35, but with notes describing possibly incomplete audio, which apparently corresponds to the 1.33, at 182 minutes.

I leave it to you to make your own appraisal of the situation.

Image – 4.25

Audio – 5 (DTS-HD MA 5.1)

Pass / Fail – Pass

RAH
 
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Billy Batson

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I saw this at the cinema with a few workmates, I didn't want to go, but they were keen. I thought I'd hate it, but I ended up enjoying it, despite all its obvious flaws. It probably hasn't aged that well, but I still like it (I've had the French Blu-ray for some years). One thing it has that modern films don't...a really great score. John Barry really knocked it out of the park.
 

Thomas T

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Heresy I know but it's my favorite of all the King Kong movies. Probably because unlike the 1933 film, it has some much needed humor.

I saw it during its original theatrical run with two friends. After it was over, I said something to the effect that Jessica Lange had that special something and she was going to be a star. My friends laughed and said, "She's just another blonde bimbo who'll be lucky to end up in television". In 1982, when she received a best actress nomination for Frances and won the supporting actress award for Tootsie, my validation was complete!
 

Will Krupp

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It's wrapped up in nostalgia for me, but I absolutely love this movie. I was 9 years old when it came out and it was the first "event" movie I can remember "needing" to be a part of. You weren't anybody until you saw KING KONG and could discuss it intelligently at school in the 9-year old's zeitgeist of 1976/1977!

I saw it three times that winter (I thought it was just great!) and the third time holds a special place in my heart because it played at the local movie theater which just happened to be at the end of our street. (Shout out to the much lamented Forty Fort Theatre! http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/13213) There were about 8 boys around the same age on our street and we decided to go we needed to see it again in a group. It was the first time (for most of us, definitely me) we were allowed to go to a movie with ZERO adult supervision once we got in. I felt so grown up. (In actuality, our parents all knew Mr. Alexander, who owned the theater, and he brooked no nonsense inside so we were supervised without our knowing it but STILL...)

Quality doesn't really come into it when it bumps up against the power of nostalgia! I, personally, can't wait.
 

Dave H

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I was only four at the time, but I recall my older sibling walking us to the "dollar show" - small theater about a mile from our home that got second-run movies from the bigger theaters after they were done running them. I still remember the sheer size of King Kong on a theater screen and the 'wow' effect at that age and time.
 

lark144

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mark gross
The only nostalgia I have for this film is the interview the late, lamented Stuart Byron did with Dino De Laurentiis. I don't remember whether it was in "Film Comment" or the "Village Voice" but what I do recall is that Mr. De Laurentiis' responses were in the kind of Italinate English that Chico Marx specialized in. I don't know if that was accurate, but Stuart Byron, when I ran into him at MOMA, insisted that was on the tape recording. Anyway, at one point in the interview, Mr. De Laurentiis was quoted as saying, "When Konk die, everybody gonna cry."

John Belushi must have read the article, for in one of the first episodes of "Saturday Night Live" he kept repeating, "When Konk die, everybody gonna cry" throughout the broadcast. Or at least, that's what I remember.
 

BobO'Link

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I saw this in 1976 and thought it was not very good. I watched it solely for Lange, whose attributes did not disappoint but everything else did. In spite of that, it's one for which I own the DVD for and will eventually purchase the BR.
 

zoetmb

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Great cast, horrible film (IMO). I almost wish it didn't have a great cast because I've always felt sorry for them. I know that Jessica Lange complained about spending weeks in Kong's hand and she apparently hated shooting the film, even though her acting was fine. I have a vague recollection of her being on a talk show and refusing to talk about the film.
 

Midnight Mike

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Rick Baker‘s work as Kong is the ultimate reason for me to pick this up! As well as nostalgia from seeing this back in ‘76. Looking forward to it!

oh yeah, and also John Barry’s awesome score!
 
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TheSteig

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Im not much for grainy images, but I also dont like waxy DNR either. Id prefer less grain and maintain its natural look without any digital enhancements. Grain can be a distraction even though "it's film-like" to some.
 

RolandL

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The mechanical Kong was a disaster. Do you see more of it in the TV cut?
 

Jack P

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Looking forward to this. It was my first "event" film at age seven with all the toys, trading cards etc. even before "Star Wars" and because it also shows the New York I first remembered as a child (the WTC photography is especially poignant now) it also touches another chord. As a film, I prefer it to Jackson's narcissistic "Hey look at me do what they couldn't do in 1933!" because it doesn't try to compete with the 33 classic, it just tries to be it's own film and that's why it holds up better for me.

I have an original recording of the TV cut from 1978 (shown in two parts. Part 2 went up against the debut of "Battlestar Galactica" and had a 30 minute news interruption for the Camp David Peace Accords). It will be interesting to see it widescreen though the audio I suspect will have those TV edits of removing the stray lines of profanity the theatrical cut has (Bridges shouting "Assxxxes!" at the climax). Most of the new footage tended to be "padded" material as opposed to scenes of substance save the one where Bridges tells Lange in the bar that if Kong doesn't survive they'd never be able to look at each other again (which explains why the two don't have a reunion at the end).
 

Richard M S

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I am really looking forward to getting the new King Kong bluray and I am happy both versions are available. This was a huge event at the time, at least to my then-11-year old self. I never had any interest in baseball so I never had baseball cards, but wow did I ever Iove collecting those King Kong cards - I still have them in fact. Somewhere I still have my yellowed New York Daily News centerfold showing the World Trade Center filming.

I am also really eager to see it again because it is such a 1970's movie, and I have really been into films from that pre-9/11, pre-pandemic, pre-Aids - even pre-disco period.
 

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