In 1933, Merian C. Cooper, Ernest Schoedsack, and Willis O'Brien created more than movie magic. King Kong is a pop-cultural icon and a central part of American mythology. But more than just another "Beauty and the Beast" tale, Kong Unbound also allows us to examine such themes as:
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George R. R. Martin, Raymond E. Feist, Poul Andersen, Harry Turtledove, Terry Pratchett, Robin Hobb, Ursula Le Guin, Orson Scott Card, Terri Windling.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
Foreword: Kong Reverie
I'm here to praise Kong because it influenced me for most of my life, and when Dino De Laurentiis' man in the ape suit appeared, my rage could not be concealed. Instead of a virgin beauty, they depicted an unclad lady of the night with not a single virtue as cover-up. I dubbed it "The Turkey That Attacked New York."
When I was sixteen, my dream was to re-film Kong, providing it with color, which had just appeared at that time; I wanted to see those lovely monsters portrayed in vivid hues. Beyond that, there is no reason to change the perfection of Merian C. Cooper's screenplay.
Kong's perfection is its expectations, its feelings of apprehension from the very start. This peaks when during the ship's voyage Carl Denham directs Ann Darrow to stare at the empty sky and then shriek with terror. From there on, scene following scene, the film builds to the appearance of Kong himself, and then Kong dominates the action to the finale.
Willis O'Brien's animation has never been equaled. When you consider that it was created in 1932, when most modern technologies were unavailable, some of the film's scenes are totally astonishing, such as when Carl Denham's men try to cross a log bridge and Kong lifts the log and shakes the men free to fall to their deaths.
The whole thing has a perfection that I, as a screenwriter, can only admire, for I have seen the film dozens of times in the seventy years since its initial screening.
One of the great nights of my life occurred twenty years ago at the fiftieth anniversary of the premiere of King Kong. Ray Harryhausen, the world's greatest living animator, attended with me in a yellow Packard limousine. And these two boys -- for that's what we still are -- rolled up in front of Grauman's Chinese Theatre and were twelve years old again.
There in the forecourt was a huge Kong model. We leaped out of the limo and ran into Kong's embrace. At that moment Fay Wray burst from the crowd and ran to hug and kiss us. This energy and this exultation describes how Kong has continued to affect our lives.
With its casting, writing, and direction, you have a film that will continue to be screened to the end of this century and beyond.
The peak in our lives occurred last year when Ray Harryhausen took Fay Wray to the top of the Empire State Building and once more declared his love, and our love, for this dear woman.
Kong will prevail far into the future and I, as his defender, will be there to the last.
Los Angeles, March 2005
Foreword: "Kong Reverie" copyright © 2005 by Ray Bradbury.
Copyright © 2005 Universal Studios Licensing LLLP.
Universal Studios' King Kong movie © Universal Studios, Kong The 8th
Wonder of the World™ Universal Studios. All Rights Reserved.
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