King Kong (1976)

king kong poster 1976 remake movie
7.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 7/10

Interesting modernization

Despite tons spent on visuals, still look weak

 
Movie Info

Movie Name:  King Kong

Studio:  Paramount Pictures

Genre(s):  Action/Adventure/Horror/Romance

Release Date(s):  December 17, 1976

MPAA Rating:  PG

king-kong-1976-crown

Don’t I look sweet in my saucy little Jughead crown?

A search for oil by an oil executive named Fred Wilson (Charles Grodin) leads to a venture to an uncharted island. With a crew including a stowaway photographer named Jack Prescott (Jeff Bridges) and a rescued castaway named Dwan (Jessica Lange). When Wilson discovers giant animals inhabit the island, Dwan is kidnapped by an ape named Kong. A rescue of Dwan leads to the capture of Kong, and a decision by Wilson to take him back to New York City…as King Kong…but nature can’t be contained!

Directed by John Guillermin and produced by Dino De Laurentiis, King Kong was a big budget and big money making film. The movie received mixed to positive reviews and won an award for Best Special Effects (shared with Logan’s Run). It was also nominated for Best Cinematography and Best Sound.

king-kong-1976-jessica-lange-hand-waterfall

Oh King Kong, you always know how to treat a lady!

I grew up with this version of King Kong. I can remember it airing for the first time (or one of the first times) on television and not getting to see all of it…I believe they split it over two nights. I have fond memories of this, but realize that it isn’t the best film. It is long and overdone, but I still have fun watching it.

The movie’s acting is better than the original. It marked the film premiere of Jessica Lange (and she received a Golden Globe for Best Acting Debut). The original film has a very classic, stodgy acting pretty indicative to early films that only converted to talking a few years before its 1933 release. Here, the acting is more natural, but the presentation just isn’t as strong.

king-kong-1976-climing-world-trade-center-twin-towers

Straddling the World Trade Center Towers? You can barely jump between them!

Despite the big money push, this version of King Kong doesn’t have the charm of the original film. This movie threw all it could at King Kong. There was a giant scale model (which ended up barely being used) for shots, but King Kong ended up often being just in a monkey suit…but at least it was designed by effects master Rick Baker and Kong was voiced by Optimus Prime himself Peter Cullen. The promise of the poster of King Kong dramatically straddling the World Trade Center wasn’t realized with a much smaller King Kong in the film…but it was a cool poster.

King Kong’s 1976 outing is impressive, but just not as fun as the original. It is interesting to see the original, see this movie, and then see the 2005 version just to see how the film evolved over time. Every version of King Kong gets me in the end when King Kong falls…This version of King Kong was followed up in 1986 with King Kong Lives.

Related Links:

King Kong (1933)

King Kong (2005)

King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962)

King Kong Escapes (1967)

Kong:  Skull Island (2017)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by

Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn’t afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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