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"King Kong" 1933 - The Original

Event title "King Kong" 1933 - The Original
Beginning Date Saturday April 28th, 2018 PM 7:00
Ending Date Saturday April 28th, 2018 PM 9:15
Location Loew's Jersey Theatre
Contact Colin Egan
Description "King Kong" 1933 Starring Fay Wray, Robert Armstrong & Bruce Cabot. Directed by Ernest B. Schoedsack & Merian C. Cooper. Musical Score by Max Steiner 104 min., B&W. Screened in 35mm (with some restored elements shown digitally)**

Part of Kong-A-Thon at the Loew's: ALL 3 "King Kong" movies on one day.

Admission - One Film: $8 Adults / $6 Kids & Seniors; Two Films: $14 / $10; All Three Films: $20 / $15

Part of the reason for "Kong's" success is that the story deftly merges action and horror not just with romance but something even more unexpected: a re-casting of beauty and the beast, with it's undertow of desire and impossible longing. So "King Kong" has something for everyone. On top of that, at least as far as the original film is concerned, Willis O'Brien's stop-motion animation was ground breaking, as were the techniques used to combine special effects with live action. People literally had never seen anything like it before. But most importantly, the effects perfectly corresponded with the story to give Kong a personality. He isn't the mad-dog monster so familiar in many of the 1950s "big bug"-type sci-fi horror films. He has thoughts and emotions that are not just implied in the narrative, but shown in the special effects' extraordinary rendering of gestures and facial movements. Kong's moments of fear, curiosity, pain, and occasional goofiness give him a sympathetic, ultimately tragic dimension that makes him much more than a monster; he's a being you actually empathize with. And the original cast was a perfect ensemble: Fay Wray, who's screaming in the movie became the stuff of legend, is still the epitome of frightened but resolute heroins. Robert Armstrong as the bombastic movie maker who leads the expedition that finds Kong, brings just the right amount of ham to a role that could easily have devolved to camp. And Bruce Cabot plays an appealing hero with his feet planted reassuringly on the floor. To top it all off, Max Steiner composed what is arguably the first true film score.

The original "King Kong" was made before the implementation of Hollywood's notorious Production Code, which took a dim view of sexual innuendo and certain depictions of violence, so for Kong's re-release after the Code took hold, some scenes had to be cut. For decades it was thought that the excised scenes were lost. Then in the late 1960's, 16mm versions of some of the cuts were found and eventually added in, but with noticeably poorer quality, to 35mm distribution prints. In the 1980's a 35mm print in good condition that contained many of the cut scenes was found in Great Britain. Finally in 2005, after a world wide search for the best surviving sources of as many cut scenes as could be found, Warner Brothers carried out an extensive, all-digital restoration, returning "King Kong" to near-mint condition. The only major scene still missing is one in which a giant spider eats members of the expedition; it was cut not for the Code, but by because Director Cooper felt it distracted from the main narrative; there is no known surviving motion picture film element of this scene, just a few stills. All of the restored scenes will be included in the screening at the Loew's.

If few other films have held the enduring appeal of the original "King Kong", it was inevitable that Hollywood would want to produce a re-make -- actually, two re-makes, so far.

**No 35mm print was struck of the seminal 2005 restoration which used newly re-discovered 35mm footage to restore scenes cut for re-release in 1938 in order to meet strictures of the Production Code. This means all 35mm prints date from an earlier restoration attempt, and contain scenes taken from 16mm elements, which are of a lesser visual quality. We plan to begin in 35mm, changeover to digital (with no interruption to the presentation) for the restored scenes, and change back to 35mm for the bulk of the presentation. FOL has done this before with other titles, but if rehearsal proves this technique will not be successful with this film, we will present the restored digital version in its entirety.
Categories Art & Entertainment
Last Modified Thursday April 12th, 2018
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