The long-awaited DVD debut of the original KING KONG (Warner Home Video, $26.99 for special edition or $39.92 for collectors edition) arrives Nov. 22, 2005, looking as great as you might expect of a vintage movie whose negative has long since vanished. Superb contrast and clarity are the result of a DVD production two years in the making, and now we can view the uncensored version in all its terror and glory. As Ray Harryhausen suggests in his commentary, this is the first example of an animated character in a starring role the first modern movie monster.
Meanwhile, the groundbreaking stop motion work of Willis OBrien and innovative miniatures, mattes and other effects wizardry continue to fascinate todays vfx craftsmen. Ken Ralston provides audio commentary and you can spot Ralston, Phil Tippett, Rick Baker, Randy Cook and a host of others in a fascinating feature-length doc, RKO PRODUCTION 601: THE MAKING OF KONG, THE EIGHTH WONDER OF THE WORLD.
In fact, the highlight of the doc is watching Peter Jackson, Richard Taylor and the Weta Workshop crew painstakingly build vintage models, miniatures and mattes in order to recreate the stop motion process and other filmmaking techniques of 32. This has the added advantage of getting the filmmakers in the right state of mind for their new KONG update, which opens Dec. 14 from Universal Pictures.
In addition, Jackson & co. has recreated the legendary Spider Pit sequence (cut before the premiere and presumed lost) as a bonus feature, seamlessly intercutting the new footage with existing footage.
The four-disc collectors edition also includes THE SON OF KONG and MIGHTY JOE YOUNG. Other extras include a TCM doc by Kevin Brownlow on co-director and creator Merian C. Cooper.