cover art for King Kong

King Kong


LP: Reprise MS-2260
CD: Mask MK 702

  1. The Opening (2:13)
  2. Maybe My Luck Has Changed (1:48)
  3. Arrival on the Island (2:33)
  4. Sacrifice - Hail to the King (7:04)
  5. Arthusa (2:18)
  6. Full Moon Domain - Beauty is a Beast (4:21)
  7. Breakout to Captivity (4:07)
  8. Incomprehensible Captivity (2:52)
  9. Kong Hits the Big Apple (2:32)
  10. Blackout in New York / How About Buying Me a Drink (3:20)
  11. Climb to Skull Island (2:17)
  12. The End is at Hand (1:41)
  13. The End (4:22)

The Movie

I don't think movies should be remade unless you can bring something new or do something that could be done before. That's why a lot classic silent movies were successfully remade, but newer movies usually don't benefit.

King Kong is a great example. Yeah--the first one is flawed: Bruce Cabot's acting is some of the worst I've ever seen anywhere. Everyone knows how stop-motion photography is done, and everyone knows King Kong was 3 feet tall. But--it's a classic.

So when they decided to bring out the new version--yeah, the special effects were better, but so what? Part of the charm of the old movie was the fact that it looks cheasy now. And the story is also rooted in 19th and 20th century adventure stories. You can't make a movie like that now without it looking dated and dumb--no matter how good the special effects are.

And you'd think people would have figured it out, but they tried to remake Godzilla a few years ago and the same thing happened...

The Music

If the movie weren't such a turkey, I think this score would have gotten a lot more notice. Sometimes Barry's scores to bad movies aren't very good (Starcrash for example), but sometimes the scores are far better than the movie deserves. Barry took the love theme--the ape and Jessica Lange, seriously and wrote a great love theme--surprising that something so bittersweet would come out of a giant-ape movie. Even if you never saw the movie, you may have heard the melody before--it slipped out and got some airplay. There's also some very good jungle drum-beat stuff, the sort of thing you rarely hear in a Barry score.


Release Notes

The LP came out with the film and shouldn't be too difficult to find. Mask released a CD and it can often be found at the soundtrack specialists (like Screen Archives Entertainment or Super Collector). If you buy online, be aware that the original Max Steiner score was released on CD a couple years ago, so be careful that you order the right one.

Additionally, Barry himself included the love theme to King Kong on his Moviola II, and Nic Raine recorded it for The Collection and on his compilation Zulu.