Saturday, July 2, 2011


Movies are enjoying an unparalled period of revival. What I mean is that many vintage films have been reintroduced into the market in "restored" and "uncut" versions, such as those found on the razor sharp DVD image disc called Blu-Ray. Others are released with greater fanfare, such as METROPOLIS, which now comes with nearly a half hour of newly-discoverd footage.

"Lost" films continue to surprise film historians and audiences by turning up on a somewhat frequent basis. Films such as the 1910 Edison version of FRANKENSTEIN, once thought gone forever, had again resurfaced, either by accidental discovery, or, in this case, coaxing of a closely-guarded treasure by the last single collector.

The halcyon days of digital film repair and world-wide communications in seconds has not always been the case. Important movie finds were few and far between. In one of those instances, in the early 1970's word got out regarding some missing footage from the greatest giant monster thriller in Hollywood history, KING KONG, had been found, and a new, complete version was at last available. Needless to say, this caused quite a stir in the motion picture community, especially when it was revealed that the missing footage was highly controversial.

Imagine the mistreated, misunderstood giant ape bursting through the gates of his prehistoric jungle prison in thinly-disguised animal heat over the strange, soft, sweet-smelling female thing that he had only just a short while ago ripped most of the clothes off of. Now imagine the poor, tormented beast on a rampage through the village of his worshippers/captors, squishing natives between his toes, chomping on one here, eating one there. Men, women, children alike -- nothing would stand in the way of Kong's lust for Ann Darrow. Imagine his rampage continuing on the streets of New York, killing, maiming, crushing in his mad lust.

While there were a number of scenes in the original prints of KING KONG depicting the savagery that Kong was capable of, it wasn't until the new print allowed the context to show through that fully explained his actions.

Back in the day, ESQUIRE magazine was a highly-regarded and respected magazine of sophisticated culture. It was kind of like PLAYBOY'S older brother who had better manners than showing off the girl-next-door in the buff.

In the September 1971 issue appeared a feature entitled King Kong Was a Dirty Old Man, that told of the search for the missing footage by Janus Films and their subsequent success. What you see here are still sequences from the 5 minutes that was added to the original release print.

1 comment:

Urban Wild said...

She was, after all, meant to be his 'BRIDE!'
(BTW--they are showing the original on TCM next week)


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