DATELINE: Still Kicking 85 Years Later
If you want to be enchanted and taken back to childhood, the little documentary on the history of King Kong is pure escape and delight.
Kong! What an actor. They literally don’t make them like him anymore.
A bunch of Hollywood’s behind-the-scenes creative people were most influenced to go into the artistic end of movies because of their experience with the 1933 stop-action classic that still amazes and thrills nearly 85 years later.
Oh, yes, they have clips from all the major rip-offs and poor productions, which are somewhat enjoyable, but all the subsequent Kongs were dwarfed by the original.
There are anecdotes about people knowing Fay Wray over the years—and what a devotee she was to Kong, ever faithful to the ape who loved her.
Peter Jackson’s 2005 remake follows most closely as an act of love, updated, to pay homage to the Merriam C. Cooper version. The film omits the latest Kong movie called Skull Island, which features some interesting actors, all willing to play co-star to the big monkey.
There is no real answer as to why Kong remains beloved, despite the carnage he creates in New York for Carl Denham, the hilarious Robert Armstrong’s legendary performance as a rapacious movie producer.
Kong holds up as the eighth wonder of the world because the filmmakers managed to give a puppet all the range of emotions and powerful communication skills that are often missing in most action stars.
Long Live King Kong is certainly not the best documentary of the year, but it is one to most likely give you a smile of long-ago fun when monster movies defied your kid’s understanding of special effects and gave you mesmerizing appreciation for film.