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King Kong Academy Award Winner! Academy Award Nomination! Academy Award Nomination! 

By Marshall Fine

Before John Hughes claimed the mantle of Hollywood's antichrist, that title was firmly held by producer Dino De Laurentiis, whose middle name may have been "hubris." He vowed that this remake of the 1933 horror classic would be a bigger hit than Jaws and that his Kong would be more sympathetic than the shark. But for all the money he spent on trying to make this monkey look real, the biggest special effect was making Jeff Bridges look like a monkey--and nearly destroying Jessica Lange's acting career before it started. The film was noteworthy mostly for how cheesy the ape looks, though this was one of the first films to be shot at the then-new World Trade Center. Even Charles Grodin, as the villainous promoter, can't get laughs in this idiotic film.

Lord of the Kings

By Patrick Mondout

Reuters is reporting that Lord of the Rings producer Peter Jackson will create yet another remake of King Kong to be released in theatres in December, 2005. Academy Award nominee Naomi Watts, whose breakthrough role was as a struggling actress in David Lynch's Mulholland Drive, will star in the role of Ann Darrow, a successful starlet whose beauty melts the heart of beast. The role was played by Fay Wray in the original and Jessica Lange in the 1976 remake.

Comedic actor Jack Black, recently featured in School of Rock, has signed on to play Carl Denham, the documentary film maker and promoter who brings Kong back to the Big Apple.

With the World Trade Center still a painful memory, it is believed Kong and Darrow will moonlight atop the the same building as in the 1933 original: the Empire State Building. With the collapse of the Towers, the structure is what it was in the 1933 - the tallest building in New York.

Shooting should begin this summer in New Zealand, where Jackson was born.

Academy Awards

King Kong received an Academy Award for Special Achievement Awards (Carlo Rambaldi - Visual Effects, Glen Robinson - Visual Effects, Frank Van Der Veer - Visual Effects). King Kong also received Academy Awards nominations for Cinematography (Richard H. Kline) and Sound (Harry Warren Tetrick, William McCaughey, Aaron Rochin, Jack Solomon).

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FILM FACTS

Buy this VHS movie from Amazon.com! (Click here!)Buy this DVD from Amazon.com! (Click here!)Soundtrack unavailable at Amazon.com - try eBay (see links below)Rated PGNot on an American Film Institute 100 list

Director: John Guillermin

Stars: Jeff Bridges, Charles Grodin, Jessica Lange, John Randolph, René Auberjonois, Julius Harris, Jack O'Halloran, Ed Lauter

Released: December 17, 1976

Availability: DVD VHS


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