Because of how I discovered the classic monster movies and the haphazard way I finally got around to seeing a lot of these films, there are some pretty big holes in my monster-movie-viewing. I've made up for a lot of lost time (like with my binge watching every kaiju film I could get my hands on once I finally watched Godzilla vs. King Kong (dir. Ishirō Honda) a few years ago), but there are still a few gaps.
Like the King Kong-sized gap that I didn't fill until 2013.
That's right. I'd never sat down to watch King Kong (dir. Merian C. Cooper, Ernest B. Schoedsack) front start to finish until I saw it on the big screen at the Hollywood Theatre.
I'll wait a moment to let that sink in.
Kind of crazy, huh? The producer of Monster Kid Radio HADN'T seen King Kong? Well, the thing is, I HAD seen parts of King Kong here and there. I knew about the movie; I knew what happened in it; I'd seen pictures and stills and clips. I suspect what happened when I first started watching these classic monster movies, I stayed pretty close to the Universal monsters, and King Kong wasn't part of that pantheon.
That's since been corrected, of course. I've watched the movie more than once since that 2013 screening . . . from start to finish.
And, wow, isn't it FANTASTIC?
I love these classic monster movies because they're MORE than just movies to me. I can watch these movies, and enjoy them for what they are. But I can also detach myself a little and start looking at things like the production and design, the outlook on society, the portrayal of the mores and tropes of the time. This typically gets me REALLY excited about a movie.
And that not only do I get to do this with King Kong, but I also get to marvel at the groundbreaking stop motion animation.
It's easy to get so involved with that stop motion - and rightfully so - but there's so much more to this film. The music. The performances. The camerawork. It's a motion picture triumph.
Wrapped around one heckuva monster.