Best “Making Of” Books Ever: The Creation of Dino de Laurentiis’ KING KONG (1976)

Best Making Of Books ever: King Kong (1976)

The creation of Dino De Laurentiis’ King Kong is a great account of how this super-production came to be in the mid-70s.

“Making Of” books tend to be either about big successes (The Jaws Log, which we reviewed here; Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho) or big failures (The Devil’s Candy: The Bonfire of the Vanities Goes to Hollywood; Final Cut: Art, Money, and Ego in the Making of Heaven’s Gate, the Film that Sank United Artists ).

Not sure to which group this particular King Kong belongs. It wasn’t a big success, but my research says that it ended up making money (not a lot) and even had a (terrible) sequel: King Kong Lives, in 1986, 10 years after the original.

The most exciting original motion picture event of all time

What to say about a book that blows its own trumpets like this in its very first page?:

The most exciting original motion picture event of all time

“IT’S ALL HERE

(AND ONLY HERE)
THE EPIC DRAMA SURPASSING ANY IN MOVIE MAKING HISTORY!

This is how – plagued by danger and disaster – Dino De Laurentiis and his harried director and the staff created the world’s most stupendous mechanical monster. They animated their gigantic ape so that his eyes glare, his chest heaves, his jaw lovers ominously, and his huge toes even wiggle – all with horrifying realism… They survived the terror of the vicious bomb scares and sniper threats… the use of revolutionary new photographic techniques, some never-before employed on the screen… and they kept watch over their inexperience young heroine as she lay in a lifeboat in the Pacific with sharks circling around her!!

King Kong –The Screen Adventure of a Lifetime!”

You are probably thinking: After this, we are in for a big disappointment.

Well, you are not.

It’s a great book.

Best Making Of Books ever: King Kong (1976)

A hell of a shooting

1975, the previous year to this King Kong, was Jaws‘ year, and Hollywood changed forever. The big summer blockbuster arrived to stay. Special effects were in a transitional moment -they were still mechanic, no CGI, obviously. The year after King Kong, 1977, SFX made a huge leap thanks to Luca’s Star Wars, but we were not there yet. When De Laurentiis bet for a new King Kong, they just didn’t know how to do it properly. But they tried.

They had to create animatronics and use a guy with a gorilla suit.

Best Making Of Books ever: King Kong (1976)

100 years of Dino De Laurentiis

Dino would’ve been 100 this year but, sadly, he departed in 2010. How to describe the big man? Dino, along with Carlo Ponti, was the seminal Italian producer.

He made a series of fantastic films (The Silence of the Lambs, La Strada, Serpico, to name only a few).

He announced King Kong as the next big thing (no pun intended). It wasn’t that, but they really went for it.

Denofgeek.com summarises well what really happened during the shoot in the post The Struggles of King Kong.

A word-for–word quote from the big guy (De Laurentiis, not Kong):

“No one cry when Jaws die but when the monkey die, people gonna cry. Intellectuals gonna love Kong. Even film buffs who love the first Kong gonna love ours. Why? Because I no give them crap.”

Best Making Of Books Ever: The Creation of Dino de Laurentiis' KING KONG (1976)
Best Making Of Books Ever: The Creation of Dino de Laurentiis' KING KONG (1976)
Best Making Of Books Ever: The Creation of Dino de Laurentiis' KING KONG (1976)
Best Making Of Books Ever: The Creation of Dino de Laurentiis' KING KONG (1976)
Best Making Of Books Ever: The Creation of Dino de Laurentiis' KING KONG (1976)