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WGUC Reviews

King Kong

King Kong
Modern Library Classics
by Edgar Wallace & Merian C. Cooper

Review by: Craig R. Stafford

Speaking of grand black-and-white moviedom, is there any film that delights the hearts of the young more than the original King Kong? It's Beauty and the Beast as it was intended to be told-with a giant ape, skyscrapers and biplanes. Before the advent of home video, how many times did I watch this on Channel 48? (My long-suffering mother insists that Fay Wray screams no less than 93 times). How many times have I watched and rediscovered this classic since?

I mention this because Modern Library (yes, the imprint of many dead and dusty classics) has issued an edition of King Kong in book form. Undoubtedly, they did so to capitalize on the new theatrical version due on the big screen this month. Yes, it's capitalism at its finest. But before you become
inscensed, I would like to remind you that John Steinbeck's classic fable The Pearl started as a mention in his Log of the Sea of Cortez, then he worked on the screenplay and novel simultaneously-it was never a novel to start with!

I'm not trying to say that in book form, King Kong compares to The Pearl. It doesn't. As a cultural touchstone, Kong, the film, is almost exclusively a visual experience. We watch it, we don't read it. (By the way, color me curious-how many of you have read The Phantom of the Opera?) If you are a Kong fan, why not try rediscovering the big fella in a form least expected: in print! You just may be surprised at what images your mind creates as it merges those printed words with the reflection of memories of the film you have seen so very many times in-and-out of the years.

Your long-suffering mother will undoubtedly be proud you are reading for a change.


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