King Kong: The History of a Movie Icon from Fay Wray to Peter Jackson

Ray Morton, Author . Applause $19.95 (349p) ISBN 978-1-55783-669-4

Script magazine columnist Morton, who views King Kong as "an enduring cultural icon," was captivated at age eight by the giant gorilla, and his "Kong -mania went into overdrive" with the 1976 Dino De Laurentiis version. In an effort to survey all feature films in which Kong appears, Morton interviewed surviving cast and crew members, visited archives and trekked to film locations, documenting everything from ape suits, budget woes and optical effects to "Kongs That Never Were." The lengthy opening chapter recaps the making of the 1933 film in exhaustive detail, illustrated with dramatic conceptual art and test shots; an equal amount of space is given to the 1976 remake. Shorter chapters review "The Son of Kong," "King Kong vs. Godzilla," "King Kong Escapes" and "King Kong Lives." Peter Jackson's forthcoming version gets only 14 pages, but fans dazzled by this book's 100 color and b&w illustrations (storyboards, stills, production art, collectibles) and comprehensive coverage of past Kongs won't complain. (Dec.)

Reviewed on: 11/07/2005
Release date: 11/01/2005
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