King Kong 1976 Movie Review

Written by Barney Buckley


As we already know King Kong is one the most popular monsters out there today next to Godzilla.  King Kong in this version came out in 1976 and was produced by Dino De Laurentiis and directed by John Guillermin.  This is a remake of the original classic they came out in 1933 it is about a giant ape like monster not an oversized gorilla is classified as an ape like monster.

Featuring special effects by Carlo Rambaldi, who is the actual creator that created the 40 foot giant robot King Kong.  It stars Jeff Bridges, Charles Grodin, and Jessica Lange in her first film role. The remake’s screenplay was written by Lorenzo Semple Jr., based on the 1933 screenplay by James Ashmore Creelman and Ruth Rose, from the original idea by Merian C. Cooper and Edgar Wallace.

The film was the fifth highest grossing film of 1977 according to box office statistics compiled during its release by Variety, although decades later Box Office Mojo published a list indicating it was the 7th highest grossing film of 1977. This film is the only one in the King Kong film series to feature the World Trade Center towers rather than the Empire State Building.

This particular movie cost USD25 million just to remake the original classic that came out in 1933.  They also created an actual 44 robot giant a waxy walks and is a little derpy in the eyes and smiles a lot.  On a keynote there are some elements about this movie I do like.  King Kong in this movie look very good although not as accurate as the movie remake in 2005 that is the most realistic as they use an actual silverback gorilla in 2005.  In this movie King Kong is an interpretation of a gorilla it is said that in 1933 and 1976 this particular apes is called an ape like monster not an actual apes because honestly there are no apes that are over 40 feet tall.

This particular ape is very muscular in stature and is the creation of makeup artist Rick Baker who does an impressive job on this creature.  The jungle scenes in this movie were very good for the special effects at this time.

Now we are going to talk about certain things that happened during the film and some trivia based on the film.  Four shots of King Kong holding Jessica Lange they created a gigantic hydraulic gorilla arm was 6 feet across weighed 1, 650 pounds.  A little-known fact about this arm is that when the hand fully extended outward and locked into position as it broke and it stayed frozen for up to a week.  Something else a lot of people do not know is during an interview that happened in 2008 with the David Letterman show Meryl Streep revealed that she auditioned for the role of Dwan and was turned down by Dino De Laurentiis as he felt she was not beautiful enough and mentioned that she was too ugly and spoke this in his native tongue Italian not knowing that Meryl Streep could understand Italian.

As usual when it comes to tabloids they super stretch what seems to be the truth it is said that they believe that Jeff Bridges and Jessica Lange had an on set affair which was later revealed as false as both stars are happily married at this time and have been friends making this film.  Universal Pictures had originally planned to make a more faithful remake of King Kong 1933 to be entitled “the legend of King Kong” which was going to be a.  Piece set in the 1930s.  However they decided to back out and go ahead with the modern remake of King Kong 1976.

There were employees of the Empire State building that expressed their displeasure at the producers for their decision to stage the remake climax at the World Trade Center by doing this they picketed the 102nd floor of the Empire State building dressed in monkey suits.  This is something I did not know.  It is a little-known fact that King Kong’s home was never referred to as Skull Island in this version of the film although it is referred to passingly as “The Island of the Skull” here is something I find quite interesting Peter Cullen who does the voice of optimist prime and the transformers did the actual vocals for King Kong’s roar and he strained his throat so badly that he coughed up blood in the recording studio.

Now let us talk about that mechanical 40 foot beast this particular beast is the largest mechanical creature ever created not since Godzilla 1985 when they created a cybot of Godzilla which stood over 15 feet tall.  This giant version of King Kong was constructed with 3.5 tons of aluminum that created the frame of the monster.  It was covered with rubber and 1012 pounds of Argentinian horse tails hair.  Sewn into place individually and this was a time-consuming process.  There is 3100 feet of hydraulic hose and 4500 feet of electrical wiring within this robot.  It was controlled by 20 separate operators and the entire robot cost a total of USD1.7 million to create.

Rick Baker the makeup artist who does a lot of sci-fi monster type movies is the actual person that wore four King Kong suits that were created just for this movie.  It is a known fact that the muscular stature beneath the suit was made of silicone-filled muscles and that is where we got the muscular features of this King Kong.

Enough about the trivia it is now time for me to give you my opinion on the movie.  The efforts that were put into this movie were expensive for this time as King Kong looks amazing in this movie however if you see the next movie were King Kong lives comes out 10 years later the suit is so horribly different and cheap looking that it does not measure up to the original classic here.  I especially like the acting Jessica line looks absolutely amazing in this movie and the scene were King Kong fights the snake while in today’s technology is quite obvious the snake was not real but it was cool to see him fighting us a snake as not been seen since the original classic in 1933 and also it was seen in the movie King Kong Escapes they came out in 1967 from the Toho company he also fought a version of a snake.  So there are constant reminders and comparisons of many King Kong type movies that has been out since 1976.

This particular movie I liked a because it gave it a different twist instead of him climbing the Empire State building like he did the original and in the new one which came out in 2005 they decided to have him climb the World Trade Center and also mentioned there are posters out there with King Kong standing on both World Trade Center’s would have been very appropriate for the so-called 9/11 attacks by Muslims which I do not want to get into I have my opinions on what happened that day.  The poster itself can be attributed as King Kong being the hero and protecting the World Trade Center where was he on 9/11 when we were attacked LOL.

If you are a King Kong fan or fine King Kong interesting this particular movie you should not be disappointed with unless you are a true aficionado of the original you will find some of the discrepancies in this movie you will not like it, but all in all this is a pretty decent version in my humble opinion of King Kong.  The new one that came out in 2005 there are still some people who do not like the movie simply because it was long or they had their opinions about it I truly love that movie because it was the closest to the original classic that came out in 1933.

Anyway I am going to end this with if you have not seen this movie check it out oh and by the way check out the one I came out 10 years later called “King Kong Lives” this one you will find rather cheesy because now King Kong comes back to life and is on life-support for 10 years and now it is discovered that there is a female Kong and they escape their shelter and hide in the mountains as you will see the suits are like night and day compared to the original 1976 classic anyway enjoy the film.


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