Kiss the Hairy Ass of King Kong 1976

Hey, man, I’m as surprised as you.

King Kong is an awesome movie. Not the so-called 1933 classic. Not the bloated effort from Peter Jackson in 2005. I’m talking the groovy, oil crises referencing, 1976 version with the afro-sporting natives and a very-leggy Jessica Lange.

It’s the balls. Forty-foot tall gorilla balls with extra hair on ’em.

I’m not going to expect you to take my word for it, even though I’ve studied all three of these films as closely as I studied Uma Thurman’s perfect cans in Dangerous Liaisons.

It takes big, hairy 1970s balls to claim “originality” here.

No. I shall prove my assertion through science. A little something I call The Angry Method™. I’d be more specific with the details, but it requires a lot of math, and quite frankly, if you’re reading The Angry Czeck, math isn’t exactly your forte.

Trust me, it’s better that I do your thinking. Feel free to utilize the Angry Method when debating a clergyman, soothsayer, congressman or drunken relative. Don’t use it on an actual math or science quiz.

Hero Factor
This is where King Kong ’76 puts the dynamite pimp-slap on the pale facsimiles masquerading as King Kong movies. When you stack them up, it’s not even close. King Kong ’33 featured Bruce Cabot, a man with the acting style of a doorknob with twice the charisma. “Hey…I guess I love you,” he tells Ann Darrow with the same passion one usually reserves for licking a postage stamp.

King Kong ’05 stars Adrian Brody. Yeah, I like Adrian Brody in The Pianist. Why? Because he looks like a freaking pianist, that’s why. A pianist with a really enormous nose. It’s quite possible that Brody was cast because he was the only actor available who could out-nostril King Kong.

Meanwhile, the mighty Jeff Bridges helms King Kong ’76. Not only does he sport a bitch’in 70s beard, but he’s full of 70s style chutzpah, too. Why, when he’s not threatening to lead “the kids” in burning down gas stations, he’s putting the moves on the only girl aboard a ship full of horny sailors…and succeeding!

ADVANTAGE: King Kong 1976

Chick Factor
King Kong “purists” are always stuffing Fay Wray down our throats as if she were Meyrl Streep. The only person on the set Wray out-acts on King King ’33 is the fat native woman in the coconut bra, and that might be a tie. Even the chunk of clay and yak hair that plays Kong has more thespian chops than Wray, who brings little to the role outside of screaming, running, and putting up with Bruce Cabot’s weird idea of romance.

Seventy years later, I was all excited because Naomi Watts got the female lead in King Kong ’05, and she doesn’t mind showing off her hoots. After watching her juggle computer-generated rocks in KK05, I realized that maybe Watts should stick with the lesbian topless scenes.

Jessica Lange, however, is worth crushing a bunch of wall-building natives under your giant hairy feet. Legs, boobs, hair, boobs, legs, boobs, the kid has it all. Plus, Lange’s 70s chutzpah trumps Watts’ phony 30s moxie any day. “Eat me, you chauvinistic pig ape!” Lange shouts. Plus, just for an awesome bonus, she rewards us with a crackerjack 70s name, “Dwan.” Who in the hell is named Dwan? Jessica Lange in King Kong 1976, that’s who.

ADVANTAGE: King Kong 1976

Villain Factor
You know how unfair this is? King Kongs ’33 and ‘05 are so weak and sorry, they don’t even have a real villain, except maybe gravity, which always makes a crappy villain. If anything, the bad guy in KK33 is, get this, King Kong! Thank you, 1930s.

What KK33 and KK05 do share are dueling versions of Carl Denham, the maverick filmmaker who discovers that a big monkey restrained in “chrome steel chains” brings you more bank than a monkey on the silver screen.

Jack Black plays the King Kong ’05 version of Carl Denham. I loved Black in School of Rock. Yes. School of Rock. That’s a good Jack Black movie. (Hint hint). But you got to hand it to Black, he gives it his all in KK05, but not all the eyebrow arching in the world is going to improve Peter Jackson’s overstuffed dialogue.

The dialogue is even stuffer for Denham in King Kong ’33, but Robert Armstrong makes the script his bitch. “Confound this fog!” Armstrong laments. Confound indeed! Armstrong’s version of Carl Denham may be a chimp-knapping, native bullying, Bruce Cabot befriending bastard, but you know that at least he brought the good Scotch.

As good as Armstrong is, he’s little-to-no match for the mighty Charles Grodin, who lets his menacing 70s mustache do all the acting he needs. Grodin plays the disappointingly monikered Fred Wilson (Why not Maxwell Steel?), who sports a mouthful of massive teeth rivaled only by fellow 70s great Jimmy Carter. Grodin is awesome because he’s a corporate lackey who lets nothing get him down. Well, at least not until he is squished into the ground by 70s King Kong. But then, nobody is perfect.

ADVANTAGE: King Kong 1976

The Special Factor
All three Kongs represent the very best in special effects for their respective eras of filmmaking. But let’s face it, King Kong ’33 looked like somebody filmed it with a camera phone, a couple cans of Play Doh and a fist-full of GI Joes. And, let’s not forget that it’s shot in black and white. Lame!

It’s quite the opposite for the 2005 version, where the latest in computer graphics are employed to stunning effect. Like most SFX movies, KK05 succeeds in the details. I love how Kong and his dino-foes are always hounded by flying insects buzzing around their heads. Peter Jackson may know nothing about basic filmmaking principles like pacing and editing, but he sure as hell knows how to make digital gorilla-hair bristle. I give him that.

But what makes KK76 superior to the lesser Kongs is imagination and innovation. Some uninformed novices point to movies like Star Wars as the 1970s best representative for special effects. But those with wisdom know that the title belongs to King Kong 1976, fool! Check out the huge animatronics arm! How about the gnarly snake thing Kong wrestles? And don’t tell me you didn’t dig that groovy, LSD-inspired leap Kong made from one World Trade Center tower to the other. No choppy Claymation or soulless CGI here, folks! Just rubber tubing and dudes in monkey suits. And you know what? It works, bro!

ADVANTAGE: King Kong 1976

Jungle Native Factor
This is the one area where King Kong ’33 drops palms on the Angry Method. The original natives of Skull Mountain are some cool cats, man. They got The Monkey Dance, the coconut bras, the spears, the drums, the crazy witchdoctor – basically everything you want and demand out of prehistoric natives. Best yet, these guys have an actual society. They live in huts, some of them are fat, and when King Kong starts some trouble, these dudes are tossing spears like Yard Jarts.

Meanwhile, the natives on Peter Jackson’s Skull Island are full of disgusting genetic defects and appear to live mostly on fish carcasses and rocks. Give KK05 points for making the natives scary bad-asses, but when Kong is hurling sailors like tequila shots later on, the natives just disappear. Hey, way to step up, guys.

The Skull Island natives of KK76 have their moments. For example, they know how to beat the hell out of a drum made out of a log. And I love the native chicks during the marriage ceremony – it’s like they all smoked a King-size bag of island grass! Chill out, man! Kong is a coming! But in the end, maybe these natives are a little too laid back. I like my natives restless.

ADVANTAGE: King Kong 1933

The Snappy Dialogue Factor

Ann Darrow: “I thought you didn’t like woman?”
Jack Driscoll: “Yeah, but you’re not a woman.”
King Kong 1933

Fred Wilson: “Did you ever wonder how Hernando Cortez felt when he discovered the Lost Treasure of the Incas?”
Jack Prescott: “That wasn’t Cortez; it was Pizarro. And he died flat broke.”
King Kong 1976

Captain Englehorn: “That’s the thing about cockroaches. No matter how many times you flushed them down the toilet, they always crawl back up the bowl.”
Carl Denham: “Hey buddy, I’m out of the bowl. I’m drying off my wings and trekking across the lid.”
King Kong 2005

I’d allow you to draw your own conclusion, Chief, but quite frankly I don’t trust you to make the correct decision.

ADVANTAGE: King Kong 1976

The Giant Monkey Factor
You watch a King Kong movie for one thing, pal, and that’s big ass monkeys. If you get a little acting and skin in the bargain, well that’s just gravy.

I imagine seeing King Kong in the ancient days of 1933 was pretty damn exciting, but keep in mind that it was during the middle of the Great Depression. The audience just came off a bowl of free soup and an apple core they fished out of a furnace. They’d cheer anything – even a hunk of clay with horse hair glued on it. And some of those Kong close-ups were just damn goofy, even when he was chomping on natives. In KK33’s favor, he did wrestle a snake with legs, a creature so anatomically strange that it would have had Darwin himself converting to Intelligent Design.

There seems to be more purpose in the 2005 version of King Kong. His is a sad and lonely monkey life, his only reward for keeping Skull Island’s crime rate in check is the occasional offering of a native who’s too small to eat or seduce. If he’s kicking a dinosaur’s ass, it’s probably not personal – just an outward demonstration of his frustration towards society. Also, KK05 moves like a monkey, even when he’s slipping around a frozen pond in Central Park. That has to count for something, right?

Wrong, fool! There’s nothing cute nor anatomically correct about King Kong! If Alec Baldwin were 19 feet taller, he’d make a good King Kong, because King Kong is man at his most perfect – huge, hairy, communicatively limited, exhibiting perfectly erect posture, and horny for hot blond chicks that are way out of his league. King Kong ’76 masters all of these traits. And while KK33 failed to earn his blonde’s sympathy, KK76 had leggy Jessica Lange whipped into shape by the end of the movie. Had Kong survived his fall off the Twin Towers, Lange would have served him a five-course breakfast the next morning – wearing an apron and nothing else!

ADVANTAGE: King Kong 1976

The Intangibles Factor

Admittedly, Skull Island in King Kong 1976 looks suspiciously like the executive producer’s back yard. (Advantage, KK33) Peter Jackson’s vision of Depression era New York is fun to watch Kong smash. (Advantage KK05) Digging a big pit and pumping it full of knockout gas is a way better plan than tossing a bottle of chloroform at Kong’s face. (Advantage KK76) World Trade Center is significantly taller (or, at least it was) than the Empire State Building. (Advantage KK76) KK33 fights one T-Rex, KK76 fights a snake made out of a Hefty sack, and KK05 fights three T-Rexes at once. (Advantage KK05).

In conclusion, I find it appropriate that King Kong 1976 was released during the nation’s bicentennial – what a terrific gift to America! And it’s a gift that keeps giving to you, if you’d just monkey up and accept it.



One response to “Kiss the Hairy Ass of King Kong 1976

  1. Obviously since no one cares about Jessica Lange’s boobs but me and you, I gotta say, excuse me: they were real and she was a treat. King Who What Where? Yeah. That’s what I’m sayin’, too.

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