…and if so, what did you think?
I casually asked around our office about this, and was surprised at how many people hadn’t sen it at all, or had only seen bits of it, or had only seen it once.
When I was growing up it was on WOR channel 9 in New York all the time, usually on Million Dollar Movie, often twice in a row. Later, they broadcast it, along with Son of Kong and Mighty Joe Young, on Thanksgiving, because they couldn’t compete with the parades and Football that ran on the big stations. After the cut scenes were restored around 1970, the film showed up again at art houses. With the appearance of cable TV, it filled the inexhaustable maw of programming. Then it showed up when VHS became available. It was colorized and broadcast, then released on VHS, then on DVD.
It figures as a cultural icon – the big ape atop the Empire State Building, or holding blonde Fay Wray in one hand. The release of remakes in 1976 and 2005 brought re-showings of the original. For cyin’ out loud, they even made an awful sequel with Linda Hamilton.
So I was surprised to find out how little the film was viewed where I work, especially given that I’m in a highly technical field, which tends to have more than its share of geeks. And this isn’t strictly a n age thing – there are older folks who hadn’t seen it either, although this does seem more likely to be younger folks who haven’t watched the orighinal Kong.
So – who hasn’t seen the 1933 Kong all the way through, even once?
I’ve seen it, but it was a challenge to do so. As part of my self-imposed Mandatory Movie challenge, I sought out every movie on IMDB’s top 250 list (then) and the various AFI top 100 lists.
King Kong was a bitch to trick down. I found a well-worn VHS copy (used) at Eide’s Entertainment in Pittsburgh. Of course, a few years later, when the Peter Jackson movie came out, the original Kong finally got a DVD release.
The hardest movies on the list to see were Harold Lloyd’s Safety Last, and the Freshman. But Kong was up there.
I’m 38. Seen it multiple times. TV showings in the 70s and 80s, got the Criterion laserdisc in the 90s, saw it a few times in revival theaters in the early 2000s, and got the DVD box set when it was released (tin box, paper goodies, and individually cased copies of King Kong, Son of Kong, and Mighty Joe Young).
Seen it and loved it. I’m only 26, but my local Hollywood Video (RIP) had a pretty good selection of classic movies on both VHS and DVD, and I remember renting this one several times. I think the first time I rented it, I watched it five times, once a day for each day that the rental was good for. Great movie.
I’m in the “only once” camp; I saw it as a teenager after the Jeff Bridges/Jessica Lange remake came out and I was terribly disappointed. (I was in love with ol’ Jeff for years after that and still have a weakness for scientists with long hair :p)
Anyway, at the time I had a typical teen view that it was horribly outdated and hokey, and I couldn’t stand the scenes on the island where Kong fought the giant snakes, etc. Also, the portrayal of the natives was distracting.
I wouldn’t mind seeing it again with the more sophisticated view of earlier filmmaking that now possess. I’m sure I would appreciate it a lot more.
the bolded part is a surprise to me. How long before 2005 was this? Most video stores possessed copies of the VHS version. The DVD didn’t come out until 2005, but it was available after that. It’s got to be on Netflix. I’d be very surprised if services like Comcast didn’t have it in their library. There must have been a zillion copies available through the internet.
I’ve seen it several times. But I think you’re right that it’s harder to accidentally see that sort of film these days. More channels, more focused channels, lead people away from “I wonder what’s on” viewing.