The Missing Link Reviews

The Making of King Kong

by Orville Goldner & George E. Turner. Barnes & Co. Paperback. 288 pages. Out of Print.

King Kong (1933)

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 Kong (1933).
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.

King 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 here