Review: 4K UHD King Kong
4K UHD Blu-ray, Blu-ray, DVD & Digital: King Kong (1976)
I can remember my dad taking me to see King Kong in 1976, and on popping this new 4K UHD disc into the player, I suddenly had another memory, and that was even at the tender age of 11, I was very annoyed by the blonde woman in the film.
Of course I didn’t know Jessica Lange then, and King Kong was her first film. I’m pleased to say 11yr old Tina still feels the same, not Jessica herself (how could anyone hate Ms Lange?), but rather the character.
Oh yes, this is the 1970’s King Kong, along with all the stereotypes, from sultry blondes, to cleavage staring, ruthless, hard drinking men, oh and let’s not forget the black ‘natives’ in all the appropriate feathery beaded gear.
The story is ‘updated’ for the 70s. This time is about the quest to find oil, with Charles Grodin playing the (a little bit?) evil Fred Wilson, an executive of the Petrox Oil Company, and the magnificently bearded and long haired Jeff Bridges as Jack Prescott, a primate paleontologist (though he doesn’t actually seem to know much about them).
Jack sneaks onto the expedition’s vessel and tries to thwart the voyage to the mysterious ‘Oil’ Island, telling them a story about a big ‘thing’ that roams the place. But where’s the girl? Oh here she is, floating in a raft, in a very revealing evening dress and look…she still has her lipgloss on. Yes, this is Dwan (ya what?). Dawn but with the letters jumbled (oh okay). Ms Lange spends the rest of the film leaping and frolicking in extremely skimpy outfits, doing an almost Marilyn Monroe impersonation, but basically being ‘the girl’ or even – ‘The sex’.
We all know the Kong story. They get to the Island (I could describe the ‘natives’ but I think you can imagine) and the girl ends up being a sacrifice, the ‘bride’ of Kong.
Oh Kong, and we’re back in the day of men in suits and large animatronic constructions…watch out for that huge hairy hand Jessica!. You really appreciate the work that goes into the new Planet of the Apes films with the technology we have now.
Kong acts through his eyes, his big brown horny eyes, because there is no doubt that despite the size problem, Kong wants to fuck Dwan, as Dwan seems to be constantly writhing around in a ‘sexy’ way, on Kong’s GIANT mechanical hand. It is as creepy as hell, even now I found myself squirming, in a yucccchhhhh way.
A critical flop yet commercial success on release, this 70s Kong is a true product of its time; sexist, awkward, bit racist…. And Mr 60MW loved it. Me, not so much.
I’ve always really enjoyed this version of King Kong. Not as much as the 1933 original of course, but definitely more than the other versions that have been made.
Looks and sounds better than ever in this 4K release, keeping the film grain but enhancing the sharpness and brightness to reveal more detail, as well as the colours popping that bit more too…Dave.
4K UHD SPECIAL FEATURES:
Extended TV broadcast cut (unrestored)
BLU-RAY SPECIAL FEATURES:
Audio commentary with film historian Ray Morton
Audio commentary with actor and makeup artist Rick Baker
Interview with Barry Nolan
Interview with Bill Kronick
Interview with Scott Thaler and Jeffrey Chernov
Interview with David McGiffert and Brian E. Frankish
Interview with Jack O’Halloran
Interview with Steve Varner
Now restored in 4K for the first time, STUDIOCANAL will re-release the film across 4K UHD Blu-ray, Blu-ray, DVD and Digital as well as a 4K UHD Steelbook from December 5th.
New artworks have been created for the Home Entertainment releases by graphic designer Sophie Bland, and for the 4K UHD Steelbook release by Francesco Francavilla. The 4K UHD will include a limited-edition poster of Sophie Bland’s artwork.
Review by Tina from a disc kindly supplied by Studiocanal via Fetch Publicity.