Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Adventure film 1: King Kong (1933)

An hour's discussion of the 1933 RKO classic, King Kong. Click the image below to listen to the podcast (21.8 MB, 1 hour).

Recorded Sunday 8 May 2011, edited by Murray Ewing.

Notes & Errata: Merian C. Cooper's direction and production partner was Ernest B. Schoedsack and Ernest's wife, the scriptwriter, was Ruth Rose. The name of the other Kong-descendant film I couldn't remember that involved Ray Harryhausen was Mighty Joe Young (another Cooper/O'Brien collaboration).

Purchase the DVD from Amazon UK: King Kong (1933)


  1. A very enjoyable hours chat about a favourite film. I've nothing startling to add to your discussion on the film, I think you summed up most things perfectly well. Although you mentioned the recent remake I'd have liked to have heard your thoughts on the 76 remake with Jeff Bridges. The coming podcasts cover many of my favourites and there are only two films which I don't know overly well which I shall try and re-acquiant myself with shortly.

  2. Thanks very much, Graeme :-) I felt I couldn't really comment on the Jeff Bridges/Jessica Lange Kong as the last time I saw it was when it came out - or within a couple of years of that, anyway. I am curious to see it again though.

  3. Really enjoyed that, guys - sign of a good podcast I think is when is when you're dying to join in yourself which I was.

    You hit all the points I'd've made and gave me a few bits & bobs to look out for.

    Totally agree with you about that poor woman that Kong steals from her bed and then drops - horrific! That scene was either cut from the print for a long time or cut from TV versions if I recall correctly.

  4. I must listen more to adsorb the full hour, but really enjoyed both of your conversations into King Kong. Having seen it many times myself, you covered some of the same thoughts I had on it.

    I do love a story that is well paced, and builds up to key events. And also well-written. I think censorship did force writers to be more inventive in writing more intelligently. But there was censorship in Kong, but can't recall all the details at the moment.

    The 'clothes removing scene' mentioned with Kong and Darrow was actually edited out, and re-edited back in at some point. Maybe someone knows if the original audiences in some parts of the world never saw that scene, but I do recall seeing Kong many years ago with that scene missing.(Recall Turner Films replacing it, but I could be wrong.)

    I only watched a bit of the new King Kong, so must give it another try. I liked your comments on the native village, so really peaked my interest. (I'm awful at not watching as many modern films, these days, for many reasons, but love watching more of the classics.)

    Interesting too about films that are on 'all-time classic film list' but people have not seen. There are ones on an American Top Classic 100 list I have not seen, and even if it shows on TV, for some reason, I tune it off. But the last few years, I'm trying to see as many classic films as possible. I think maybe all classic films should have at least one go through.

    You mentioned Gone with the Wind and the burning of the King Kong gates. Gone with the Wind is a film I've seen too many times. I think, like when I saw Chaplin's 'City Lights' for the first time and 'Wind', I saw both of them in a classic film theatre, on 35MM film, big screen, all back in the 1970s. Maybe the magic of seeing those films in that fashion is what stuck, because the characters all haven't. (Still love Chaplin's but my thoughts on 'Gone with the Wind' as changed a great deal overtime, and if I watch, it's with a totally different eye now.)

    But the King Kong gates was the first scene filmed for 'Gone with the Wind', as English actress Vivien Leigh watched, before she was even hired to play O'Hare. It was burned to make room for new sets. The fire footage was used in the burning of Atlanta scene near the middle of 'Gone with the Wind'. It doesn't have Leigh in the footage, but was the end of the King Kong gates. For that reason alone, I find it a sad scene...

    Looking forward to your next podcast. After seeing both your works over the years, great to hear both of you together. (I got 'She' on order -never seen it- and doesn't show on the classic film channels here, so hope it makes it here before you 'chat' about it.)

    Also, all your King Kong chat got me wanting to see Merian C. Cooper's 1949, Mighty Joe Young, again. Only saw part of it once. So must give it another go.

  5. Thank you, Lee - glad you enjoyed it (especially coming from a more seasoned podcaster as yourself, if you don't mind me calling you 'more seasoned'!)

    I didn't know that scene had been previously cut out. It's funny, I think as a kid seeing it I wouldn't have thought twice about it - just another thrilling scene! As an adult you can relate more easily to the reality and horror of it, thus it's more disturbing. Perhaps it should be left in for 'before the watershed' viewing, but excised for adult viewing!

  6. Thanks for your detailed comment, Linda! I really should see 'Gone With The Wind' sometime - I think it's just the subject matter that doesn't interest me, but it's a classic for good reason, I'm sure.

    'Mighty Joe Young' was the name of the Harryhausen Kong film Icouldn't think of - thanks, I'll add that to the Errata.

  7. Hi, I really enjoyed your podcast and will definately be listening to the rest of the series.

  8. Thanks very much, Big Ape :-) Really pleased you're enjoying it.