Jackson Going Ape on DVD
We always knew Peter Jackson was a multi-tasker. Now we can add overachiever to the list.
Despite nearly going bananas working round the clock to finish up post-production on his highly anticipated remake of King Kong before its Dec. 14 bow, the Lord of the Rings ringmaster has somehow found the time and energy to lord over a two-disc DVD set of the 1933 original that Warner Home Video is set to unleash on Nov. 22.
Jackson has filmed a two-hour, seven-part feature documentary entitled RKO Production 601: The Making of Kong, the Eighth Wonder of the World that will unearth much of the production history of the black-and-white classic that starred Fay Wray as the Great Ape’s object d’amore.
Among the tantalizing tidbits the doc will cover is the fate of the mysterious “spider pit” scene that was cut from the film before its big premiere in New York and Los Angeles because it was considered too terrifying.
“For years, there has always been speculation, does this footage exist, so we have a piece that actually explains what it was and we do a recreation of it,” George Feltenstein, Warner’s Senior VP overseeing its classic catalog, told the Hollywood Reporter. “For fans of the film, that’s a big, important thing.”
And Jackson certainly counts himself among the film’s fans. Bringing a new appreciation to the monster movie fulfills a lifelong dream for the Oscar-winning director, who credits seeing the original King Kong as a child with inspiring him to monkey around as a teenager with stop-motion animation shorts and become a filmmaker.
The Warner DVD happens to arrive in stores before Jackson’s own update for Universal swings into theaters, but Feltenstein is quick to note the studio has no intention of cross-promoting its rival’s blockbuster.
Among the DVD goodies cineastes will savor are the long-lost frames of Wray at the flick’s climax when she falls from the Empire State building; a bonus documentary by Turner Classic Movies on Kong director and creator Merian C. Cooper; audio commentary featuring archival recordings of the cast and crew; commentary from stop-motion animation legend Ray Harryhausen along with special effects masters Ken Ralston and Terry Moore; and a trailer gallery of Coooper’s other movies.
Two versions of the DVD will go on sale. The first will be a two-disc special edition while the second will package the set in a collectible tin that also includes a 20-page reproduction of the original souvenir program, postcard reproductions of the original one sheets and a mail-in offer for a reproduction of a vintage 27-by-41-inch movie poster.
Additionally, Warner Home Video plans to issue a four-disc collector’s set that packages the special edition Kong along for the first time with two new-to-DVD titles, the sequels The Son of Kong (1933) and Mighty Joe Young (1949).
The man loves his monkey!
Jackson Going Ape on DVD