The Making of King Kong
by Orville Goldner & George E. Turner. Barnes
& Co. Paperback. 288 pages. Out of Print.
I managed to pick this up for only £6
during one of my trips to Hay-on-Wye and discovered that it gives an unequaled history of
"Production 601" otherwise known as King
Aside from rescuing RKO Studios from near bankruptcy and allowing them to contimue
production until they closed their gates for the last time in 1953, King Kong stands as one of the all too rare "monster movies"
that stay outside of the science-fiction genre.
This book is gloriously detailed in every
way explaining in some depth that the film was initially based on the adventures of
showmen Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack who had previously made GRASS (1925)
based on their excursion to Persia and CHANG (1927) set in Thailand. Cooper and Schoedsack
also make a brief appearance in King Kong as
pilots in one of the planes ordered to bring Kong down from the Empire State Building.
Also touched upon are the many problems faced by the mammoth production; an analysis of The Most Dangerous Game filmed at the same time; a
concise biography of animator Willis O'Brien
who scored similar success with The Lost World
(1925); the inevitable sequels Son of Kong
(1933) and Mighty Joe Young (1949) and the two
curious parodies King Klunk (1933) made by
Universal as an animated "Pooch the Pup" adventure, and the unfinished Lost Island (1935) filmed in 3-colour Technicolor
using marionettes as actors.
Kong still carries a fine reputation today, particularly now that many of the famed
cut sequences including Kong's disrobing of Ann Darrow, (Fay Wray), and shots of Kong eating and crushing unfortunate natives
underfoot, have been restored.
For all, King Kong is a unique experience, and still will be to the new
generations yet to see the film.
This book thankfully does justice to the legend.
Available in the US click