Wednesday, November 03, 2010

King Kong

He Crumbled Out of Shame

King Kong by Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack, 1933:

In the 1970s Serge Gainsbourg said: "You see these films now where the color just shits all over the place. But King Kong, it's like a beautiful dream..." / Overture title card, the modernist nitrate-optimized draft-plan aesthetic of the Modern Now in Fritz Lang's Metropolis / The best of the "trilogy" — although Schoedsack's Mighty Joe Young comes close, actually maybe it's better, I don't know / Lewton (The Ghost Ship) and Hawks (Barbary Coast, To Have and Have Not, The Thing from Another World) / "Driscoll, first mate" is the semblable of my dead grandfather in the same year / Get a girl for your picture, go out and make the greatest movie in the world / A Bowery mission / In 1933 even a fantasy movie is conscious of the poor / Apocalypse Now is as much King Kong as Conrad / "I don't know, — but I do." / Recognizing the commercial necessity of the female lead money-role, that's the adventure film — money is adventure / Cooper knew the B-picture and A-picture could merge (see Laemmle) / Constructing the prayer plinth for a new, radical cinema of attraction / In King Kong the White is the Other ("Scream, bitch.") / — The scream of reciprocation, a go at avenging all history through a depiction: this is the special effect / The "special effect" in the frame you can't take your eyes off of / Can't take your eyes off him / Can't turn your stare away / He: "I lost my baby." — She: "I could tell he wanted me." / If a wasp shot me with six stingers I don't think I'd topple / Meticulous effects don't want your engagement / Editing dictated by how long something "looks real" in the shot — all editing participates in this assessment to some extent / Cooper doesn't care what else registers in the shot — it's all about "where-you're-supposed-to-look" / The music doesn't want you to know what's actually happening / It would be twice the movie without the score / Fay Wray's scream is a projectile vomit / Everything in the '30s comes back to airplanes and daredevilry / These movies all star people who live in California / Something closer to reality, the artifice, and the folly of cinema, the technicians, labor, long hours, families waiting for Dad to get home late after another long night, towering ambition, stability sought through craft, there on the tower, anthropomorphic, ontological confusion, a doll, a nothing — / Or: graceful as Chaplin — no exits that don't take some measure of courage / Make your bed and lie in it / It is what it is / "It was beauty, killed the beast."

King Kong by Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack, 1933:



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