The Eighth Wonder of the World
I just finished watching the original 1933 King Kong, starring Fay Wray and "King Kong, The Eighth Wonder of the World." It was the culmination of another long search. For some reason, certain movies are really hard to find in Saskatoon, like this one. Anton finally tracked it down at a VHQ, and we rented it and watched it. I had heard so much about the film that I wasn't sure that it would live up to the expectations, I mean it's a movie about a giant ape! But it's also the favourite film of Harry Knowles (webmaster of Ain't It Cool News) and also of Peter Jackson, who is currently filming a big budget version of Kong starring Jack Black, Adrian Brody and Naomi Watts (you can find out lots more at KongIsKing.net). So it was one of those films that I just had to see.
The truth is that it was great. It's first and foremost an adventure film in the vein of Indiana Jones or Tintin, with characters travelling around the world in a great search. The most surprising thing however, is that Kong himself is such a compelling character. Watching the stop motion animation of Willis O'Brian, you can see how they create a personality and mannerisms for Kong. He's endlessly fascinating to watch, and fortunately large chunks of the movie consist of Kong battling various preshistoric beasts on Skull Island. It's also one of those movies that influenced so many films after it. It's interesting watching what from the film would be emulated later. Really interesting stuff.
It's too bad that this film isn't available on DVD yet. It definitely deserves the special edition DVD treatment ala Citizen Kane or Casablanca, because it was one of those defining films. Fortunately, I imagine someone will put one out sometime in the next year before Jackson's new film comes out. I'm pretty excited to see Jackson's film, especially considering the reverence that he has for the original source material, and the fact that he's staying true to the original time period and plot (unlike the disasterous 70s film version starring Jeff Bridges that I had the misfortune of catchingn pieces of on Space one evening). Bring on Christmas 2005!