Blu-ray Review – King Kong: Collector’s Edition (1976)


King Kong, 1976.

Directed by John Guillermin.
Starring Jeff Bridges, Charles Grodin, Jessica Lange, John Randolph, Rene Auberjonois, Julius Harris and Jack O’Halloran.



A remake made by Dino De Laurentiis in 1976 King Kong is usually overlooked in favor of Peter Jackson’s 2005 version, but many of us who were children at the time are happy to remember it as the greatest monster film of our youth. Yell! It looks like Factory had read our thoughts when they made a new Collector’s Edition movie that included a problematic TV version, a large batch of new interviews, and two commentary tracks.


The output of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg had a huge impact on me as a child, but the original 1933 King Kong also had a significant impact. Part of it was Willis O’Brien’s stop-motion animation that fascinated me, and part of it was just the story itself: What child isn’t sucking on the story of a hidden island inhabited by a giant monkey captured and brought back to New York City, where he destroys?

Interest in the original helped launch the pump for the 1976 remake of Dino De Laurentis, which was significantly attacked by Paramount Pictures until its December release that same year. Unfortunately, it turned into a weak box office assignment, and I found myself less enthusiastic about the “guy in the suit” approach to impact.

I had cut my teeth in the Godzilla movies as well, but I could never get over how ostentatious it looked like someone in a suit dropped in model cities and toy tanks, and there this version King Kong lost me, especially the part that takes place in New York City. I enjoy the story of the first two plays, with Charles Grodin turning to a great Petrox Oil guy who goes to the sea to look for oil on a mysterious island, and Jeff Bridges plays a serious primate paleontology that slips aboard. Jessica Lange introduces her debut Dwan, an aspiring actress found in the sea after a sailing yacht exploded.


Sure, Dwan’s entrance is a bit random, as if screenwriter Lorenzo Sample was told that this updated version of Fay Wray’s Ann Darrow couldn’t be from the start simply as the ship’s second mate or crew member or something like that. And yes, the script is a bit flat in places, even though the three leads are doing their best on the lines given. However, let’s face it: You don’t watch King Kong for a bubbly dialogue.

However, I have always thought that changing the reason for the trip to the island from a cinematographic to an oil search was a major turning point, especially given the oil shortages of the 1970s and people’s concerns about fossil fuels at the time. And using the World Trade Center instead of the Empire State Building was the perfect way to upgrade the film’s final act, especially when it gave Congo two buildings to defend itself. For some reason, I’ve also always loved that giant gorilla poster in both buildings, holding a burning helicopter in one hand and a girl in need in the other.

I guess in the end this version King Kong simply presses my nostalgia buttons because I’m sure it also applies to many Gen Xers who are probably ready to click on this release. Despite its shortcomings, it’s still a fun way to get back to what now feels like a simpler time to film. The fact that Shout! The factory’s Scream Factory imprint put a lot of effort into this release, which shows that they think it presses these buttons for many people.


There are actually two versions of the film: an original theatrical cut at a clock speed of 134 minutes; and an extended television broadcast of 195 minutes, which is actually shown in two parts, as it was when originally shown on network TV for two nights. Each version has one Blu-ray disc, and most of the bonus features can be found on the disc with a theatrical cut.

The TV broadcast version is a bit problematic, like Shout! notes in advance because they had to process old-school 1.33: 1 footage (because all TV broadcasts were at the time) that were added to the widescreen 2.35: 1. could not do anything about its audio problems (part of the dialogue simply seems missing), and some of the shots were simply of less presentable quality. In addition, everyone who was too violent or sexual was excluded from the film. (At the age of eight, I say, “Boo.”)

The TV executives who commissioned the expanded subscription seemed to be more worried about creating a two-night event than about whether this new version would stand the test of time. To be fair, home video was emerging at the time, so they couldn’t imagine where it would end up in 2021. I guess Shout! included it here as another nod of nostalgia for those of us who remember those days.


New bonus features ordered by Shout! The factory is mostly found on a theater album. They are:

• Two voice memos, one with film historian Ray Morton King Kong: The History of the Movie Icon, and one with well-known makeup special effects guy Rick Baker. The first song is, as you might imagine, like making an audiobook, and it has a lot of historical information about the entire Kong franchise program and this movie itself. It’s a bit dry, but it’s still worth listening to, especially for Kong fans.

The second song has been monitored, which the host said was originally intended to be a video presentation, but he points out that the discussion lasted so long that it was decided to change it to a comment. As such, it’s not screen-specific, but Baker is always a fun guy to listen to, given his long, rich history in the industry and the fact that even as a kid he was excited about the makeup effects. She leads with an anecdote about making her own Kong costume after seeing the original – she ended up portraying the character in the character in this remake despite the original fear of the project.

• On the top of the world (12 minutes): Assistant director David McGiffert and production manager Brian Frankish look back at making the film and present some screenplays during the process.

• When a monkey dies, everyone cries (14 minutes): I don’t remember ever seeing an interview with a film festival, so I think there’s a first for everything. This interview is with production messengers Jeffrey Chernov and Scott Thaler, who were forced to cycle between 30 batches delivering messages, payrolls and much more back in the pre-mobile and email era. Not surprisingly, De Laurentiis was a tough boss. I’d like to see more of these types of bonus features that shine in the spotlight on unselected team members.

• Maybe in their wildest dreams (6 minutes): Sculptor Steve Varner goes back to doing a 40-foot Kong that never worked properly, as did the huge Kong hand that was widely used in the film. He also touches on his thoughts on Oscar winner Carlo Rambaldi, who also worked on the film and died in 2012.

• Something about Haywire (6 minutes): Actress Jack O’Hallorhan, who played one of the crew on the Petrox ship, addresses a wide range of topics, including what she thinks is the stubbornness of director John Guillermin and the development of a friendship with Jessica Lange.

• From space to monkeys (5.5 minutes): Here’s a photo effects assistant, Barry Nolan, who came to Hollywood from the aircraft industry (hence the name of the interview). He adds to the “director was not fun to work with” theme, with which, however, he returned King Kong lives, of which he speaks quite little.

• There is a fog bank (6.5 minutes): The last interview is with Bill Kronick, director of the second unit. He discusses some interesting stuff, such as the Langen he found and the demand that De Laurentiis and Guillermin review his work, how they did the fog bank shots, the problems they had with the 40-foot robotic cell, and what happened to make the big monkey fall out of the World Trade Center .

Four picture galleries, seven TV commercials, three radio commercials and two theater trailers round out this dish.


On a disc that includes a TV version of the film, the main attraction is 68 minutes King Kong ’76, a panel discussion from 2016 featuring assistant composer John Barry, Richard Kraft, widow Martha of De Laurentis, author Ray Morton, actor Jack O’Hallorhan, Rick Baker and photographer Richard H. Kline. It’s a wide-ranging discussion about the film, aided by the fact that the participants had just watched a special show at the Aero Theater in Los Angeles, so their memories had been updated a bit.

The second album also features a collection of intros and commercial buffers used when NBC was released King Kong over two nights in September 1978.

Flickering myth rating – Movie: ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★

Brad Cook


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Chasing the Dream: A Beginner’s Guide to Playing Mega Millions top The best of download video from url The best of download video from url Top Gun flight experience